Archive for ‘Versailles’

January 19, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCVIIII

And as trips goes cannot be too far from my run of some news from France. There has been a lot going on since I left on a little trip to Toulouse/Lavaur (more coming up)  .However, its time to tell you what is going on and some tips.

There are strikes all over France , as said this is a rather a customs than a nuisance unless you need to go to work in Paris region of Ïle de France. We were in Toulouse the day of a big strike but it was all confined to Saint Cyprien areas and we did not notice anything until we were back and saw the news lol!!!

So therefore, if coming in the next month read the news as some of your transport option may not be available in France. Here are the latest scoops.

The social protest was deployed in several forms yesterday  Saturday January 18 2020 in Paris as a protest against the pension reform, the Gilets Jaunes or Yellow Vests took part in their 62nd protest in the streets of Paris. A relatively large crowd, compared to the past few weeks. Leaving the Porte de Champerret around 11h, the procession joined the Gare de Lyon in a very hostile climate. The demonstrators recalled their global opposition to the policy led by Emmanuel Macron and the government . Mobilizations also took place in many cities in France such as Marseille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Toulouse, and Clermont-Ferrand, where lawyers marched there alongside Yellow Vests and Unionists.

Who set fire to the famous restaurant La Rotonde? Has the legendary Montparnasse brasserie, prized by Emmanuel Macron (he celebrated his winnings there), been the target of arsonists? Against the background of political demands? The police officers of the territorial direction of security of Paris, to whom the Paris public prosecutor’s office entrusted the investigation, asked themselves the question and raked the scene of the restaurant !La Rotonde, 105, boulevard du Montparnasse (6éme), in search of indices. Stay tune for more

Thirty people gathered Friday in Paris in front of the Bouffes du Nord Theater where Emmanuel Macron attended a performance. According to the Elysee Palace, the president was “secure” for a few minutes but was able to attend the performance until the end.

The historic strike at the Opera Garnier may be prolonged, for lack of compromise between the artists and machinists, attached to their special pension scheme, and the gov of Macron determined to abolish it. This Saturday, 200 people from all trades at the Opera, but also from the “Maison de Molière”, organized a free concert in front of the Palais Garnier. In front of a dense crowd, the orchestra and the choir of the Paris Opera performed, among other things, an extract from “Carmen” by Bizet and “La Marseillaise”, with loud applause or “long live the strike!” launched by spectators. This new show was organized as part of the protest against the pension reform.

So these events will continue and you were told here, be prepared.

It is a sea or rather freshwater snake which resurfaces. Like others before her, candidate Anne Souyris, head of the environmental list in the 13éme arrondissement, dreams of reviving the Bièvre! , this river buried since the beginning of the 20C in Paris. Based on studies carried out by the Parisian Urban Planning Workshop (APUR) in 2000 and the Paris Region Institute (formerly IAURIF), the project studied at the time by the architect Pierre-Marie Tricaud, and now carried by the ecologist, aims to make the forgotten river flow in Parc Kellerman (13éme), Square René-Le Gall (13éme and the Natural History Museum (5éme). New: the project will also be accompanied by a green corridor along the route of the Bièvre for pedestrians, cyclists and soft mobility. In the longer term and based on feasibility studies, Anne Souyris wants to reopen canals connecting these green spaces and develop a “blue flow” from the ring road at the Porte des Peupliers to the Seine river up to Austerlitz.  This is a political promise as such it rest to her to win and see the outcome. Source: Le Parisien newspaper

Brief history : The Bièvre is a river that rises in Guyancourt (Yvelines dept 78) and once flowed into the Seine river near the Gare d’Austerlitz station after a 33 km journey through the Essonne (91) , Hauts-de-Seine (92) and the Val -de-Marne (94) departments. It entered Paris (75) at the Poterne des Peupliers and crossed the 13éme and 5éme arrondissements. It was covered at the beginning of the 20C and its route diverted towards the sewers of Paris. If the Bièvre river still follows its natural course for around twenty kilometers, in Paris, there are only commemorative plaques scattered throughout its route today. In Paris see it better at my usual business spot rue de Bièvre, name so because the river passes by here underneath still….

Here all about it;  Nearly 500 employees will be recruited before the New York hotel reopens on June 15 2020. In five months, it will have welcomed its first customers. Closed for a year for a major renovation on the Marvel theme, one of the three universes of the Disneyland Paris extension, the New York hotel is in the process of recruiting personnel.ok. More here: Disneyland Paris Hotel New York

And one of my magical spots in my old beloved Yvelines dept 78 Marly-le-Roi

Built in 1679, the Château de Marly (Yvelines 78) and its park only welcomed the Sun King and his friends, far from the noises of Versailles. The museum of the royal domain, which recounts this era, reopens on Saturday January 18 2020. There, the king had built a palace and a garden reserved for the elite of the elite. The Musée du domaine de Marly, which reopens on Saturday after three years of work in a revised version, is working to restore it. Because unfortunately, of the castle itself, only ruins remain: it was destroyed in 1806. The vast park, always very pleasant for a walk, has only kept its plan and some of its many pools , like the l’Abreuvoir. Another wonder was to make Marly an object of fascination across the continent: Its machine! To supply the multiple fountains with gushing water, an ingenious system had to be found. They imagine an immense wooden machine, fitted with 14 wheels 12 m in diameter, to pump water from the Seine 2.5 km below and raise it, in several stages, 160 meters higher. A real scientific performance at the time, which the museum evokes through numerous reproductions but also two interactive models which should make the happiness of the children. As recalled by the paintings and objects in the museum windows, one of the favorite occupations remains the hunting in the park and the surrounding forest. It seems that at Versailles it was entirely business and that in Marly it was entirely for him and his pleasure ”, wrote Racine to Boileau in 1687.

At the Musée de Marly, her portrait, made around 1700, stands enthroned among those of the locals. No wonder: Elisabeth-Charlotte of Bavaria, known as Princess Palatine, is the second wife of Philippe d’Orléans, the brother of Louis XIV. As a sister-in-law, she was practically all of the monarch’s stays in his “second home”. The princess had an easy and inexhaustible pen. Sort of feminine Saint-Simon, more raw, it is even nicknamed the “Ocean of ink” for its correspondence which reaches 60,000 letters! Documents which constitute a very important source in the knowledge of Marly at the time of the Sun King.

Musée du domaine royal de Marly (Yvelines 78). Open wednesdays to fridays from 9h30 to 12h30 and 14h to 17h; as well as weekends from 10h30 to 17h. Admission is 7 € general adult. The garden park is free. More info here :

The above is a wonderful place near my old home and have written before in my blog; see here: My post on museum park at Marly le Roi

Two major changes in France!

The legendary restaurant of Paul Bocuse has just lost its third star. In 2019, four of them left the gastronomic firmament (few), with injuries still alive. Paul Bocuse, who passed away in 2018; how would he have reacted on January 16, when he learned that his restaurant L’Auberge du Pont de Collonges (Rhône), triple star since 1965, had just lost his third badge? Guide Michelin is in a cleaning out move and many controversial calls here in France.

Clapping an end for Jean Paul Gaultier, who announces his last fashion parade. The famous 67-year-old French couturier presented his final haute couture show last Wednesday at the Théâtre du Châtelet, in Paris, and announces that he is embarking on a “new project” with his house. In fifty years of career, Jean Paul Gaultier has become one of the symbols of French luxury. This fashion icon will bid farewell to haute couture shows in Paris.

In the Marais, the Galerie de l’Instant puts Jane Birkin in the spotlight. Sublimated by the photographic eye of her brother Andrew Birkin, and by that of her friend Tony Franck: the photos are all the more intimate, and striking. Guaranteed nostalgia. Immersed in the intimacy of Jane B, we are entitled to two points of view on the life and the beauty of the most French of English women. In the studio, with the family, at the fair .The two photographers, moreover, each captured very closely the daily life of the couple Jane B / Gainsbourg, remained legendary in the collective unconscious See the expo Jane B at The Gallery of L’Instant 44, rue de Poitou 3éme; until March 1st, 2020. More info here: La Galerie de l’Instant Paris

Something from my Morbihan Breton that is big in Paris too. Go for it!!

Maison Georges Larnicol: Georges by his first name is a Breton by birth. Even though he has come a long way since then, the artisanal values of his origins have never left him. With pure butter and coarse salt, the house kouign-amann is, for many of us, the best we have had the opportunity to eat in Paris. The favorite? The kouignettes (smaller kouign-amanns delicious!! ), just to take several without regretting it!! Maison Georges Larnicol ,14, rue de Rivoli ; 4éme Paris too !! Of course in Paris other stores at 19 rue de l’Harpe 5éme and 132 Bd Saint Germain 6éme, and 7 rue de Steinkerque 18éme. More info here: Maison Georges Larnicol and stores

For those who are French and/or permanently live in France. The poll on Parisians to reveal the undisputed signs of the passage to the thirties in the city. If you recognize yourself in more than 5 statements, you are 30 years old (or maybe 50). Have fun! I am ::)

