Archive for ‘Versailles’

October 14, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLV

And here I am on a sunny day in my beautiful Morbihan breton telling you once again of some news from France. Lots of going on, as the times are picking up and on my neck of the woods everything goes smoothly having the lowest incident in France of the virus… And we are vaccinated with our health pass; our choice. Now let me tell you the latest from the hexagone! or République Française or my belle France!

The wonderful Place Vendôme is once again becoming a showcase for contemporary art. Until Friday October 15 2021, a monumental work by Alexander Calder is being installed in front of the facades of fashion houses and jewelers. The International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) which will take place from Thursday October 21 to Sunday October 24 at the Grand Palais Éphémère thus provides the opportunity to discover creations in the heart of Paris, free of charge. Place Vendôme, in the Tuileries garden (which exhibits 24 artists) but also in the Eugène Delacroix museum that creations will thus be to be discovered. That of Calder with its “red signal” and its 18 tons of metal is enough to impress. On last Wednesday, the two large wings that should give it a wingspan of 17 meters long, 9 high and 6.5 meters wide were not yet in place. But the work, created in 1975 by the artist and set up here on the initiative of the Gagosian gallery, already hinted at the monumental impression this Flying Dragon will give. A year before his death Alexander Calder had also created the red spider – Le Grand Stabile Rouge – which has been sitting on the forecourt of La Défense (92) since 1976. Gagosian’s third gallery, which will open next Tuesday October 19, at 9, rue de Castiglione (1éme) in the historic complex of Hotel Lotti, will present, alongside other works dating from 1975, various archive documents related to the sculpture as well as the original model of this flagship piece of the FIAC.webpage :

The “OnE Site” project for the global transformation of the Eiffel Tower sector into a large pedestrian garden of nearly 50 ha, from the école militaire to the Trocadéro, from the 7éme to the 16éme arrondissement through the Pont d’Iéna, will not be a road to roses. Two years after the presentation of the “Grand site Eiffel Tower” project that the mayor of Paris wants to be emblematic of her term of office, the unprecedented CPPV, for “electronic public consultation”, opened on Monday October 11 2021 evening with a public meeting at the Hôtel de Ville, the cradle of this project, the green ambition of which has crystallized critics since its inception. To be continue,,,Here is the project in French :

A Bruitparif report shows that, in the liveliest districts of Paris, the noise generated by bars and restaurants can be more annoying than that coming from road traffic. Especially in the evening and at the beginning of the night In some areas, up to 75 decibels were recorded at night due to the terraces of bars and restaurants. It is more than in other exposed to road trafic, Oh well get rid of the restaurants/bars to make Paris the utopian city many radicals want lol !! webpage :

It was seduced by the exceptional setting of the Chamarande estate and its 17C castle. Michel Nedjar, the most exhibited artist of the art brut in the world, presents his works there until January 9,2022 in partnership with the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Art Brut. The opportunity to discover in particular the famous dolls for which it is famous. Wednesday to Sunday, 13h to 18h, in October and Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 13h to 17h, November to January. Free entry. Domaine de Chamarande (Essonne 91), 35 km south of Evry, access by RER C Chamarande station (200 meters), or by car by N 20 between Arpajon and Etampes, exit Etréchy-Chamarande. Expo webpage:

At the Manufacture de Sèvres factory, the large wood-fired oven rekindles the flame for two days. The work dating from 1877 is only put back into operation every five years The masterful wood-fired oven at the Sèvres factory comes back to life. Since Wednesday morning, logs and small birch wood have supplied the imposing 150-year-old building for the delicate firing of twenty-seven vases decorated by three renowned artists: Annette Messager, Hélène Delprat and Ulla von Brandenburg. Webpage :

They seduced Stéphane Bern ! A general mobilization for the rebirth of the stables of Gennevilliers, The site of the stables of Richelieu is one of the last vestiges of a distant and sumptuous past, which saw the first performance of the “Marriage of Figaro” by Beaumarchais . A work in progress to rehabilitate the stables with national lotto and donations, The city of Gennevilliers (92) on the stables/écuries :

The houses emerges as a big winner in the upheaval in the post-Covid real estate market, This trend, which began with the first confinement, is confirmed at the end of 2021. A dynamism which is reflected in the evolution of prices since houses have increased by 6% in one year in France against 3.4% for apartments, And if this is true in all regions, it is even more marked in Île-de-France. Families continue to leave the City of Lights (Paris told you so), trying as best they can to sell their “big” apartments. They take the direction of the Grande Couronne and even beyond that. They look for a house located an hour or even an hour and a half from Paris by train. Beauvais, Chartres, Évreux or Poitiers are among the favorites of buyers. Same phenomenon in the departments of Yvelines (78) , Val-d’Oise (95) , Essonne (91) and Seine-et-Marne (77). There will need to be a larger budget, especially to settle in Hauts-de-Seine (92). The sales, high, show prices which do not cease increasing. According to the latest figures published by the notaries of Greater Paris, their development is even much faster in the Grande Couronne (outer suburbs) 6.1%, than in the Petite Couronne (inner suburbs), 5.6%. And the largest annual increases are observed mainly for houses (7.7% in the inner suburbs against 7.5% in the inner suburbs). Source: Meilleurs Agents,webpage :

The exhibition «les Animaux du Roi» or the King’s Animals, at the Palace of Versailles, revives an era long gone, when the court hosted a parade of animals brought to shine or have fun and not to fight … An animal paradise and exotic, lost and found. One could be seen at the menagerie of the Palace of Versailles, in the years 1730-1740, Just like an elephant, a rhinoceros, hyenas, or a couagga. A what ? This hybrid of the zebra and the horse, immortalized in drawing by the artist Nicolas Maréchal, had been bought by Louis XVI from a governor of South Africa in 1784. The animal died a few years after the king guillotined, in 1797. The couagga, victim of overhunting, disappeared from the species in 1883. Palace of Versailles webpage :

And again, in Versailles, a new royal tourist office for the 2024 Olympic Games, The imposing and bright building will be located just outside the Versailles Château Rive-Gauche RER train station, offering a showcase on the city and its tourist activities. A relaxation area will be inaugurated in 2022 with a grove in the middle of which will be a statue of Molière. Versailles is preparing to host the horse riding events of the 2024 Olympic Games, Stay tune folks,,,Olympic Games 2024 webpage:

After scooters, operator Dott is rolling out its fleet of self-service electric bicycles, The Franco-Dutch operator is expanding its range by offering bicycles from last Tuesday ,October 12 in the streets of Paris. The fleet is expected to reach 3,000 vehicles by the end of the year 2021. It will be possible to rent the new machines, at the same price as the 5,000 scooters it already operates. Webpage :

The green corridor of the south of Paris, between Paris and Massy ,16 km long, La Véloscénie, It is this 470 km route which connects Paris to Mont-Saint-Michel (Manche 50). The first of the fifteen stages follows the green corridor of the south of Paris for 16 km. It is accessible to everyone, young and old. Fully equipped for cyclists, the green corridor is the ideal place for a family walk. More info webpage :

In the Ile-de-France region there will be fewer subways, RER, trains ,etc… until next year,2022, The virus phenomenon of Teleworking, “vélotaf”, return of the car etc has its impact, The use of public transport is far from be back to its pre-health crisis level. Consequently, Ile-de-France Mobilités (transport network) has decided to keep reduced frequencies. The network of ïle de France Mobilités :

RATP (Paris transports) has equips itself to calculate air quality in real time … and improve it, The RATP completes its measurement system with two new devices and launches a promising experiment to reduce particulate emissions when braking of trains ! . The machines have been installed on the RER A platforms of Châtelet and Nation, There you go keep tracking of you too!!!Here is the webpage for the Châtelet station in French of course :

The Electronic guidance systems (GPS) have failed to eradicate printed maps ! Yes, we keep them in the car always reliable for years,,,, road warrior savvy ! They are modernized, reinvented, and are once again popular with holidaymakers and hikers. at Michelin, where maps at 1/200 000 are still made, with their paper now tear-proof (because it is partly synthetic). In summer 2021, sales increased by 5.8% compared to summer 2020. Atlases , collections of maps, spiraled or not, enriched with information for truck drivers or motorhomes, in particular are even progressing by 19.3%. They have an overview of the region, and you can easily look at it with others, you can write on it as well. In recent years, they have added tourist information such as the stars of their Green Guides Michelin for sites to visit. This summer, the regions of central France were particularly sought after: Périgord, Limousin, and Auvergne … The same goes for the IGN maps, where the famous Top 25 map at 1 / 25,000th scale is the ally of hikers. In the summer of 2021, sales were up 20% compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. Indispensable when the phones get stuck or the network weakens, the IGN maps allows you to walk in complete safety. There is a new one ! Cartomania France, its unusual atlas of general culture, has fun locating a wealth of information in France: waterways, nuclear power plants, the 130 Napoleonic departments, wines and cheeses, film shooting locations cult… Large format, this coffee table book will makes you want to set out again on the roads of France !!! and elsewhere, On the list to buy it !! Cartomania France, the unusual atlas of general culture, by E. Didal and Atelier Cartographik (La Martinière), 26,50 € (price as suggested in France) You can order it from Amazon,,,,

How about the best Neapolitan pizzas in Paris ! Well at least some of my favorites ok ; and we love pizzas !!!

The Brooklyn Pizzeria, 33, bd Beaumarchais Paris 3éme you can still leave for Naples, thanks to this pizzeria which keeps the promise of 26 centimeters Neapolitan, cooked at 450 ° in a traditional oven, at unbeatable prices, even compared to Italian rates. Webpage :

The Daroco, 6, rue Vivienne Paris 2éme ,Ceiling 6 meters high, massive concrete columns, it is in this setting worthy of the Cinecittà that maestro Federico Schiavon and his Italian team awaken the pizza star. Webpage :

And Giorgio, 21, rue de Charonne Paris 11éme, Chez Giorgio, in a setting so vintage that you expect to see John Travolta appear, The dough is so soft and swollen that you have the impression that an airbag has been fitted on the plate! You will devour the homemade napoletana pizza ! Webpage :

The Salatim team has struck again! Already at the head of two gourmet institutions, it is preparing to open the Boulangerie du Sentier. It will offer the simple, the good, the timeless and the homemade, always with those little Israeli and Mediterranean influences that we love so much. An address that is likely to quickly get talked about, La Boulagerie du Sentier, 47 rue du Caire 2éme, métro Sentier line 3, the closest also bus 20 and 39, Now web new read it here first!

Lucky Folks! a stone’s throw from the Westfield Carré Sénart shopping center in Seine-et-Marne (77) an hour from Paris, Lucky Folks offers a whole new form of catering between good food, immersive decoration and fun. There is a brasserie cuisine made from 90% fresh produce served for lunch and dinner, 7 days a week. Offers its customers a whole series of unique games at the same time. Revisited electronic darts games (with metal darts and cameras that film the arrows, a real revolution on the market) to funky indoor pétanque (nightclub atmosphere with mirror ball) through karaoke, arcade terminals and the shuffleboard made in USA (unique in France), There is something to have fun before, after and even during dinner or a drink with friends. Lucky Folks immerses us in a very immersive setting where we find, in particular, an ax throwing wall, dabbing cars, clairvoyance balls and even a big lucky wheel that allows you to win many prizes. The icing on the cake: a board games bar is also integrated into the restaurant with more than 300 board games in free access and animators (called lucky masters) at your service to give you valuable advice. And the space is absolutely gigantic: 250 seats inside, 90 seats on the terrace and a huge beer garden equipped with wooden tables, candles and outdoor games to immerse ourselves in this Berlin atmosphere that we love so much, yes!!! Lucky Folks, Westfield Carré Sénart, 5-7 Trait d’Union – 77127 Lieusaint, Open every day from noon, webpage:

And last, voilà news to you ? Nahh,,, Parisians and others, like to say that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. And for good reason, it is one of the most popular destinations in the world. Known for its iconic monuments, world-renowned museums and mouth-watering cuisine, the City of Light is also infamous for … its dirty streets. In the city, there are more than 5 million rats ! , that’s two per Parisien ! Worse still, no less than 10 million cigarette butts are thrown into public spaces every day, not to mention mattresses and other furniture left on the sidewalk. According to an Ifop poll, no less than 84% of residents consider the city dirty in 2021. They were already 82% in 1974 to make the same observation mind you !. Among the solutions to which respondents adhere are : Make people pay fines who dirty comes first with 61% of votes. One in two people also demand that the workforce and resources be reinforced in the city, and 22% want the city to multiply street wastebaskets. Another unexpected measure: 21% of Parisians want to eliminate pigeons !!! Poor beasts. Not sure whether they are responsible for the overturned trash cans, strewn cigarette ends and dog poop on the sidewalk …yeah !! So when walking be careful stay alert Paris is overall dirty,,,And even the Le Point journal says is 92% dirty according to its readers ,,,article April 2021 webpage:

And the city of Paris has an app to report dirty streets too, call Dansmarue (or in my street) webpage:

There you go folks, another dandy some news from France! Reporting live from yours truly, the truth and nothing but the truth of my belle France. Hope you enjoy the post as I…And remember, happy travels,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

October 1, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLIIII

And its time to tell you about some news from France, my regular news bulletins of what I think are best to tell. We are now in the Fall season and temps beginning to come down all over France. The vaccin drome complex are beginning to be closed like the Stade de France north of Paris. And the beat goes on,,,Here are my latests !