Did you know the metro in working order. You’re trying to buy an apartment, and you tell yourself that you wouldn’t be so bad in the suburbs actually. You bought an electric bike. Your body is slower, time flies faster. You drink natural wine (Bio). You are more emotionally stable. At least that’s what you think. You don’t care what people think of you. In pajamas downstairs to buy milk with your hair still in a mess? Don’t care. You have already sworn that you would never ride an electric scooter … before changing your mind. You are subscribed to the weekly basket of organic vegetables closest to you. You make dinners between couples and you bring back “a small organic bottle found in a small wine shop at the bottom of rue Lamartine”. You get up early on Sunday without GDB (complaining ok). You have a favorite brand of tea, and you even bought a teapot. You follow the Marie Kondo method and it changed your life. You bought yourself a juicer to make yourself some juices. You do meditation and it changed your life. You start to take pleasure in telling young people that they are young. Young people take pleasure in telling you that you are old. You became the oldest or the oldest in your box / startup. Sunday is brunch! But healthy, be careful. And, you eat no more McDo because “it hurts you”. You have an unlimited UGC cinema card and you go to the cinema at least once a week. RTL2 is not that bad after all as a radio. You wake up earlier than your alarm clock and you take the opportunity to jog. Even when you are not tired, your dark circles do not fade. You see babies and you think that you may have one, one day, when you have money and you have a house with a garden in the provinces / suburbs. You fuck less and less often, but the sex is better. You have no weekend free because you are invited to full weddings / BJW / BGD / family reunion. All your friends are starting to have children. You plan to buy a Dyson vacuum cleaner for 1000 € because the low-cost version of your cordless vacuum cleaner is dead after 2 months. You start to understand your parents. You start having friends the age of your parents. You can no longer chain two evenings in a row and you take 3 days to recover from an evening that was a little too drunk. You go to bed late in the week, like 22h45 . We ask you when you plan to get married or when you plan to have babies. You are going less and less after .You no longer support certain music. You plan to save all your money and eat rice for 15 years to open a ditch and leave this superficial world. Or a house by the river in Averyon (more realistic). You can’t take it anymore from Paris but you can’t stand the province. Source: Le Bonbon

So there you folks, enjoy your Sunday and thanks for reading my Some news from France series and my blog; appreciated.  And I just clean my garden from and back of the house and the basement and air the house and clean the windows, and car wash my car with my boys help. Cheers

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



January 5, 2020

Some news from France, CCXCVIII

Ok so here I am to talk to you about the latest news in France according to and always looking forward for you to enjoy it and I thank you. Here is the latest news

With 4,000 people a day since the start of the Christmas holidays, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte (Maincy 77) celebrates Christmas event creates queues never seen before. which generated closings to the public last week around   16h for four days. More info here:

At Rambouillet (Yvelines 78) discover board games from the time of king Louis XV. The new exhibition of the Palace of the King of Rome in Rambouillet presents games that are several hundred years old. Some had to be restored; some details of the games of the goose are clues to life in the time of Louis XV and Louis XVI. More info here:

At Buchelay (Yvelines 78) one of my old stomping ground there is a new shopping center doing already wonders with customers approvals. The first 27 stores of “Mon Beau Buchelay” (my beautiful Buchelay) had opened just before the end-of-year holidays. A13 autoroute de Normandie direction Rouen/Caen from Paris but go in at sortie or exit 13. More info here:

The old Parisian barracks are getting a makeover for saving them and looking great. That of Reuilly allowed the creation of housing, located in the heart of the 12éme arrondissement of Paris, between rue de Reuilly, rue de Chaligny and boulevard Diderot, this 39,000 m2 complex that had housed up to 2,500 soldiers were no longer occupied except by a branch of the Armed Forces Information and Recruitment Center (Cirfa). Built in 1830 to accommodate the regiments of infantry, cavalry and artillery on a site which had seen prosperity, on the initiative of Colbert, the Royal Ice Factory, it served as a base, during WWII, at the Wehrmacht and the French militia, before being reinvested by the army at the Liberation, then gradually deserted with the approach of the 21st century. In 2013, the State ceded the property to the City of Paris with the obligation, imposed by the local urban plan (PLU), to build at least 50% of social housing there. . More info here in French :

and that of Lourcine (13éme) has become a university annex. The Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne Ilot Lourcine University, which represents a constructed area of 10,750 m² in which teaching and research spaces will be fitted out as well as a 2,000 m² library. More info here:

Head to the Chevreuse Valley (Yvelines 78 ), 45 minutes from Paris, for a weekend or more, in order to purify your body and calm your mind at the Hotel Le Barn. This completely restored 19C farmhouse, nestled in a 200 hectare park, has kept the spirit of a family home in the countryside. Had the pleasure of visit it on a business conference full of history, architecture just awesome for a longer stay. More info here :

And of course, could not leave without telling you of the French pastime of Gréves or strikes, which are continuing and just be alert on your travel plans. On Thursday January 9 there will be another big demonstration against the pension reform, where all professions are expected. The rest of January will see the strike in full swing, with in particular citizen actions organized by the CFDT union. Laurent Berger, secretary general of the CFDT, announced to Matignon (prime minister Edourard Philippe home) on December 20, “I’m telling you: it will go up very, very strong in January (…). And the CFDT, from January 6, will challenge parliamentarians, it will also have mobilization actions ”. It will be a blast in January, and I will be in Toulouse….

And while we have strikes, the public transport is modernizing.. In the night test on line 1 for almost a year, the MP14 metro is coming soon! It will carry more passengers for the extension of line 14. 120 meters long, this new train will be 24% larger than a normal metro, with 8 cars against 6 currently. Inside, the noise will be reduced by 40%, the seats will be more ergonomic and the lighting more economical. The equipment should meanwhile reduce the energy consumption of the trains by 20% and bring more comfort to passengers, with more places reserved for people with reduced mobility. While it was possible since September to buy a book ticket or carnet or a Navigo pass on certain smartphones, you can now buy a single ticket and weekend youth tickets. The renovated RER B trains (the one to CDG Paris!) will resume service on the line, which has more than a million daily passengers, but still no double-level trains. These modernized, larger and more luminous trains will already be a great improvement for the 980,000 daily users of line B!!, who suffer frequent incidents and difficult transport conditions (if you work here you know it). We will have to wait until 2025 for much larger trains, the MINGs, to considerably improve passenger comfort. Châtelet, Place de Clichy, Arts et Métiers stations will unveil their modernization this year. Thanks to renovated quays and corridors and refurbished reception rooms, to a recovery and ordering of all components, from floor to ceiling. These actions are accompanied by more legible and more complete signage – intermodal, tourist and urban – new seats, more suitable and more efficient lighting.  Well at least is not all doom!

And how about Paris losing inhabitants yes of course, I know it. Get out into the country side for a better life !!! These are the latest figures from INSEE (gov statistical office). According to the most recent census, Paris has 2,187,526 inhabitants, which represents a loss of 0.5% per year since 2011. An average of 11,000 inhabitants less each year, or -2.4% over five years . According to the census, it is the 15éme arrondissement the most popular, with 233,392 inhabitants. It is followed by the 20éme arrondissement with 195,814 inhabitants, the 18éme with 195,233 inhabitants and the 13éme, with 182,099 Parisians. The 1éme, 2éme and 4éme arrondissements very touristy districts….register the least number of residents with respectively: 16,266, 20,900 and 28,088 inhabitants. In all of Paris, only the 19éme   arrondissement has gained population, with a slight increase of 0.2% in its number of inhabitants, thanks in particular to housing programs set up by the government. The trend will continue in the next few years at least.

And something we take very seriously and enjoy the best in the world..yes!! According to the northern newspaper, la Voix du Nord   has done a count on the holidays of 2020, proposing that we only ask 25 days off to get… 60 days of vacation!!!!. Let’s start today, since by putting down its Thursday January 2 and Friday January 3, we were gaining 5 days of rest with the weekend. Now that you are well rested, you can wait until April when Monday the 13th is a public Holiday, you just have to ask 4 short days from 14 to 17 to get 9 days of vacation!   Fortunately for us, the month of May is very mild since it is full of public holidays, the 1st, the 8th and the 21st. You just have to ask 4 days, from May 4 to 7, then 4 other days from 18 to 22, and you will get the modest sum of 19 DAYS of vacation!!!. Or how to transform 8 days off into 3 weeks of pure happiness. In June, posing 4 days on 2, 3, 4 and 5 allows you to get 9 days of vacation since Monday 1st is a holiday. Same story in July, where we take advantage of July 14 to ask 4 more days and leave with 9. We must then do a little manoeuvre this Summer and work in August, but do not worry, November 11 being holidays, we can ask Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 to have 5 days of vacation. Until the Christmas holidays, when it’s bingo: Christmas falls on a Friday, so we ask the previous 4 days to have 9 days of vacation. In total, it’s 60 days that we take advantage of for only 25 days asked. And happy New Year 2020!!!!! Can’t wait lol!!

Some new restaurant to seek out in my eternal Paris and yours truly will be seeking them out especially with all those vacation days lol!

We no longer present the unique and prestigious double-starred chef Marc Veyrat, one foot in Paris, the other in Haute-Savoie. From January 2020, the grand chef will settle in the iconic La Fontaine Gaillon and will offer an iodized menu for the occasion. All in a chic Parisian decor. The generous terrace will be one of the most pleasant in Paris, and this “new” address thought above all in the continuity of a neighborhood institution. Le Fontaine Gaillon; 15, rue Gaillon – 2éme, Opening January 2020 . More info on NewTable here:

Mon Square, this is the crazy new trendy address in the 7éme arrondissement just across from Square Samuel Rousseau and Sainte-Clotilde Church. In its decor at the same time arty, vegetable and girly, we find pretty flowered fabrics which decorate the walls of the Green Room and the Pink Room, ceramic birds made by hand and a monumental ceramic tree overhanging the big central bar, but also a private Kiss room more commonly known as a “privatized lounge” all dressed in mirrors. On the plate, seasonal French cuisine that mixes classy brasserie chic with more original notes. Mon Square; 31, rue Saint-Dominique, 7éme; Opening January 2020 . More info here :

The mythical Passage des Panoramas has a new spot. With a colorful decor, this new address showcases cuisine with Italian influences. On the menu, chubby pizzas and more than generous pasta. On two floors, we are immersed in a pop and ultra colorful decor with terracotta floor tiles, walls in polished concrete or flanked with shiny neon lights, a gold pizza oven and plates with psychedelic designs. In the basement, the green course dinner Majorelle blue color is the perfect place for an exclusive evening in large tables. Zola is sharing, friendliness and generosity! Zola, 62, passage des Panoramas – 2éme; Opening January 2020 . More info on NewTable here :

This old 16C institution has a new look! Olivier Flottes and Michel Boiron, already at the head of Gilberte and Huguette, promise a complete renaissance for the Le Petit Victor Hugo who sets out to conquer the coasts of the world with a real unusual “Maison Mer”. We will find all the iconic dishes of the world around fish, including King Crab, paellas, fish tacos, enchiladas, ceviches, multiple taramas, octopus chawarma, california rolls, poke bowls, fish tagines or noodles with shrimp. Designer Laura Gonzalez has struck again, and will end up astonishing the eye with lush vegetation, wave-shaped benches, a huge sunroof and even an incredible colorful rooftop . Le petit Victor Hugo; 143, avenue Victor Hugo , 16éme; Opening for April 2020. More info here :

 The Sir Winston is one of the oldest English pubs in Paris. In Spring, it will turn into a spicy table, halfway between the English pub and an Indian table, like an incredible home of the English colonies, decorated by the talented Laura Gonzalez. This new table will be open every day from breakfast to dinner, for a moment with friends, a business lunch or even a family Indian brunch on Sunday. Sir Winston will offer a sharing cuisine flavored with spices and signed by an Indian chef in a colorful setting. In the basement, there is an amazing speakeasy and ideal for sipping great cocktails . Sir Winston ; 5, rue de Presbourg ,16éme; Opening Spring 2020. More info here :

 Cali Sisters, it’s the most anticipated new Californian restaurant of 2020. Behind this welcoming and comfortable new address, two sisters, Capucine and Juliette Vigand, passionate about this sunny region of the United States. Here you can eat all day long, good Californian cuisine, as delicious as it is healthy and above all at very affordable prices. This bohemian and vibrant restaurant located a stone’s throw from the Place de la Bourse will seat around 100 people and all the classics of Californian cuisine on its plates. Lemon and ricotta pancakes, casserole meatballs, smoked short rib and spiced roasted butternut squash, broccoli snacked with pesto or multicolored lemon carrots. Cali Sisters ; 17, rue Notre-Dame-des-Victoires , 2éme;   Opening March 2020. More info at l’hotellerie here :

And lastly on the arts, Paris is eternal.

A repeat call for one of my favorites. Domenikos Theotokopoulos (1541-1614) is better known by the name of El Greco. Painter of Cretan origin, he stayed in Italy before settling in Spain in 1577. Last grand master of the Renaissance, he was also the first painter of the Spanish Golden Age. This retrospective, the first major French monographic exhibition dedicated to him, highlights his fiery and inventive work, rediscovered at the turn of the 19-20C by the avant-garde. Goes on until February 10, 2020. More info here:

See Nourrir Paris or feed Paris, between permanence and transfer; nourish Paris, a specific identity; feed Paris, a question of abundance; feed Paris, multiple challenges; Parisian supply; les Halles, belly of Paris; consume in Paris: so many themes to be discovered at the heart of an exhibition route that highlights food in the broad sense, and throughout history. The History Committee of the City of Paris devotes an exhibition to the Forney Library to the means of production and transport, enabling the great question posed by the inhabitants of the capital to be answered. Bibliothéque Forney at Hôtel de Sens 1 rue du Figuier 4éme; Métro : Pont Marie (line 7). More info here :

There you go we will always have Paris my dears. Enjoy it as we do

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




January 5, 2020

A hidden story: Villepreux!

So back in the swing of things on my blog for 2020 full of energy and travel plans. However, let me bring you back to my old domaine and tell you about an off the beaten path that is worth the detour for its architecture and history.

The town of  Villepreux is located in the department of Yvelines (78) in the Île-de-France region.The town is about 12 km west of Versailles, in the plain of Versailles in the extension of the perspective of the gardens of Versailles, as drawn by André Le Nôtre, practically in line with the perspective of the Grand Canal ( an axis which corresponds to the Royal Alley of Villepreux) even if this axis was somewhat forgotten after the French revolution of 1789 and the moving to Paris of the royal family.

We happened to know it very well as it is the town of my twin son former girlfriend a relationship of over 2 years which ended when we moved to Bretagne. They met at the private high school in Le Chesnay, just over the street from Versailles.

We went there always by car , taking the road D10 along the Orangerie of the Château de Versailles direction to Saint Cyr L’école and there take D11 passing Fontenay –le-Fleury to Villepreux.. However, my twin son has gone there by train in company several times. The Transilien train of line N from Paris Montparnasse passes by Versailles Chantiers station (which they took)  and onwards to Villepreux direction Mantes la Jolie stop Station or Gare de Villepreux-Les Clayes. More info on the train here: Official region of ile de France Transilien Line N

There is also a bus of network STAVO line 44 that goes from Versailles Rive Gauche RER train station in Versailles (closes to palace) direction Plaisir-Valibout and stop or arrêt Gare routiére des Clayes (bus terminal). More info on this alternative here (never taken by us). Bus network Stavo line 44 Versailles to Villepreux

A bit of history I like

If the first mention written on Villepreux dates back to a Charles-the-Bald charter dated 856 that does not exclude the existence of inhabitants before this time as attested by the discovery of a Merovingian cemetery at the top of the nursery from the Le Nôtre horticultural school, at the end of the 19C (now a vocational training center). From the 11C to 1789, Villepreux had 34 successive lords. Many of them link the history of the city to the big history of France. Too many to mention the 34 but it includes the Montmorency’s.

Some of the nice things to see here are

The Saint-Germain Church, from the 12C. The Château de Grand’Maisons. Built from 1720 for the Francini family, creators of the water fountain games at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Fontainebleau and Versailles; it was completed in the 19C .The Château de Gondi..From the old 17C castle that belonged to the Gondi family, only the gate and an entrance pavilion Mansart remain. It was rebuilt in 1885 by Georges Nagelmackers, director of the Compagnie internationale des wagons-couches..( . La ferme de Grand’Maisons (farm). Today it is a center for seminars. And the Saint-Vincent house, Located in the old village, former corbelled and half-timbered house, it was the second house of the Daughters of Charity, founded by Saint Vincent de Paul and is today a place of exhibitions, animations and meetings.


For the anecdote, the house we visited was near the Château de Grand’Maisons. The city page on its history in French is here City of Villepreux on heritage

Like I said a souvenir spot for us, with great architecture and history as the walls of the farm are the back of the old domaine du Château de Versailles reduce greatly after the French revolution to the grounds you see today.  Worth an off the beaten path detour from Versailles.

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


January 2, 2020

My recap of year 2019!

So again on the trail of past year’s time on my blog and as a thank you for all my readers and followers I am doing this short post.

2019 was very special ;my first full year alone with my boys having lost my dear late wife Martine in 2018. Time they tell me soothes the pain, actually is the other way around but we go on with responsabilities and challenges into 2020 probably my last full year as a full time working person.

The blog started in November 26 2010 with the encouragement of many friends from well known travel forums has been a godsend to me for the entertainment and the rich exchanges with folks of many lands over the years. I thank you all. You can see a synopsis of my post in my pages here:

Really, when I started no where could I believe I would reach 775 blog followers and so many nice comments. And I thank you all. So far 2588 posts articles in my blog and more than 40K photos!! Do not know how far can I go as already using 74% of my memory capacity in wordpress blog. …and it becomes expensive afterward.

My blog’s name for those new is a combination of my life’s travels. Paris1972 because when living in Madrid visit Paris for the first time during the coming out of the movie Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brandon and Maria Schneider.It has stuck with me as a classic film. Versailles2003 because that is when I came to live as a French citizen permanently in France at Versailles…and working in Paris. So a fitting name me think

We live now in the region of Bretagne, department 56 Morbihan, town of Pluvigner for the last 6 years already more than my average per domicile in my life!! Bretagne or Brittany or Breizh has been good to us overall and we have a decision to make whether continue here or move on in retirement. I am here since June 2011 and at the house since August 2013.

I will continue to write and already booked trip to Toulouse next week to reminicent of one of the favorite cities of my dear wife and a possible retirement spot for me later on. We are thinking Dublin afterward and come back to Honfleur so far.

There are bits and pieces of my life throughout the blog all the way since birth, it is a living exposure to me now and a heritage souvenir for my sons and family and close friends.

Some numbers wordpress blog give us tells me that in 2019 I had 35 556 views, 17742 visitors, 11959 likes and 1184 comments. My most view posts were Some news from France XCXXXV  192 Notre Dame Cathedral update Aug19 185, and Somport tunnel port and peaks 139, and My best restaurants in Versailles 122. My most visitors by country were USA 10 928 (figure they would follow me), France 4562 (surprise indeed as wrote the blog in English), UK 3751, India 1345, Spain 1258 , Germany 1153.

Again to all, thank you very much to keep me company. I will continue with wonderful spots of my life and count on you to follow me thru.

Happy New Year 2020 and may your best wishes come thru for you and yours. Yours truly, pedmar10

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




January 2, 2020

The tradition of the king’s cake in France!

So now we are in 2020 and the new year starts with all those usual new year’s resolution. And we get on with an old tradition of the King’s cake or Galette des Rois which we have taken as a French family very fond of.

We have multiple passports and lived in several countries so we carry on the tradition of many as well which we find family uplifting. One going on now in my beloved Spain with preparations is the wonderful story of the 3 Wise Kings who on Epiphany day usually falling on January 6 , we give gifts to our children as the kings gave to the enfant Jesus in Bethlehem. However, we give now one gift hehehe and on December 25th. The January 6 tradition is kept ceremoniously .

Let me tell you here about the Galette des Rois (king’s cake) we are just having again this afternoon!  The Galette des rois is a galette traditionally made and consumed in most of France, on the occasion of the Epiphany, Christian feast which celebrates the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus, celebrated on January 6 of each year .

This cake is also sometimes called Parisienne in the regions of the south of France where one consumes not the Galette but the cake of the kings. In most of France, the galette des rois is originally a pancake made from puff pastry, simply browned in the oven and eaten with jams; it can also be stuffed with various preparations: frangipane, fruit, creams, chocolate, frangipane mixed with applesauce, for example. In the extreme south of France, the use for the Epiphany is to prepare the cake of kings, a large sweet bread, in the shape of a crown, with a more or less airy dough and scented with flower water. orange. The person who discovers the bean has the right to wear a fancy crown and then chooses his queen or king.