As usual the great Paris public transport network goes thru some interruptions for the weekend of 2-3 October 2021; and this is not over folks it will continue into Winter, I always recommend people checking ahead for this, As I have friends coming over in December to Paris, I have already alerted them to check in on last minutes changes.

RER B. Due to the many construction sites that are continuing in the northern sector of line B, traffic will be interrupted all weekend between Aulnay-sous-Bois and terminal 2 at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle. A substitute bus service is in place. RER C. Trains connecting Juvisy to Versailles Chantiers and Pont de Rungis to Massy-Palaiseau are canceled on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to setting up substitute buses, a strengthening of regular bus lines is planned. Sunday evening, the entire southern branch will be stopped from the Orsay museum station. RER D. Watch out for the stops canceled this Sunday. From 22h50, the RER trains heading towards Melun or Corbeil-Essonnes will not serve Créteil-Pompadour and Villeneuve-Triage stations. Replacement buses are being put in place.

For the Transilien network: Line K. Traffic is suspended, all weekend long and in both directions, between Mitry-Claye in Seine-et-Marne and Gare du Nord. Users can go to the “east” branch of the RER B which makes the same journey and operates normally. Line L. No train will run, Saturday and Sunday, on the sections between Saint-Lazare on the one hand and La Défense and Maisons-Laffitte (Yvelines) on the other. Traffic on the rest of line L will be normal except between Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche and Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine) where trains will be canceled, from 22h to 7h, overnight from Saturday to Sunday . Line R. Like last week, line R will terminate at Melun in Seine-et-Marne, Saturday and Sunday. Trains to Montargis and Montereau are canceled and replaced by buses serving all intermediate stations.

Metro Line 4. Continuation of automation work. Like every Sunday, line 4 will only open to travelers from noon. It will work normally on Saturday. The Tramways; T1. Due to modernization work, the trams no longer stop at Escadrille Normandie-Niemen, Marché Saint-Denis, Hôpital Delafontaine and Courneuve 6 routes stations. T4. Beware of extended travel times this Saturday morning. Before 5h, the T4 line trams are replaced by buses. Allow 15 minutes more than by tram between Aulnay-sous-Bois and Bondy in Seine-Saint-Denis.

And on the road: pedestrian Champs-Élysées. Like every first Sunday of the month, the Champs-Élysées sector and almost all of Paris-Centre (the first 4 arrondissements) are added to the districts of the “Paris breathes” Sunday pedestrianization plan. This Sunday, from 10h to 17h, motor vehicle traffic will be completely prohibited on the Champs-Élysées and only reserved for motorists with an exemption in the hypercentre. And the beat goes on, Paris will be super crowded!!

This Saturday, from 19h to 02h, you can wear your hiking boots and set off on one of the three GR75 routes. More than 100 events are scheduled for the 20th edition of Nuit Blanche. The theme – art and sport – imposes its rhythm and its style. Anquetil (in the Bois de Vincennes) or the Georges-Vallerey swimming pool (20éme arrondissement), major Olympic sites of 1900 and 1924. Start at the Hôtel-de-Ville square. Obviously, you have to start with the meeting place at Place de l’Hotel-de-Ville. From 19h to 20h, this is the last moment to see Christo’s runaway on the Arc de Triomphe. It will be dismantled the day after the Nuit Blanche. The exhibition at the city’s Modern Art Museum presents for the first time commissions from five young artists who won the 2nd edition of the 1% Art Market Prize. The Carnavalet Museum provides a setting for a performance by an artist choreographer. The Centre Pompidou will be completely open with lighting on the facade. Finally, go to Church Saint-Eustache to witness the song of the whales, a video and hologram installation. Other churches put on their own performances. Nuit Blanche begins at 19h, especially with the opening of museums. Everything is free. But unlike in years past, Nuit Blanche does not last until the end of the night. The program will end at 02h, in order to respect the metro schedule.

And traditions ends again at Tati,sadly. In Barbès, nostalgic customers came to say “one last goodbye” to Tati. Between wave in the soul and buying fever, the last customers looked for good deals in the almost empty shelves of the historic store in the 18éme arrondissement in this last day before the final closing. Before lowering its curtain forever, the emblematic store of Barbès-Rochechouart, welcomed this past Thursday, the day of definitive closure, its last customers from all walks of life….

In addition to the behind-the-scenes film immersion with Rex Studios, the big Rex now also offers an escape game called “Save the Cinema”, designed by Team Break. Their mission: to stop the infernal machine hidden in the bowels of the mythical institution of the Grands Boulevards, which is causing the great classics of the 7th art to disappear one after the other. Grand Rex 1, rue Poissonnières (2éme arrondissement). Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and every day during school holidays, from 13h to 19h. From 2 to 7 players. From 10 years old. Price: from 23 euros. Information on the Le Grand Rex website:

The Société du Grand Paris is opening 40 supermetro work sites to the public on October 16 2021. But better not to wait to book. At the half-time of its course, this titanic project, which began 5 years ago and whose first commissioning is scheduled in less than 5 years, needs to show the backdrop. The baptism of a tunnel boring machine and the closing of an important stage in the progress of the structural work. The next, the “KM9” will take place on the evening of October 16, in Massy (Essonne dept 91). There is no need to register there. Meet on site in front of 241 avenue du Maréchal Leclerc in Massy at 18h Webpage:

This Sunday, October 3,2021, an exceptional sale of three works by François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne, created for the European Center for Permanent Education (Cedep), and never seen by the general public, is being organized. The possible exhibition before the sale allows everyone to discover the work of these artists from Seine-et-Marne, of international renown. Claude Lalanne had produced in 1969 “The Man with the Head of Cabbage”, a sculpture which inspired Serge Gainbourg to title a song and an album. Her husband François-Xavier had created an egg-shaped bar for fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent. Did you know that this couple of artists from Seine-et-Marne, rather original and of international renown, had made three sculptures installed in a campus of Fontainebleau, out of sight! For the first time, the public will be able to discover them in the park of the campus of the European Center for Continuing Education (Cedep), next to Insead, before their auction this Sunday, October 3.2021.webpage:

Ten years after an aborted first project in Bussy-Saint-Georges , Costco France is back in Seine-et-Marne. The American brand will finally finalize its installation in the eastern part of the Ile-de-France region, around mid-November in Pontault-Combault. In the meantime, the hard discounter opened its first store in France in 2017, in Villebon-sur-Yvette (Essonne 91 ), where 165,000 membership cards were issued. Already a success. We hope to have four to six Costco’s in Ile-de-France, at all cardinal points around Paris, ”said Gary Swindells, president of Costco France. And there you go folks, our Costco is now fully growing in France, hoping to come by Bretagne soon! webpage:

The Palace of Versailles: more than twenty years after the storm, the allée de Saint-Cyr is back with its trees, 450 oaks have just been planted in the gardens of the castle that the storm of 1999 had ravaged. Thanks to sponsorship, the palace is definitely turning this dark page in its history. The Allée de Saint-Cyr, one of the axes leading from l’Étoile Royale (Royal Star) of the Palace of Versailles, has been given a facelift. 450 trees were planted in four symmetrical rows, recreating a long-lost perspective. Beautiful will need to see!

The bicentenary of Napoleon’s death, commemorated in 2021 (not my favorite historical figure as was an imperialist dictator), highlights the tourist route that bears his name, between Golfe-Juan, in the Alpes-Maritimes, and Grenoble. The Napoleon route revolves around the stages that were those of the “flight of the Eagle”. The stèle, plaques and monuments that can be admired faithfully mark its passage. On the other hand, the actual route of the road deviates in several places from that actually followed by Napoleon in 1815, for example in the beautiful hairpin bends that precede Seranon [Alpes-Maritimes]. The idea of ​​naming the RN 85 “Route Napoléon” was launched in 1913 by a priest from the Var, but it was not until 1932 for the creation of the label. Today, the network of “imperial towns” founded at the initiative of Rueil-Malmaison [Hauts-de-Seine] in 2011; where La Malmaison is located, emblematic home of the Napoleon-Joséphine de Beauharnais couple, continues to develop. . Napoleon has become a real tourist brand. The Imperial cities webpage:

And a webpage in French on the Route Napoléon:

From Monday, September 27, 2021 , the RER C will unveil its Paris Museums Train with wagons completely redecorated with works by Parisian institutions. In its Parisian portion, the RER C serves several emblematic museums of the capital such as the Petit Palais at the Invalides stop, the Cognacq-Jay museum in Saint-Michel Notre-Dame, the Maison de Victor Hugo in Austerlitz or the museum of ‘Modern art of Paris at the Champs-de-Mars Eiffel Tower and Pont de l’Alma. To pay tribute to its great institutions and the treasures they contain, the interior of a train on the RER C line will be entirely filmed with works. In each of the trains, you will be able to admire the creations of Amedeo Modigliani, Robert and Sonia Delaunay or even Raoul Dufy. A real journey into masterpieces. The city of Paris Museums webpage:

In Mid-2022, cars should be definitively banned from the Butte Montmartre … This is the wish of the socialist city/town hall of the 18éme arrondissement, as part of the “Embellish Paris” project, and the candidacy of the hill as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Paris tourist office on Montmartre:

And last but not least, far from imagining that rapper Maître Gims would one day launch his own pizzeria. Well there you go, it’s done: Fya Pizza has just popped up, with the possibility of delivery on Deliveroo. Location the dandy 18 Avenue du Président Kennedy, 16éme arrondissement, right under the pont Bir Hakeim. Deliverioo (meal delivery site) webpage:

There you go folks, a dandy of news from beautiful Paris and France, can’t beat the one-two punch! Hope you enjoy it as I.

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

September 16, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLIII

The most favorite monument of the French was unveiled in a special program presented by Stéphane Bern on France 3, while the 38th European Heritage Days are taking place this weekend 18-19 sept 2021). Built between 1751 and 1755, Place Stanislas has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, for the whole it forms with the Place de la Carrière and the Place of Alliance which extend it. It was previously open to traffic, before being made fully pedestrianized in 2005 for its 250th anniversary after two years of construction. And you thought there are other monuments, this is voted by the French! The complete ranking is this:1 Place Stanislas in Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle 54 ) 2 – The Château de Falaise (Calvados 14 ) 3 – The Towers of La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime 17) 4 – The Pont-Canal in Briare (Loiret 45) 5 – The Theater antique d’Orange (Vaucluse 84) 6 – The Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune (Côte-d’Or 21) 7 – The Château de Pierrefonds (Oise 60) 8 – The Pont du Gard (Gard 30) 9 – The railway rotunda of Chambéry (Savoie 73) ) 10 – The Caillebotte Property in Yerres (Essonne 91) 11 – The Balata Garden in Fort-de-France (Martinique 972) 12 – The ramparts of Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine 35) 13 – The Citadel of Bonifacio and the Staircase of the Roy d’Aragon (Corse-du-Sud 2A) 14 – Passage Pommeraye in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique 44)

Marks & Spencer closes more than half of its stores in France because of Brexit, The British brand Marks & Spencer is forced to reduce its presence in France and in Europe. Eleven stores are affected. It continues to downsize, more than 140 stores have been closed around the world over the past two years.

Quinze.bis, a multidisciplinary concept store divided into several spaces. 550 m2 dedicated “to words and writing”, spaces curated by Gibert booksellers and highlights, meetings and dedications are therefore announced. There will also be the Music Store, a music space designed with the Balades Sonores record store, which provides a precise selection to complete the general offer. The stationery / gifts area has been revised to highlight “French, artisanal, eco-responsible or ethical brands that do not yet have physical stores Quinze.bis 15bis, boulevard Saint-Denis 2éme opens September 30 2021.