A bit of history I like

The Galette des rois has its origins in Saturnalia (Roman festivals located between the end of December and the beginning of January), during which the Romans designated a slave as “king for a day” . During the banquet (at the beginning or at the end of the Saturnalia, according to the different eras of ancient Rome) within each great family, the Romans used the bean of a cake as if to draw lots for the “Saturnalicius princeps” (Prince of Saturnalia or of disorder) . The “king of a day” had the power to grant all his wishes during the day (like giving orders to his master) before being put to death, or more likely to return to his servile life. This made it possible to tighten domestic affections.

The sharing of the cake is also associated with the celebration of the Magi during the Epiphany, for Christians. Many French kings followed the tradition more or less and Louis XIV always retained the use of the cake of kings, even at a time when his court was subject to a rigorous label.

When the French revolution came, the very name “cake of kings” was a danger. a decree of the Commune having changed, in the session of December 31, 1791, the day of the kings in “day of the sans-culottes” (,sans-culotte, which is opposed to that of the Aristocrats as in opposite meaning) the cake had no longer its raison d’être. This disappearance was, however, only momentary because the sans-culottes having renamed the Epiphany to “feast of the Good Neighbor and the Galette of equality”.

A survey was carried out in France in 2014 (unfortunately cannot find the sources) 97% of French people taste this holiday cake, but 85% according to another source. They eat for: 70% a puff pastry and frangipane cake, mainly in the 3/4 north of France (us too); 11% a more or less dense dough cake flavored with orange blossom water, mainly in the far south; 9% consume more than five (we do about 3) ; and 68% cheat to give the bean to the youngest.(fierce competition at home no giveaways! )

At the seat of the French Republic (Palais de l’Elysée), a giant cake is delivered each year to the President of the French Republic (aka France) since 1975. But according to the same principle as the galette de l’égalité or equality cake of the revolutionary period, the cake offered each year to the president does not have beans, in memory of the heritage of the French revolution and respect for the principles of the French Republic.

And how about what to drink with it? Well we do with the below and also comparable bottles over the years. Hope it help you choose yours if in France these days.

Whether you prefer the delicious frangipane version or the candied fruit brioche, or even the apple or raspberry ones, you can’t savor it without choosing the right wine to accompany it … So here are two nice choices amongst the many!

Its gourmet translation nevertheless followed the border which separates the country of origin: “Galette des rois or king’s pancake in the north,” ” cake of kings in the south”. The first, now made of golden puff pastry in the oven and generally filled with frangipane cream, is best enjoyed above the Loire, while the second, a simple circular brioche with candied fruit, is shared in sunny regions.   As for the broad bean, a long religious porcelain figurine, today it covers all themes and covers all materials, arousing the passion of collectors , fabophiles (bean figurines followers)   some of whom have long abandoned short pants.

In either case, the wine will obviously be white, and sweet enough to match the sweetness of the dessert. With the pancake, the “fat” of the preparation will play a determining role, to which the sparkle of a Champagne will usefully oppose; for its part, the frangipane cream calls for a young, lively, fresh wine. I would therefore without hesitation choose a demi-sec (semi dry) Champagne, preferably the one produced by Taittinger which seems to me to be perfectly balanced. Made from exactly the same blend as the famous Brut Réserve from the same house (40% chardonnay, 60% pinot, noir and meunier), it is more generously dosed with sugar (35 g / l), which will create a harmonious whole with the dish. With candied fruit brioche, it is precisely sugar that dominates, both in the preparation itself and in the ingredients that accompany it (candied fruit). This time, I can see a mutated Muscat, whose fermentation was brutally stopped by the addition of pure alcohol. Rich in residual unprocessed sugars , it will accompany the dessert without countering it. This time I will choose a great Beaumes-de-Venise classic: the Domaine des Bernardins. Its richness in sugar and its fruity will allow it to hold head gently, while its intensity and its length in mouth will accompany those of the cake. A classic with us!

Official sources for the drinks here:

Offiical Taittinger demi sec Champagne

Official Domaine des Bernadins on Muscat des Beaumes de Venicede Venice

And there you now you are set to enjoy of one France nicest tradition, the Galette des Rois. And this is the time to do it if you are in France. Hope you enjoy it and follow it as we do.

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


December 31, 2019

My year 2019!!! thank you all!!!!!!

So here we are , another year went by today is December 31 2019 in most parts of the world. I like to first tell you thank you for all your likes and comments during this year, it is appreciated. I write about my travels, likes and fun things to keep a history of my life for my future generations and hopefully encourage others to do the same and do travel.

Let me say a few words on the New Year’s Eve and New Year Day.

In the Gregorian calendar , New Year’s Eve (also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries), the last day of the year, is on 31 December. In many countries, New Year’s Eve is celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks. Some Christians attend a watchnight service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day  January 1.

We do have a late night meal with friends after drinking all day (we just began with Porto red lol!) and do see out the fireworks to await the New Year in my current country of France.

New Year is the time or day at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count increments by one. Many cultures celebrate the event in some manner and the 1st day of January is often marked as a National Holiday. In the Gregorian calendar,  the most widely used calendar system today, New Year occurs on January 1 as New Year’s Day. This was also the first day of the year in the original Julian calendar and of the Roman calendar after 153 BC.

During the Middle Ages in western Europe, while the Julian calendar was still in use, authorities moved New Year’s Day, depending upon locale, to one of several other days, including March 1, March 25, Easter, September 1, and December 25. Beginning in 1582, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar has meant that many national or local dates in the Western World and beyond have changed to using one fixed date for New Year’s Day, January 1. During the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire years beginning on the date on which each consul first entered the office. This was probably May 1 before 222 BC, March 15 from 222 BC to 154 BC, and January 1 from 153 BC.

Other cultures observe their traditional or religious New Year’s Day according to their own customs, sometimes in addition to a (Gregorian) civil calendar. Chinese New Year, Islamic New Year, traditional Japanese New Year, and the Jewish New Year are the more well-known examples. India and other countries continue to celebrate New Year on different dates. The official dates in some countries were Holy Roman Empire (Germany) 1544 .Spain, Portugal,   Poland 1556. France (edit of Roussillon) 1564. Great Britain (Ireland, British empire) 1752, Scotland 1600.

In my current adopted country of France, New Year’s Eve (la Saint-Sylvestre) is usually celebrated with a feast, le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. This feast customarily includes special dishes including foie gras, seafood such as oysters, and Champagne (plenty of it!). The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or, une soirée dansante, (dancing night away)  a much fancier ball. On New Year’s Day friends and family exchange  New Year’s resolutions, kisses, and wishes.  We are all alone out west so will have my Dad and 3 sons and our dog borador Rex. Some people eat ice cream, actually we do eat logs or Bûches of different flavors. The holiday period ends on 6 January with the celebration of Epiphany (the 3 wise kings brings gift to the child Jesus and we get our gifts on this day).  A traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, made of two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste) is eaten; nowdays we have in chocolate, raspberries flavors too . The cake contains a fève, a small china doll (can be of different characters) ; whomever finds it becomes king or queen and gets to wear a gold paper crown and choose his or her partner. This tradition starts nowdays practically right after Christmas on December 25 and go on to January 6.

More info on it here by Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s Day to do things

In my other dear country of mine in Europe, also citizen as Spain. New Year’s Eve (Nochevieja  or old night) celebrations usually begin with a family dinner, traditionally including shrimp or prawns, and lamb or capon. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Royal House of the Post Office in Puerta del Sol square in Madrid (many years waiting for it here!) . It is traditional to eat  twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock (and we in my family had a 13 the last one we threw away making a wish for the new year) . Nowadays, the tradition is followed by almost every Spaniard, and the twelve grapes have become synonymous with the New Year. After the clock has finished striking twelve, people greet each other and toast with sparkling wine such as cava,Champagne or cider. Earlier in the evening at around 20h, there is a 10k run called the San Silvestre Vallecana, which starts on Paseo de la Castellana next to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (Real Madrid!), and ends at the Vallecas stadius (Rayo Vallecano). Professional runners come to Madrid for this 10k. After the family dinner and the grapes, many young people attend cotillones de nochevieja parties (named for the Spanish word cotillón, which refers to party supplies like confetti, party blowers, and party hats) at pubs, clubs, and similar places. Parties usually last until the next morning and range from small, personal celebrations at local bars to huge parties with guests numbering the thousands at hotel convention rooms. Early the next morning, party attendees usually gather to have the traditional winter breakfast of hot chocolate and fried pastry (chocolate con churros). Yes indeed i have to say a more vibrant celebration than in France.

More info from the Local news journal in English: The Local news journal on New Year’s things to do

Now to follow the groupies, some of the towns I have been in 2019 (and can remember lol!!) have been in no chronological order

Pays de la Loire: Nantes, Clisson, Le Mans, Angers, Guérande, Piriac sur Mer, Brissac-Quincé, Montreuil-Bellay,

Bretagne: Josselin, Guidel, Larmor-Plage, Baden, Gourin, Vannes, Auray, Concarneau, Quimper, Saint Armel, Guidel plage, Quiberon, Carnac, Sainte Anne d’Auray, Saint Nolff, Questembert, Rochefort en Terre, Locronan, Châteauneuf-du-Faou, Sarzeau,

ïle de France: Paris, Versailles, Saint Denis

Hauts de France: Chantilly

Normandie: Alençon

Spain: Madrid

Just doing this count realise, not much foreign visits in 2019 due to a reduce family and lack of envy, will see if 2020 can improve on it. Again thanks for following me in my travels, and always hoping you enjoy it as much as I

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!! As well as Happy New Year 2020, Bonne Année, Feliz Año Nuevo and Feliz Ano Novo!!!




December 30, 2019

The Saar and Saarbrucken, Germany!

So, let me take you out of my belle France into our old neighbor of Germany. I have been here several times ,university alumni living there, and family ties by marriage. The country was not far from me while living in Versailles so easy trips there. Once moved to Bretagne we did went renting a house in the Saar region and traveling as base all over. It was a memorable trip.

I have taken those photos and updated the text to bring back these memories of family trips in Europe, in  the Saar of Germany, and in Saarbrucken. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading.


We came down to a new city for all, Saarbrucken. I wanted to see it simply because there they build my FORD !!!(actually in Saarlouis but you see the factory on the road)   and I am a FORD men!!!  We drove from our home base in Oberemmel on the national road B51/E29/620, fast and little traffic! all the way to Saarbrucken and along the way finding new towns one we later came back to it!  We came into the nice parking at Europahalle shopping center at Trierer street, here

Saarbrucken is in the frontier state of  Saar,the smallest of the German states in area and population so they said. Very well connected at the cross roads of Europe and easy to France. It goes by the French expressways or autoroute A4 to Paris by the A320, and the Germans A1 to Koln , A6 to Luxembourg, Mannheim, and the A8. It is 392 km from Paris and 728 km from Berlin and 308 km from Brussels. Very close to Luxembourg at 99 km.  The A620 is an urban road that we took and very nice .  To Strasbourg by the  A1 linking with the A4 . You can go around the city sort of like a beltway on the  A8 and come into the city by the A1, A623 and A620.  As said this later one is nice and is along the Saar river and goes thru the city center of Saarbrucken.

It is by train on the TGV/ICE line Paris-Frankfurt and regional French and German trains as well as an airport 9 km from the city. The TER trains are been financed by the Lorraine of France and Saar of Germany. There is a tramway stop at Sarreguemines. A special Saarbahn is a tram train transfrontier connecting Lebach in the Saar to Sarreguemines in the Lorraine  long of 44 km with a stop at Saarbrucken.


A bit of history I like

Saarbrucken was mentioned for the first time in 999AD and its origins comes from the Celts and Romans. At the Middle Ages the city was the capital of the county by the same name created in the 11C from Saargau that became the possession of the Counts of Saarbrucken  of the House of Nassau-Weilbourg in 1381 until the French revolution. French revolutionary troops occupied the town in 1793, and was annexed to the French Republic and later Empire  by the Treaties of  Campo Formio in 1797 and  Lunéville  in 1801.

In 1815 with the Treaty of Vienna ;Saarbrücken  becomes Prussian.  The war of 1870 saw the town changing hands  with the French building fortifications on the heights of Spicheren that comes down to Saarbrucken. The town is attacked and the Prussians take the town. After the treaty of Versailles of 1919, the Saar territory is place under an international administration for 15 years and Under the Society of Nations (UN later) Under French control, the capital was Saarbrucken. In 1940, the French department of the Moselle was attached to the region of Gau where Saarbrücken was the main city and took the name of Gau Westmark.  The protectorate after WWII allows for the French to administered the region of the Saar, and was not part of Germany from 1947 with its own constitution. After ,the integration into West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany , Saarbrucken becomes the capital of the State of Saar.

Many things to see here and all walkable, we did a lot of walking once parked underground and it is great. We always said the best way to see a city is to walk.

We went into the old palace square or Schlossplatz full of museums from casements ,history, regional arts, and the old city hall; we climb the old walls of the old castle and saw breathtaking views of the  Saar river below.



We went around to see St Jakobs Churchold city hall or Rathaus ,museum of Sacred Arts, Basilica St John, the new city hall and tourist office, St John’s Church, Ludwig’s Church, old palace or castle of Saarbrucken, Historical museum and underground casements, regional Saarland museum of objects found in the area;old castle walls. Also, the Parliament of the Saar building, St Michael Church , the market of St John, and the French consulate building. There is an interesting National Theater of the Saar with 3 rooms, in German they are Staatstheater, Alte Feuerwache and Sparte.  The Staatstheater, is located along the Saar river and was built in  1937/38 as a gift from the National Socialist regime (Nazis) to the Saar following the referendum of 1935 that annexed the Saar to the third reich. You can see the nice Saar museum or Archeological museum as well as the nice gardens of the castle that was originally in terraces to the Saar river and was arranged in a baroque garden between 1760 and 1765.




We did our shopping at the Europa Galerie, and visited our favorite Galerie Kaufhof, as well as had our lunch in the Europa Galerie at a German bakery chain and salon de thé , the Bäckerhaus Ecker. All easily found walking and enjoy it the walks in city center nice shops and bars!




Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The tourist office in English for the city is here :

Saarland tourist page on Saarbrucken:

There you go a nice town on a beautiful silhouette of the Saar river , great shopping! and nice architecture. You can spend a quick whole day here or two as we came back again for another look on same family trip. Enjoy Saarbrucken, Saar of Germany.

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



December 29, 2019

Some news from France, CCXCVII

So here I am with more of my humble news of my belle France… always excint bits of news of my own choosing in the media world of France. Oh did I say France…welcome back to my latest news from France….

Ahh and Happy New Year and best wishes to all in 2020.

And how about those French lol!! The circulation of metros, buses, trams and RER trains will still be difficult this Sunday December 29 2019. Thirteen metro lines will be completely stopped. In recent years, between December 31 and January 1, Ile-de-France region night owls could count on free public transportation that runs all night. With the strike, it will often be necessary to find a plan B to return home. Slow traffic: thirteen metro lines out of sixteen will be closed on Sunday in Paris, on the 25th day of the strike against the pension reform, before a “significant improvement” Monday, announced this Saturday the RATP. Monday, lines 1 and 14 will operate normally (of course they are automatic no conductor lol!) , 11 metro lines will be partially operated and one RER A and B (RATP zone) on two will run between 6h30 and 20h. For its part, the SNCF announces an average of six TGV out of ten and one Transilien out of five in circulation until Sunday evening. The railway company also plans to run four TER out of ten on Sunday, and an average of three Intercités out of ten over the weekend.   Stay tune if coming as the unions claim will have stayting power on the strike beyond January 11 2020.

Another dear subject that I have written several posts on it to alert the readers of its renovation takes another turn , the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris is moving on.

The immense crane of Notre-Dame Cathedral enters the landscape of Paris. This astonishing yellow spire rises 75 meters above the top of the old roof of the destroyed cathedral. It will be an essential tool for the consolidation and reconstruction phases. The dismantling, which will last several months, should start in February 2020 , but it takes a dry climate, not too cold to advance in this work. The forecourt should be gradually reopened from the end of January. The interior of the cathedral was emptied using robots. The elements have been sorted, inventoried, stored in tents on the forecourt. The inventory is finished for the nave and the transepts.

But there is a lot of rubble left on the vaults. From the upper floor that has been built, rope access technicians will activate. This will involve vacuuming up debris with special devices, but this has not yet started. The choir stalls have been protected by a temporary roof, and will be taken down for cleaning before being reassembled later. We will also have to place the large organ intact, and clean the pipes one by one, to remove the lead dust. When the nave reopens for worship, a temporary wall should be erected before the transepts. In the northern belfry, which had been licked by the flames, the eight bells will have to be lowered before being reassembled later. This is not the case for the two bumblebees in the southern belfry which was not affected by the fire.

For reference my previous posts on the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris follows:

The event sale took place in Senlis in late October 2019 . It is the first time in decades that a Cimabue has passed under the hammer. And the painting, estimated between 4 and 6 million euros, has soared to more than 24 million euros, including costs, becoming the most expensive primitive painting sold in public sale in the world. It was the Alana private collection, belonging to a couple of Chilean collectors based in the United States and specializing in Italian Renaissance art (part of which is currently on display at the Jacquemart André museum in Paris until January 20 2020), more here:   which had it finally swept away, in front of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the last sub-bidder.

The egg painting and gold background on poplar panel, 25.8 cm by 20.3 cm, was hung between the living room and the kitchen of an old lady in Compiègne (Oise dept 60) and had been appraised at during a move. The expert opinion revealed that it was a very rare work by Ceno Di Pepo, known as Cimabue one of the greatest figures of the Pre-Renaissance. We know at most eleven works executed on wood, none of which is signed. “La Derision du Christ” is believed to be part of a year 1280 diptych depicting scenes from the Passion on eight panels of similar size. Only two of the scenes were known to date: “The Flagellation of Christ” (Frick Collection, New York) and “The Madonna and Child enthroned and surrounded by two angels” (National Gallery, London). More on the connaissance des arts here in French:

You still have time to go ! Perched 110 m high, the Grande Arche ice rink welcomes visitors every day until January 5. But with the strikes, skaters have considerably become less. More here:

Beer from Saint-Ouen is anything but cat piss! Thanks to cutting-edge technology allowing it an infinity of recipes, the Saint-Ouen Paris brewery wants to distinguish itself by high-end beers. It also relies on partnerships with renowned artists, such as Monsieur Chat, to design its labels. Ok creative different try it! More here:

Château de Compiègne (dept 60 Oise) a great start for the exhibition of incredible racing cars. Open to the public for just one month, the concept car event in the heart of the castle of the imperial city is very attractive.   More in French here:

The Bottin or telephone directory turns the page, finally. Appeared several decades before the phone, it had survived the Minitel (old network of information in France). And it is the Internet that will have had its ending. The last telephone directory of individuals (or white pages) in paper version will be delivered in late 2019. For the business yellow pages, the chopper will fall in late 2020. Frankly hardly notice I always use the internet!!