Next weekend Sept 18-19 2021 are Heritage Days, so little-known treasures to discover in Ile-de-France and in the regions, For example, Viry-Châtillon (Essonne 91). Behind the gates of the Piédefer estate, hides the Nymphaeum, or shell cave, a jewel from the end of the 17C, The Beauvaisis steam train is a metric-gauge tourist railway created by the Museum of steam tramways and of the French secondary railways (MTVS) on part of the old line from Saint-Omer-en-Chaussée to Vers. More on the Heritage Days or journées du Patrimoine here:

The Nuit Blanche 2021, artistic-sport hiking version of the program of the 20th edition of the Parisian meeting, scheduled for October 2 to 3 2021, The artistic walk will take place on the Grande Randonnée trail around Paris, and will be followed, for the first time, an exhibition across the city. This will start from the Trocadéro !

The first rail line of the Aéroport-d’Orly metro station is welded. A sympathetic and decisive step was taken this past Wednesday morning for the creation of the future station for lines 14 and 18, which will link Orly airport to Paris , Orsay (Essonne 91) and Versailles (Yvelines 78), Also, “Céline”, the first tunnel boring machine on line 18, will dig 6 km between Palaiseau and Massy, ​​it was necessary to dig a 14-meter-deep case and extract 23,000 tonnes of backfill. Officially named, the tunnel boring machine will begin its nibbling work around November 15. Before that, the second tunnel boring machine, the one that “Céline” is to join in Massy, ​​will be baptized in a month, on October 16, during the open doors of the Grand Paris express. And it will start digging the 6 km from Massy towards Orly airport in mid-December 2021, More expansion more people using public transports into Paris !

While around thirty French territories have chosen to opt for free public transport, Paris has just made the metro and Vélib free for all people under the age of 18. This new measure will be exclusively reserved for young Parisians residing in the capital and having a Navigo Imagine’R and / or Vélib ’Métropole“ V-Plus Jeune ”mechanical package. To obtain the free Navigo pass, all you need to do is fill out a form on the City of Paris website. The request will then be processed within a few weeks. Webpage:

And for the low cost traveler in you, good news, From October 31, 2021, Ryanair will offer two return flights per week (Thursday and Sunday) between Brest-Bretagne airport and Lisbon (Portugal). Check out the airport webpage or Ryanair.

And your friendly French taxpayer is awakening as Ile-de-France Mobilités, the transports arm of the Ïle de France region has suspended the payments to the SNCF and RATP ! Without the 1.3 billion claimed from the State (our taxes), Île-de-France Mobilités believes that it will have to give up certain infrastructure works and orders for rolling stock, reduce the supply of transport, or even increase the price. Navigo oh well this is the new Paris.

Since August 1, 2021 for non-resident motorists in Paris, the hourly rate in the street has increased to 6 euros in zone 1 and 4 euros in zone 2. In some districts, it is more interesting to park in the underground parkings in Paris. Paris is by far the city in France where parking your vehicle in the street is the most expensive. Since August 1, the city has introduced rates that are dissuasive to say the least. For visitors, it now costs 6 euros per hour in zone 1 (from the 1éme to the 11éme arrondissement) and 4 euros per hour in zone 2 (from the 12éme to the 20éme). As for the “FPS”, the post-parking package, that is to say the fine set for non-payment or exceeding the time, it is now set at 50 euros or 75 euros, depending on the area. Be aware the idea is to get the car out of Paris indirectly but this will fail too, can’t cover the volume with the ageing public transports network.

The inauguration of the Johnny Hallyday esplanade began with the inauguration of the statue ,The 6-meter-high statue represents a pole in the shape of a guitar neck, with a Harley Davidson at the top that belonged to Johnny in front of the Accor Arena (ex Bercy) and ends with an exceptional show in his favorite hall, (ex-Bercy) started at 10h20 in front of Bercy with a mini-concert bringing together the last five musicians of Johnny Hallyday, including Yarol Poupaud (guitarist) and Yvan Cassar (sound director of symphonic albums) , joined by 150 bikers and their motorcycles, some of whom had escorted Johnny’s coffin to the Madeleine on December 9, 2017, for the funeral. And at 21h, on the stage of Bercy, the concert “Johnny Hallyday that I love you” will begin, in front of 10,000 fans and live on France 2 television (saw it!!). Organized by his widow, this show aligns headliners such as Florent Pagny, Patrick Bruel, Catherine Ringer, Louis Bertignac, Calogero, Gaëtan Roussel, Patrick Fiori, Julien Doré, etc.

As a side kick, the Johnny’s Bar opens its doors this past Tuesday, September 14 next to the arena, perfect for a drink while toasting in memory of our national Johnny. Ultra comfortable leather sofas, subdued lighting, terrace, rock and stage music to host lives and, of course, flowing alcohol; good taps, excellent whiskeys and a menu of our Johnny’s favorite cocktails. To be enjoyed while singing its greatest aperitif hits until the end of the night. It can even be accessed without a ticket for the concerts in the hall. It is at the heart of L’ACCOR Arena that we discover the new homage to Johnny Hallyday: an eponymous intimate bar with a well-filled whiskey menu, one of Jojo’s favorite spirits served in a room where he has played over a hundred times. A winning combination. Johnny’s Bar, ACCOR Arena, 8, boulevard de Bercy 12éme, webpage :

The new Bouillon Pigalle à République for the greatest pleasure of your taste buds. 160 years after the creation of the first Parisian bouillon, they are still there in the districts of Pigalle, Grand Boulevards or Strasbourg-Saint-Denis, all of Paris is in a hurry to devour good French cuisine while enjoying the conversations of neighbors. Luckily, a new kid is settling in today in the République district. Bouillon Pigalle République 39, boulevard du Temple 3éme

For the first time in France, a history museum traces chronologically and thematically the history of the persecution of gays and lesbians under the Third Reich, drawing on a rich selection of documents, most of which have never been presented in France. Gays and lesbians in Nazi Europe at the Shoah Memorial, 17, rue Geoffroy -Asnier ; from the 4-6 March 2022 Info webpage;

There you go folks, another dandy series of some news from France from yours truly, a pleasure all the time to talk about my belle France! Hope you enjoy the post and again thanks for reading me since November 2010!!

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

September 14, 2021

The Church Saint Nicolas of Maisons Laffitte!