Dark facades, extreme sobriety, modular spaces … the new Théâtre du Maillon in Strasbourg has just opened its doors. Pasionaria, one of the first shows at the new Théâtre du Maillon, will soon begin. Mirrors reflect a cinematic exterior decor, with the cut shadows of the gray buildings of the European district of Strasbourg, whose first lights are already vibrating in the falling night. The physiognomy of the building, a black concrete box with walls over 10 meters high, reproduced the darkness of the room. The theater is bathed in natural light thanks to large glass facades, some of which slide. From the interior hall of the building, the visitor’s gaze navigates through a gallery of giant paintings on the subject of Strasbourg, or rather its rapidly changing business district, near the European Parliament. The outdoor courtyard, with the air of a Mediterranean patio, can thus become an open-air theater or an exhibition space. More info:

And for more near the theatre you have to see the European Parliament: It is an institution in Strasbourg, but also an architectural gesture made in 1999 by the agency Architecture Studio. The Louise-Weiss building has recently been visited, including during the plenary sessions. Located at Louise Weiss building, 1, allée du Printemps.   More info on visits here :

The MAMCS: Designed by architect Adrien Fainsilber, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is to be discovered for its beautiful glazed interior nave, and its permanent collection made up of works by Rodin, Gauguin, Signac, Monet or Picasso…Located at 1, place Hans-Jean-Arp . More info here :

Les Haras: A magnificent spiral in wooden strips surrounds the central staircase of this Strasbourg brasserie hotel, located in the city’s former national stud farms. Listed as a historic monument, the place was renovated in 2013 by the architectural firm Denu et Paradon and the Jouin-Manku agency. Located at 23, rue des Glacières. More info here :

And during the season end of year is always good to have a Champagne. Here is another story of an up and coming house. Keep an eye on it you read it here first

A small stone shelter on the hillside overlooks the village of Oger. On the left, we see Avize. On the right is Le Mesnil. It is there, in the heart of the Marne river valley, that Olivier Bonville, grandson of Franck, the founder of the champagne house, likes to accompany his guests, in the “Cabane des Belles Voyes”, named after his favorite plot . Behind the back wall, Chardonnay vines planted in 1965 thrive. He made a separate cuvée, “Les Belles Voyes”. He finds in this champagne with a very salty taste, superb freshness, an authenticity of the past, which he also recognizes in the production of the cult winegrower Anselme Selosse, whose advice he listened to a lot at the start of his work. He vinifies his 15 hectares of vines planted in Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil. He confines himself to the Chardonnay, does not buy any other grapes. The winemaker has offered since last year three plot cuvées, from the 2012 harvest: a “Pur Avize”, fleshy and vinous, a “Pur Mesnil”, iodized and tense , a “Pure Oger”, in balance between the two – salty and smooth at the same time. In addition to these three wines, which complement very neat “classics”, it creates a surprising cuvée, the demi-sec. In contrast to the succulent champagnes, this one is based on a 2005 harvest base. It gains elegant patina and length, ideal with a foie gras. More info on Bonville here:

For my fashion readers, here is good news me think. The emblematic ready-to-wear house Sonia Rykiel, liquidated on July 25 2019 for want of a buyer, will be relaunched by two of the founders of the Showroomprivé site, who want to promote the brand, described as “flagship of French heritage”. The house Sonia Rykiel, famous for its knitwear and its colored stripes, was supported at the time of its liquidation on a network, in its own, of six shops and four outlets (destocking stores); it made just over 50% of its sales in France. More on the Showroomprivé site here:

And for the pleasures of culture here are my fav for the coming year

At the Théâtre Mogador 25 rue de Mogador 9éme one of my few theatres I have actually seen a show over the years. See Ghost.   created in 2011 from the film of the same name by Jerry Zucker with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg in the main roles. The show had received three Tony Awards nominations in 2012. A spectacular staging tends to demonstrate once again that we can perfectly combine popular success and artistic quality. More info here:

A stone’s throw from the Jardin du Ranelagh garden, at the Musée Marmottan Monet, an exceptional exhibition allows you to discover a facet of the unknown painter, that of landscapes, churches and mills, nuanced colors and delicate features: figurative Mondrian. About sixty paintings, selected by Mondrian himself around 1920 for his collector Salomon B. Slijper, are to be discovered through a journey that highlights the major figurative work of the artist. Impressionism, luminism, wild animals and symbolism are at the heart of the exhibition. Rare cubist and neo-plasticist compositions complete the ride. Musée Marmottan-Monetn 2 rue Louis-Boilly  16éme. More info here :

And the National Museum of Natural History in the Grand Gallery of Evolution you have an expo on Oceans. The ocean covers most of the planet but is still largely unknown. This exhibition offers an unusual dive into the heart of an original biodiversity, far from the coast and the usual figures. The constraints of the marine environment as well as the challenge of its exploration are highlighted in particular through projections, an important iconography and a selection of atypical specimens. Located at 36 rue Geoffroy St-Hilaire 5éme .More info here:

And a must to see and we love it, enough said. At the Grand Palais of Paris 3 avenue du Général Eisenhower 8éme see the expo on Toulouse-Lautrec, Résolument moderne . . The work of Toulouse-Lautrec is often reduced to the culture of Montmartre. If the artist wonderfully represented the electricity of the Parisian night and its pleasures, he was especially animated by the aesthetic ambition to translate the reality of modern society under its multiple faces. This exhibition; co-produced by the museums of Orsay and the Orangery as well as by the Rmn-Grand Palais, with the support of the city of Albi and the Toulouse-Lautrec museum; offers to rediscover a great artist . More info :

The cult program Intervilles will make a comeback in 2020. The last program was broadcast in 2013. Intervilles is the program putting two French cities in friendly competition through a series of physical tests and games of skill, on land, in the water and in the air and the opportunity in passing to revise its geography in an atmosphere full of good cheers. The new version will be presented by former Miss France Valérie Bègue, as well as Bruno Guillon and Olivier Minne. Recall that Intervilles is one of the longest-lived French television games (it was broadcast from 1962 to 2013) and is one of the most suitable French programs abroad.

And finally, something those that live or work there but also maybe some visitors feel it . The metro and its inconveniences are known only too well. Normal, taking it morning, noon, evening, again, again and again for years, we begin to be prowled. Come on, Parisian friends, and if we identified what makes us all mad in the underground, just to be sure that we are all the same? Would that reassure you or not? Whatever your answer, here are 30 reasons to go home and piss your cat off!!!

1- To be tight against odorous people lol!

2- Being forced to wait for the next metro because we didn’t have the courage to … see the time.

3- The long corridors that never end (cuckoo Châtelet) oh yeah!!!!

4- Piss smells in these same corridors

5- Rats (but mice are cute by cons)

6- Pickpockets; QUIZ: “Warning, pickpockets may be present on board” = which station? Hahaha the usual warning for nothing yes!!

7- People who play bad music, you can never be quiet!

8- The metro, which stops for several minutes, in a tunnel. We are not claustro, but if you really insist on RATP, we might well become one.

9- The people who don’t let out, or rather who make no effort for us, WE want out

10- People who blow because they are drunk JUST IN FRONT OF US (what did you eat, man ?!)

11- The people who steal your place, when strategically, you were closer. It’s not fair play, oh! cardboard Mr. referee!

12- The oppression of the people who stick you in front, behind, right and left.

13- When the metro stops between two stations, and NOBODY tells us why putaaaaiiiin! Oops won’t translate………

14- Those who fall on you because like your smell

15- Those who want to defraud by passing with you, without having asked you. Accomplice by breaking and entering, that’s abused right?

16- Those who remain seated on the folding seats while we are in Saint-Lazare at 18h30.

17- People who carry backpacks

18- All the Marlboro mafia which monopolizes the exit of the Barbès metro and blocks your way

19- All those who speak on the phone believing they are at home. We don’t care about your life conn ****! Oops won’t translate.

20- The drivers of the line 4 who know how to stop other than brutally before saying “sorry, the braking was a bit brutal”. When they apologize.

21- Children who MUST be seated. It stands up at that age normally, right?

22- Elderly people who look at you badly because you did not get up to give way to them. Hey respect for elders, it works on other continents, Asia, Africa. Here we are in Europe, the old folks don’t you understand?

23- Sitting in the middle of a family in a square of 4 (I swear I don’t listen)

24- The people who stagnate in front of the doors when they are going to close and you NEED to return

25- When the waiting time for the next metro is not displayed on the tables

26- When you have to wait 11 minutes for your metro on a Sunday afternoon (next time, take the bike)

27- Wipers, the worst *****

28- People who leave their bag on a seat, of course monopolizing the last place. “Parcel trap alert, blow up this gentlemen bag hin hin.” Hahahaha!

29- The people who push you to go out before the metro is even stopped, and you go out too. Old people often.

30- The people who lean against the bar. Where do we stand now Einstein? Hahaha!

Well hope you get the picture of public transport. And remember I did this too. And remember , happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



December 26, 2019

Some news from France, CCXCVI (2020)

So we are approaching end year 2019 pretty fast,and I need to tell you some of old good spots to celebrate New Year’s 2020 as well as some things to look forward to in Paris beginning of 2020! So this is a special Some news from France post, the 296th one for those not familiar with Roman numerals. Enjoy it

First a few chosen spots to wait for the New Year 2020 in Paris.

New Years Eve masked ball Eyes Wide Shut.  Pavillon Wagram . 47, avenue de Wagram (17éme). Tuesday December 31, 2019, from 22h. to 05h. Formula 5 drinks + open bubbles + evening: € 60.48. 10 drinks + open bubbles + evening package: € 66.63. Info

 New Years Eve on the Champs-Élysées. Arc de Triomphe, place de l’etoile (17éme). Tuesday December 31 from 23h. BFM Paris is accessible on channel 30 of regional DTT, channel 38 on the SFR box, channel 340 on the Orange box, channel 307 on the Bouygues box and channel 943 on the box Free. Info

The crazy new year – Réveillon 2020. Point Éphémère. 200, quai de Valmy (10éme). Tuesday December 31, 2019, from 21h to 05h. Entrance: € 18 presale and € 25 on site. Info

 For New Year’s Eve, the Pachamama turns into a circus track. At the same time restaurant, club and cocktail bar, the majestic place of 3000 m2 located in Bastille will fill your taste buds with a special Pachamama circus menu. 46, rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine (12éme). Tuesday December 31, 2019, from 22h. Entrance: 30 € with a drink. Dinner € 130 per person (excluding drinks) from 20h. This is the old Barrio Latino ! info

 New Years Eve at the Pavillon des Étangs. 50, route de l’etoile (16éme). Tuesday December 31, 2019, from 21h. to 05h. Price: from 59 € with 3 to 10 Consos + cocktail dinner. Info :,51.html

 Head to South America at the Forum & Club for a 100% Latin evening with three concerts, six DJ’s, dance shows and projections, orchestrated by the Fiesta de Cumbia Paris team Latin New Year & Swing New Year Soul. La Bellevilloise. 19-21 rue Boyer (20éme). Tuesday December 31, 2019, from 22h. to 06h. Admission: € 42 in presale and € 50 on site.

Info Latino :

Info Swing:

 The Aquarium Club invites you to wake up around 10,000 fish in a magical setting unique in the world. Facing the Eiffel Tower, wiggle around on the dancefloors and sip your glass of champagne (at will from 00h to 01h) in front of the biggest pool in France which has thousands of exotic fish and around thirty sharks. Aquarium’s New Year “tour Eiffel”. The Aquarium. 5, avenue Albert de Mun (16éme). Tuesday December 31, from 21h. to 05h. Entrance: from € 49 + drinks + open bar bubbles + pastries . Info :

And many folks ask me what to do in Paris, something different well as you know Paris is the world’s most visited and beautiful city and you have folks from all over the world tramping its streets and looking for something new as well. Well I have chosen some events that will be happening in Jan ,Feb, and Mar 2020 in Paris that will bring something new to do in Paris. Hope you enjoy it

Discover the 36 new paintings in La suite Binant which retrace heroic episodes of civil and military resistance during the Commune, the siege of Paris, from September 1870 to January 1871 (Paul Eluard art and history museum, Saint-Denis dept 93 , until March 2). Info:

Rediscover smell, taste and touch by blindly tasting delicatessen products or by participating in perfume workshops in the “Dans le Noir” sensory space, a stone’s throw from Beaubourg (4éme). Info:

 Put on your moon boots to climb Mont-Valérien, in Suresnes, where the group of Bistrots Pas Parisiens (who works in particular with Norbert Tarayre) installed Mourchevel, an ephemeral restaurant like a ski resort where to put raclette and Savoyard fondue ( until March 1, 2020). Info :

Marvel at night in the botanical gardens of Thoiry (Yvelines 78) thanks to the 600 impressive Chinese lanterns representing some twenty different animal species (until March 8). Info:

Rediscover your child’s soul in front of the breathtaking numbers of the new Bouglione Défi circus show, in the oldest circus in the world (11éme, until March 15). Info:

Let yourself be charmed by the “Fantasies for a Palace” exhibition at the Château de Maisons. The opportunity also to revisit this beautiful historic place. (Maisons-Laffitte Yvelines 78, until March 22). Info:

Believe in Cancale by tasting the best pancake in Paris, that of Bertrand Larcher, in his new Breizh Café rue Paul Bert (11éme). info:

Climb on the “rooftop” of the Hôtel des Grands Boulevards (2éme), transformed into a “Winter Shed” for the season with mountain cocktails, winter decor and comfort food (until the end of February-beginning of March 2020). Info:

Take your older teens to the De l’Amour exhibition, where between poetry, musical listening, films and literary references, you speak frankly and without complexes about this mysterious feeling, this eternal universal subject… (Palais de la Découverte 16th , until August 30). Info :

Warmly applaud the 5 crazy comedians From around the World in 80 days and realize, above all, that it’s great to laugh out loud (Théâtre de la Gaîté Montparnasse 14éme, until January 4). Info:

Take the children to play the Robinson Crusoes while enjoying the last days of the “Cabins” exhibit. (City of Science and Industry 19éme, until January 5). Info:

Put on your skates for a sliding game 110 meters high with a 360 ° view of Paname (Grande Arche de la Défense Hauts de Seine dept 92, until January 5). Info:

Attend the new equestrian show at the Grandes Écuries, Alice and the enchanted merry-go-round at Domaine de Chantilly (Oise dept 60, until January 5, by reservation). Info:

Hear the delighted little cries of baboons, wolves or lemurs who will discover during the holidays, savory and sweet treats distributed as gifts (Paris Zoological Park 12éme, until January 5). Info:

Save the representation of The Magic Flute and solve the curse of the legendary phantom of the Opera during an escape game at the Opéra Garnier (2éme, until January 12). Info :

Wiggle to the sounds of the DJs from the Friendsome Records collective from 19h to 23h. Under the Bulle Parisienne in a magical setting, on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower, have a drink and eat in a lounge bar perched 57 meters high. (7éme, January 9). Info :

Resume a swarm of news at the Théâtre de Poche (75 Boulevard du Montparnasse, 6éme), converted into “Café Maupassant” until January 12. Info:

Swing on Gershwin’s music and party with An American in Paris for an evening at the Châtelet theater (1éme, until January 20). Info:

Dive into the literary masterpieces of Hugo, Sand, Zola and Balzac adapted to the seventh art, on the big screen and in concert at the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation (13éme, until January 21). Info

Vote for the Sea girls in power !, by and with burlesque singers Lise Laffont, Judith Rémy, Prunella Rivière and Delphine Simon (Café de la Danse 11éme, January 13, 14, 27 and 28). Info

Infiltrate the show rooms of editors and creators of decoration to be up to date and transform its interior in a jiffy (Paris Déco Off, from January 16 to 20). Info: :

Spend an entire night enjoying reading in libraries and bookstores that organize many events – readings, debates, recommendations – around their literary background (Nuit de la lecture, January 18). Info:

Getting lost in the Pompidou Center which devotes a vast exhibition to the very fleshy British painter Francis Bacon, from the 1930s to his death, bringing together 86 of his works (2éme, until January 20). Info:Centre Pompidou agenda

Be unbeatable on spring-summer fashion trends by following the new collections of the great couturiers during Paris Fashion Week (from 20 to 23 January). Info:

Sip signature cocktails at low prices, with and without alcohol, on the occasion of the 6th Paris Cocktail Week (from January 24 to February 1, in Parisian bars). Info:

Celebrate the Rat and indulge in a change of scenery for the Chinese New Year, which starts on January 25 with events over two weeks in Paris (traditional parades, concerts…). Info:

Rediscover the most beautiful films by Alfred Hitchcock in a retrospective of the Cinémathèque: Chantage, Les 39 marches, L’Inconnu du Nord-Express… (12éme, until 25 January). Info:

Get to know the Queen of France, wife of Louis XVI through the exhibition “Marie-Antoinette, metamorphoses of an image”. (Conciergerie 1éme, until January 26). Info:

Caracoler with lightness and liveliness at the racetrack to decide between the 18 best cracks in the world at the American Grand Prix (Hippodrome Paris Vincennes 12éme, January 26). Info:

To be dazzled by the paintings of Pietr Mondrian in his figurative period from the Salomon B. Slijper collection at the Musée Marmottan-Monet (16éme, until January 26). Info:

Save to buy one of the tables newly crowned by the 2020 edition of the Michelin guide, unveiled on January 27. Info:

Stroll by night in the crypt and the nave of the Pantheon (5éme) by the light of a flashlight, accompanied by the music of your choice. (Sept. exceptional nights until January 29). Info:

Realize that literature can radically change a life with the exhibition “Books in the Mirror” by photographer Marguerite de Merode. (Mazarine Library 6éme, until February 1.). info:

Discover Paris and its surroundings differently with the new edition of Paris Face Cachée and its visits to atypical or unknown places open exceptionally to the public (from January 31 to February 2, by reservation). Info:

Contemplate a Thousand & an orchid in the Grandes Serres du Jardin des Plantes (5éme, from February 5 to March 2). Info:

Run at 100 an hour for vintage cars and motorcycles exhibited at the Rétromobile show at Paris Expo before the auction organized by Artcurial (Porte de Versailles 15éme, February 5 to 9). Info :

Relive the epic of the Ile de France cruise liner in an Art Deco atmosphere through the exhibition dedicated to it at the Musée des 1930s in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts de Seine dept 92, until February 10). Info:

Warm up at the Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris Christmas chalet, which takes on the air of a funfair and fall back to childhood with a sweet break with pancakes, waffles, love apples and traditional spit cakes (8éme, until mid-February). Info:

Uncover emerging blues talent with the 14th “Alligator Nights” (La Maroquinerie 20éme, January 31 to February 23). Info: and info:

Take his spy outfit to go listen to the biggest titles in James Bond movies and spend an evening in the skin of 007 (Grand Rex 2éme, February 14 and 15). Info: :

Take a campaign shoot at the Agricultural Show by strolling among the stands of producers and breeders (Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, 15éme, from Feb. 22 to March 1). Info :

Immerse yourself in the digital works of Monet, Renoir, Chagall for Voyages en Méditerranée (11éme Lights workshop, from February 28 to December 31). Info:

Be immersed in the cinema of the 1920s (episode film, popular or avant-garde cinema) through unpublished documents from the collection of the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation (Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation, 13éme, until February 29). Info:

Take part in the Holiday on Ice Supernova ice show with the whole troop of figure skaters, accompanied for the last time by Philippe Candeloro (Palais des Sports, 15éme, from Feb. 27 to March 3). Info:

Challenge yourself during the half-marathon and travel at its own pace the 21.1 km that mark out the race in the heart of the capital (March 1). Info:

Transform your home with the Art & Deco Fair, essential for decoration enthusiasts (Grande Halle de la Villette 19éme, from March 5 to 8). Info:

Have fun with the craziest costumes of visitors to Paris Manga 2020, the Japanese pop culture fair which welcomes comic, video game, web culture and cosplay lovers every year (Paris Expo Porte de Versailles 15éme , March 7 and 8). Info: :

Pay homage to the great artist to celebrate 100 years of his birth with the exhibition “Boris Vian in Saint-Germain-des-Prés”. (Les Deux Magots 6éme, from March 9 to 31). Info:

Think India at the Book Fair which this year invites the authors of this country to exchange and sign their works (Paris Expo Porte de Versailles 15éme, from March 20 to 23). Info: :

Stroll between the different restaurants of Table Square, the giant food court (4500 m2) expected in February at La Défense (Hauts de Seine dept 92), with the “fast good” by Anne Sophie Pic, Akrame Benallal or Olivier Bellin. Follow news info here:

And there you go folks enjoy eternal Paris , there is nothing like it in the world, and I have been around ….Happy New Year 2020!