And I bring you back to my old dept Yvelines no 78 west of Paris in the same region of Ïle de France. This was a gem that I came first for the wonderful gourmand store in Longueil (see post). After getting to the town, I found out the wonderful castle and the church. Again , the castle (see post). I figure need to do justice and tell you about the Church Saint Nicolas of Maisons-Laffitte. Hope you enjoy this update as I


First , a bit about the town of itself. Maisons-Laffitte is located 10 km from Saint-Germain-en-Laye and 18 km from Paris. The town is on the left bank of the Seine river, and adjacent to the forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The territory, also encompasses part of an island of the Seine, l’île de la Commune. The town borders the towns of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as well as about 800 meters bordering Achères-and the Mesnil-Le-Roi. It is separated by the Seine river from Sartrouville and Cormeilles-en-Parisis. The train line of Paris-Saint-Lazare to Le Havre get you here, as well as the RER A Transilien line L trains. However, I always came by car here,

And the feature presentation:  the Church Saint Nicolas is at rue de la Muette, and was built from 1867 to 1872 on the grounds of one of the old cemeteries, offered by the city. This church originally was built in the 12C as evidenced by the base of the bell tower, it will be renovated in the 13C and then enlarged in the 15C when a side-aisle addition to the south. It is disaffected in 1897 and the use is granted to firefighters who will serve as their barracks. They will do the drilling and modification of certain bays. Restored nowadays it now serves as a show room for entertainment, and local events.


The first Lords of Maisons built a church dedicated to St. Nicolas. Around 1087, Geoffroy 1er gave the Church of Maisons to the Abbey of Coulombs located in the territory of Chartres. The latter installed a Benedictine Priory in the vicinity under the term Saint-Germain. The Romanesque style bell tower is probably from the 12C. At the end of the Hundred Years War the village and the Church were burned by the English. The nave was rebuilt and enlarged from a low-side whose style is characteristic of the 15C. In 1630, Vincent de Paul came to preach at Maisons. He erected a charity for the relief of the poor. The gallery and the work bench that we see on the engraving were only built in 1749. The two stained glass windows that illuminate the nave possessed stained glass from the early 16C depicting a crowned Virgin carrying the child Jesus and a Saint Nicolas. The altarpiece of the master altar is now in the sacristy of the Church St. Nicolas. The Church was decommissioned in 1897.


So therefore even if locals still call it a church,it is not used for religious services but rather as a cultural center to house temporary exhibits and events for the city of Maisons Laffitte. It is interesting to see this transformation.

 The city of Maisons Laffitte on its heritage

The Maisons Laffite tourist office

There you go folks, another dandy and in my old Yvelines ! It’s not a real functioning church! , nevertheless, equally important for its architecture in a very nice upscale city of the west of Paris. Enjoy the so call Church St Nicolas of  Maisons Laffitte.

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

September 8, 2021

My family trace in France, roots Français!!!

Well its about time I give some refresher to this old post and tell you all and especially my newest readers a bit more on my history, especially the French one. I have said my blog is a tracing of my life’s history all is here since birth. My family enjoys it and my sons hopefully will carry it on for the family memories. Let me tell you all proudly my family trace in France, racines Français!!! OF course, most of these towns have their separate post in my blog.

In the continuing saga of family roots and places of yesteryear and today and tomorrow, etc. Ok ,I will tell you about the roots =racines of my family in France, les frenchies as I call them ho ho ho (even if I am too since 2000). This will be of course, in my black and white series, no pictures. As you might know, sometimes when you have the chance to be in a gorgeous country and world acclaim like France, everybody tells you ,have you been there? like France is a miniature country and not aware of the enormous tourist potential here! Even the city of Versailles did a survey on visitors to the palace, found out 98% of them just visit the palace!! c’mon you don’t even go to see up the road ave de Paris the Menus Plaisir where the French constitution was written and now a wonderful baroque music conservatory is now there!! Well there you have it, we live here but cannot be everywhere, with time we will see everything; maybe, we will need good health too. Anyway, this is our roots here in France with a bit on each place. Hope you enjoy knowing the French….. Welcome to the French Republic or the République Française or France!

The wonderful museum of the Great War in the country of Meaux dedicated to the WWI (the Great War is how it is known here the First World War), and especially to the two battles of the Marne (1914 and 1918), opened in 2011. Meaux is crossed by the road N3, old royal road also known as the Germany way. The N3 is ,also, link to the expressway /Autoroute A4 passing south of the city and arriving at Meaux by the A140. Meaux is a town of Art and HIstory designation and a four flower label as a flower town of France. The navigation of the Marne river is authorize by boat/peniche and other motor boats with a wonderful pleasure harbor marina, sailing, Canoë/Kayak club. Meaux has a river beach and is one of the rare town to have swimming in the Marne river. The historical spectacle of Meaux,held during June, July, August, and September in the gallo roman ramparts is magnificent way to see life in the middle ages done by actors; check for official days;see the wonderful episcopal city which includes the St Stephen Cathedral or Cathédrale Saint-Étienne built in the 12-15C and the Episcopal palace built in the 12-16C including the museum Bossuet , the old palace of canons of the Cathedral and the old chapter in the jardin Bossuet, 17C, and the ramparts garden credited to André Le Nôtre , etc etc, really a wonderful town. My dear late wife Martine was born in Meaux, forever in my memory. RIP

Meaux , of course is in departément 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the region of Île-de-France. Old capital of the Brie region, the Meldes were celts made their Lantinum their capital. After the Roman conquest the name of Meldes still exist and the town takes the name of Meldis. The Christianism is preached to the Meldes in the 3C by Saint Denis and his successor Saint Saintin was the first bishop of Meaux. During the WWI Meaux was the theater of the first Battle of the Marne. The old bridge over the Marne was destroyed to stop the advance of the Germans. the combats around the town of Meaux or the pocket of Meaux during this first battle of the Marne between August 30 and September 12 1914 was furious; there were battles known as the Ourcq and Marais de Saint-Gond were huge within the overall Battle of the Marne. The liberty in tears by the American Frederick MacMonnies, better known as the American Monument or the monument of Varreddes was a huge statue of 22 meters high, erected in 1932 on the road leading to the town of Varreddes and also Chambry was done in the memory of the French fallen during the first Battle of the Marne. The monument was done on the forward advance line of the Germans in their drive to Paris in 1914.