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

December 21, 2019

Some news from France, CCXCV

So here I am on a cool dark day with high winds flapping all over France up to 140 km/hr (about 87 MPH)is some spots and intermittent rain for the weekend. Lovely, welcome to France! And what better way to know the news is by reading my some news from France posts! Enjoy it!

For the first time in 216 years, the eight-century-old Notre Dame Cathedral will remain silent one Christmas night: no ceremony or procession is planned on the outskirts of Notre-Dame de Paris. The Christmas mass will be celebrated at midnight by the rector of the cathedral, Mgr Patrick Chauvet, in the Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois Church, opposite the Louvre.

A giant crane was installed in order to carry out the most delicate operation of this entire Herculean security site: it will be a question of dismantling one by one 10,000 metal tubes, or 250 tonnes in total, that the flames of April 15th welded. The giant crane arrived on December 16 in parts aboard an exceptional convoy accompanied by 40 trucks of equipment. Two mobile cranes unloaded them. It is currently being climbed and will culminate at 75 meters (80 meters with the arrow which dominates it). Made expressly in Moulins (dept 03 Allier), and considered to be the largest topless tower crane in Europe, it can lift up to 8 tonnes.   During the night of 17 to 18 December, the essential electrical transformer station was unloaded from a barge which will supply the installations on a lasting basis. As of Monday, the crane, which had to be solidly welded to the ground, will be fitted with an elevator. Before entering into action, this huge giraffe watching over Notre-Dame must be duly checked. To be Continue…

The exhibition is displayed in rue du Cloître, a stone’s throw from the Notre Dame Cathedral. 37 photos arranged on the palisades of the building to devour with your eyes during a stroll in the neighborhood, until March 2020. Patrick Zachmann wanted to immortalize everything. Photo reporter and pillar of the Magnum agency, it was in June that he was able to break into the cathedral, then partially devoid of roof. He thus immortalized the historic event, which moved, and still moves so many people as evidenced by the thousands of tweets and photos about him on social networks. Patrick Zachmann delivers magnificent photos of charred, damaged, scratched roofs, but not only. This “wild” exhibition aims to revive an emblematic place which, under reconstruction, has not finished writing its history. See it while it last!!!

And its all over thenews so the events reporting continues on the strikes in Paris and France. The movement against pension reform continues on Saturday for the 17th consecutive day. The unions have rejected any truce on the occasion of the RATP holidays, as well as the SNCF, with the exception of the Unsa-railway but the staff continues. Eight lines of the Paris metro are still not running. Air transport threatens to join the strike in early January calling to strike for the day of 3 January. Like many liberal professions, air transport as well as seafarers fear that the pension reform will cause major changes in their supplementary pension fund. Air transport then gave the government an ultimatum for December 23. If the latter refuses, the strike could extend beyond January 3 …to be continue and check for air travel plans ok

Wind gusts of up to 140 km / h are expected along the Atlantic, up to 180 km / h in Corsica. I am already feeling the winds and we are hatch down for the weekend as we live close to the coast in the Morbihan. Other areas of France such as the Paca are hit harder these days. We have 11C (ébout 52F )but it feels like 5C!’about 41F)  It seems we will have a lousy weekend!!!

Just one year after taking over the three restoration areas of the Institut du Monde Arabe 5éme arrondissement de Paris, renown chef Guy Martin threw in the towel. In bankruptcy since Wednesday, the establishments are closed. And the 32 employees are waiting for a solution. Sadly not the place for high end French cuisine.

The winter Paris Night Market is once again installed under the large Halle de la Villette. A day and night market to take full advantage of green eco bio exhibitors.

Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines 78) is already preparing for the coming of the Tour de France The last departure city will be Mantes-la-Jolie. The town of the north-west Yvelinois thus succeeds Rambouillet as the city organizing the start of the last stage. The route should then reach the outskirts of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and Versailles to reach the Seine and the center of Paris. To be continue for the Tour de France 2020.

How about fast food in France, it is gaining ground due to price/quality ratio establishements such as Restaurant Dumbo winner of the Fooding Prize for the best burger 2020. The establishment open in summer 2019 in Pigalle produces a hundred American sandwiches every day. The order is quickly placed, it is swallowed in a few minutes, and it’s good. All cooked with mature Montbelliarde meat, delivered daily to the restaurant by the Huguenin butcher. The buns are potato buns, made of flour mixed with mashed potato. Dumbo, 64, rue Jean-Baptiste-Pigalle, Paris 9éme. Without reservation. Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 14h and 19h to 22h30

And now a bit of a tour done with car but can be done with public transport at least to get there. The mountain of Sainte Victoire! With its imposing white limestone cliffs which dominate the Vallée de l’Arc valley, the Sainte-Victoire mountain, which appeared 15 million years before our era, looks a bit like the giants of the seas plying the oceans.

The first stage, Fuveau, has all the attributes of the Provençal village. Perched at the top of a hill, it offers steep streets, a course bordered by plane trees as well as an imposing neo-Gothic church with the airs of Italian Baroque which can be seen from afar. Sainte-Victoire is very close. The village revolves around the Saint-Michel Church and the Castle of Peyssonels, historic residence of the lords of Fuveau. You stroll along narrow streets, pass by the Porte de Bassac, and stop in front of the little Saint-Roch Chapel, at the corner of rue de la Paix before taking rue du Figuier and rue Barthélemy Niollon, painter and friend of Cézanne. These two arteries served as the backdrop for some scenes from the film Le Boulanger de Valorgue, with Fernandel, shot in 1952.

Located on the northern slope of the Etoile massif, the small village of Gréasque was erected, 340 meters above sea level, on ancient land bequeathed to the Abbey of Saint-Victor around the 11C. For almost five centuries, until the early 1960s, the Provence mining basin was the third largest national production. Nearly 50 wells have been sunk – dug vertically in the language of miners in the region. After WWII, 6,500 miners were still working there. A page that was turned in 2003 with the closure of the Morandat mine in Gardanne.

The last Gardanne mine shaft closed a little over fifteen years ago, but in the minds of many Gardannais, their city remains the historic heart of the mining basin. You can visit the mining town of Biver and the Alteo factory which produces alumina. But Gardanne rhymes especially with Cézanne. The painter lived there two years. Walking through the Colline des Frères (Brothers’ Hill), you may find the place where he put his easel to paint the village.

Like the other villages in the Vallée de l’Arc , Trets is still spared the flow of tourists. You can therefore wander quietly between alleys and covered passages, appreciate the medieval ramparts and the two solid access doors flanked by square towers, make a stop in the Notre-Dame de Nazareth Church, in Romanesque style, with Gothic additions and Baroque. The Altar done towards the end of the 17C, whose striking features of the Virgin and the Archangel Gabriel strike. At Rue Paul-Bert, you stop in front of an old Romanesque house which, according to an oral tradition, would have been a synagogue, when the Jews expelled from France in 1182 were welcomed in Trets by the Counts of Provence.

Welcome to the highest village in Bouches-du-Rhône, Mimet, which has a real historical heritage, such as the old castle and the church opposite, both dating from the 11C. Inside the church are the oldest santons of Provence obviously, dating from 1644. Another wealth, outside: the hermitage Notre-Dame-d’Elle Anges, a site built in and on the rock of which only the imposing hostellerie of women remains today, alongside the arches of those of men. The bravest will launch, still on foot, to attack the head of the Grand Puech, the highest point of the massif at 766 meters. For a 360 ° view on seven departments, and on the Sainte-Baume massif, the Prealps, the Ventoux, the Lure mountain and, icing on the cake, Marseille with its islands and Sainte-Victoire, of course.

A bit on getting here: From Aix-en-Provence TGV station, regular shuttle to the city center. Then, from Aix, you can use the Pays d’Aix Mobilité buses, the interurban transport network which offers more than twenty regular lines to Trets, Fuveau, Gardanne, Gréasque or Mimet. Network Pays d’Aix Mobilité:

And finally one of our favorite dishes for Christmas and I took this recipe this year :hope you try it, bon appétit.   Hot oysters stuffed with handled butter by chef Patrick Cadour

Ingredients for 4 to 6 people (depending on appetite)

2 dozen special oysters, 150 g butter; ½ bunch of curly parsley; 2 shallots; 1 leek; 50 g salmon eggs; Espelette pepper ; powdered mace; White pepper

Step 1: the oysters Open the oysters, empty the first water, reserve.

Step 2: the parsley butter: Knead the butter with the finely chopped parsley, the chopped shallot, a pinch of mace, a hint of chili, a hint of white pepper. Keep cool.

Step 3: leek: Cut the tender green part of the leek into a little julienne (small ribbons), blanch for 1 min in boiling salted water, then cool with ice water.

Step 4: cooking the oysters: Cover each oyster with a few ribbons of leek, add a small knob of handled butter. Bake at 180 ° C, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until the butter sizzles and begins to brown. You can also cook these oysters over a wood fire (on fairly soft embers), they will only be tastier.

Step 5: the dressing: Place the oysters on the plates (possibly on a layer of coarse salt to stabilize them), add a small spoonful of salmon eggs in each. Taste immediately, accompanied by a glass of light pinot noir or a rosé from the Loire or Provence.

And voilà , hope you enjoy the post and be aware of the weather and the strikes in my belle France on your soon next visit to us! Enjoy the country we take all.

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



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