The city of Meaux on its heritage:

The Meaux country tourist office:

My wife’s mother or my mother-in-law was born here in Villenoy, a small town in the département 77 or Seine-et-Marne , in the region of Île-de-France. The town is bordered by the Marne river on the southeast side of the canal de l’Ourcq passes by it. The road I took many times and still do as it has no tolls or péage is the N3 passing to the north of the town. The name of the town was first noticed in the 7C on a will and last testament of Aldegonde of Maubeuge,that the town belong at the time part of the abbey of Maubeuge. In the 12C , the bishop of Meaux creates a parish and the first Church was built.The Church of Sainte-Aldegonde rebuilt in the 17C. At the end of March 1814, the town had combats just around it and inside the town when the Russians entered Meaux. The biggest battles took place in the quarter of faubourg Cornillon in Meaux. The war of 1870, caused heavy damaged to the town and lots of requisitions. There is a anti aircraft bunker that could house hundreds and built between 1938 and 1940, restored in 2013. It was designed to protect the personnel of the sugar factory nearby in the parc de l’Hôtel-de-Ville.

The city of Villenoy on its heritage:

The mother in law lived in Chambry, and another sister too (the step father lives there now, the father figure I knew as bio father passed away when wife was 10). Another town in the département 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the région of Île-de-France. There is a legend that town was given by Jules Ceaser to one of his legionaries in the 1C , with the first mention of the town dates from the 12C. The town was the scene of heavey combat during the famous battle of the Ourcq (September 1914), that was part of the bigger conflict in the area of the Battle of the Marne. You have a monument known as the Four Roads built in 1915 on ordered of general Galliéni dedicated in memory of the soldiers of the Paris army that won this battle It is a national necropolis with a French cemetary as well as a German cemetary (1918). You have the St Peter and St Paul Church or Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul, from the 15C, damaged in 1940 and restored after 1944. Well I joked with in laws, that Julius Ceaser did indeed past by here because there is not much all surrounded by wheat fields. The city hall is Mairie de Chambry, 10, rue de la Ville 77910 Chambry.Tel +33 (0)1 64 34 04 77 no webpage! It has less than 1K folks! My mother-in-law passed away last November 2020. RIP

Then, nearby there is a sister at Étrépilly. A national neocropole with tombs and ossuaries of the fallen in WWI fallen while the battle around Étrépilly in 1914. During the Battle of the Ourcq, September 7 1914 ,the 2e Regiment of Zouaves were here and were stop the charge before the cemetary where the German were in trenches during the charge half the men felled together with their commanding officer lieutenant-coronel Dubujadoux. You can see the St John the Baptist Church or Saint-Jean-Baptiste. The city hall is at Mairie 4 Place Christian de Bartillat 77139 Etrepilly, Tél: +33 (0) 1 64 36 61 19 ; of course no webpage; of course another town with less than 1K folks!

Another sister lives at Chauconin-Neufmontiers also of course in the département 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the région of Île-de-France. The first mention of the town of Chauconin was shown in texts of the 8C under the name Coconiacum ,with the town of Neufmontiers, was shown from the 13C created by the abbots of Saint Faron in Meaux, which has now no trace, the fusion of the two towns was done in 1972 as Chauconin-Neufmontiers. The Battle of the Ourcq as known here the Battle of the Marne bigger theater. The Saint Saturnin Church or Saint-Saturnin de Chauconin,built in the 16-17C. In the 18C the relics of an old Church in the village nearby were transfered to the current Church. This Church serves as an example of the change from gothic to renaissance styles. The Church of Saint-Barthélemy de Neufmontiers, 20C served as a hospital in the first Battle of the Marne in WWI, September 5-13,1914. Jeanne d’Arc passed by Chauconin on her way to Reims by the road we now call the road of Reims that goes from Chauconin towards Crégy-lès-Meaux. Painter Maurice Utrillo painted the the burning farm of Chauconin or « La ferme incendiée à Chauconin, near Meaux where the Church of Chauconin appears in the background within the context of WWI.

The city of Chauconin-Neufmontiers on its heritage:

A younger brother lives at Nanteuil-lès-Meaux a town as well in department 77 of Seine-et-Marne in the region of Île-de-France. The Marne river marks the northern limits of the town. Here you have a protestant temple built in 1827. This one was a replacement to one built in the village of Chermont around 1570 and destroyed after the enactment of the edit of Nantes in 1685, one of the first ones built in France at the end of the 16C. Nanteuil-lès-Meaux becomes the Capital of Protestant Briard following the disappearance of the Cénacle of Meaux. there is, also, the Saint Georges Church of the 18C.

The city of Nanteuil-les-Meaux on its heritage :

Let’s go south! to Lavaur, where my wife’s bio father was born, a town in the département 81 of the Tarn,in the region of Occitanie. Located in a triangle of Albi, Toulouse, and Carcassonne. The town is on the borders of the Agout river,on the hills of the cocagne country. On the east north east of Toulous ,south of Gaillac and west of Castres. It is seen written for the first time in 1025 and by 1035 as a enclosed town. By 1065, there was written a constitution of the Lavaur, given by the monks of the abbey of Sainte-Foy of Conques. In 1098, it was built the Saint Alain Church in a prairie offered by the monks of the abbey of Saint-Pons of Thomières, by Isarn, bishop of Toulouse. You have here now the Saint Alain Cathedral built 13-15C with the only jacquemart in the southwest of France. The Bishop’s garden old French style gardens done by the bishop and renovated in the 19C in the English style. St Francis Church also known as the Cordeliers built in the 13-15C with a great organ of 1866. The Plô old site of the old Castle today gone, attached by the King by the consuls in 1622, and now arranged into a nice promenade later esplanade from the 17C. The tower or Tour des Rondes, one of the last remaining from the fortifications of the old town and today the tourist office. The monastery of Clarists founded in 1642 destroyed during the French revolution and restored in 1802; the current chapel from 1837 has a in a chase the body of Sainte Clémentine,a Roman Virgin and martyr discovered in one of the catacombs of Rome. The lavaur bridge in stone and cement over the Agout river built in 1773-1791, and the grains warehouse or Halle aux Grains, built in 1880. Her father passed away on a car accident on the road D87 between Lavaur and Gaillac , RIP, while attending his brother’s funeral on November 17 1968. Our twins boys were born November 17….

The city of Lavaur on its heritage:

There are still cousins at Montans , a town in the département 81 of the Tarn, in the region of Occitanie. You can reach it by the expressway/autoroute A68 exit or sortie 9 ,and the by the road N88.  The Gallois produce pottery here on the site of Montans and after the Roman occopation the town became one of the most important early on our era o the production of potteries. The findings are presented in the Archéosite de Montans, a museum and conservation center since opening in 1995 retracing the history of the prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. There is a gallo roman road in the principal street of Montans as well as a house of the ceramic worker where you can imagine life as it was in the 1C. All year round there are animations, events, demonstrations, expositions, shops and spectacles.

The town of Montans on its heritage:

Other cousins are still around/in Graulhet, also in the département 81 of the Tarn in the region of Occitanie. Located at the heart of the Tarn at equal distance from Castres and Albi in a valley parallel to the axis Toulouse-Albi but with no train station , and for the same reasons a bit on the distant of the roads such as A68 that links Toulouse with Albi,and do link by the D964 to Gaillac. The Roman presence here was big with evidence of a center gallo-romain. In 1166, Graulhet, been a lordship passes under the domain of the Counts of Toulouse.In 1484, again the lordship passes to the house of Amboise, due to the marriage of Hugues d’Amboise d’Aubijoux with Madeleine de Lescun d’Armagnac. You can still see here the Château de Lézignac, 17C, the old bridge built in 1244 ; the quaint medieval neighborhood of Panessac, narrow and with many mansions in wood embellished from the 16-17C . The wonderful Hostellerie du Lyon d’Or, a medieval mansion. Henri of Navarre, future king Henri IV, did a gourmand stop here. You can still see the Cross of Saint Andrew from the 15C on a nice facade with showing roman numerals on the wooden sides. The Church Notre-Dame-du-Val-d’Amour,which at its foundation you see a funeral stone of Louis d’Amboise d’Aubijoux, also the leather house or Maison des Métiers du cuir to visit the transformation of leather from the skin to the objects done with leather.

The city of Graulhet on its heritage:

And we go north or nord to the older brother at Caudry. The town is located in the south of the département 59 or Nord in the region of Hauts-de-France. Lots of fabrication of tulle and lace by mechanical means where the quality was crowned in the international exposition of Brussels in 1910. Caudry shares with Calais the title of the world Capital of lace of Calais design to go into high fashion garments. The town is ,also, named City of occupations and Arts in 1995. It is located about 14 km from Cambrai, and 62 km from Lille . It is south of the D643 road, the old N43 that links Cambrai with Charleville-Mézières. The origins of the town are not well known but it can be said goes back to the Merorvingians era as many passages mentioned the martyrdom of Maxellende. Caudry was anneexed to the kingdom of France by the treaty of Nimègue signed in 1678, after that taken of Cambrai by king Louis XIV in 1677. During WWI Caudry was occupied by German troops mostly all the war period ; entering the town in August 1914 with the city hall serving as HQ. The town was again occupied during WWII when the Nazis entered in May 1940; the town was liberated by an American 5th Armored Division on September 3, 1944. You can see here: Brasserie l’Union des Coopérateurs du Cambrésis, rue Charles-Gide ; Brasserie-malterie Lemaire et Defossez ,rue de Saint Quentin ; the industrial house of maison Dumont, built in 1947, rue Émile-Salembier. The laces museum or Musée caudrésien des dentelles et broderies in the factory of Théophile et Jean-Baptiste Carpentier, where the brick building dates from 1898. In its collections you can trace the history of the knitting machines. It does expositions and learning shops for the children. Caudry has an underground carved from chalk around the 10C to hide the population in times of needs. it was not known until discovered in 1847. The underground goes into three directions , the part under the rue de la Paix has 14 rooms and a a gallery at 13 meters deep and 74 meters long. In 1916-1917, caving of the land allowed the Germans to discovered a great part of it , and it was fitted as an ammunitions depot; while retreating in 1918 the German blew up the entrance and a part of the cave. The parish of Caudry is mentinoed since 1181 , and the Basilica of Sainte Maxdellende was done as the previous one was too small and was in bad shape. The new one was started in 1887, consecration in 1890 and was raised to basilica minor by a Papal briefing in 1991.

The city of Caudry on its heritage:

These are the towns we have been so many times, know them well, and after the years and the losses , many memories in them to remember forever. So now you know a bit about me and my French family in my belle France.

The Dept 77 Seine et Marne tourist office:

The Dept 81 Tarn tourist office:

The Dept 59 Nord tourist office:

There you go folks , a bit more of me , us in France. For the memories, for eternity ,for the blog, and to share with the world. Enjoy the reading as I did writing this post. Again, thank you for reading me since November 2010!

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

September 7, 2021

My new home of Pluvigner in the beautiful Morbihan !!!

This is something I wanted to update but had no time or idea how to do it, I will be get into a monumental task of writing about my town from early in my stay here in my loving Pluvigner, Most write about far away lands we visit but seldom about the one we live in, I have lived in 5 countries and citizen of 4, having visited 81 so far and all have an impact on my life, Needless, to say the meaning of Pluvigner.

I was thinking of updating some older posts, but then decided to condense them all into one, a bit long yes but it capture all my early running in Pluvigner as a reminder of happier times with the family, It all started September 8 2013 ! We moved in to our new own house near the main bourg or city center, You know how moving can be stressful even if done it a hundred times , However, this one was one of the easiest one or best once all the paperwork was in place all worked well.

The rants, after 12 days, I still didn’t had television because we have a forfait that includes TV, internet, telephone and cellular/mobile, all else works except the TV. Tired of calling customer service and the technical dept of Orange, we asked for a technician to come home at no charge. This is now for the 14 september, which if all goes well, we will have TV after 18 days!!! We finally have TV after a local tv repairmen took some live plug and replace those of Orange and bingo it works Vive la différence ! Just saying the only time we had this glitch happened here, In the meantime, all else goes very well, and we are all settled in with all boxes out, and all on display again.  Back to school for tries or stages to perfectioning of skills for the boys, and Dad is traveling again first to Paris for our company annual convention, and then to Indonesia, China and next month Vietnam !!!

The town we are now is call Pluvigner, same department of Morbihan 56, in fact only about 11 kms from where we were, but a much bigger home. 255 sq meters of home and 1000 m2 of land!!! The house is great, we will do some adjustment to our convenience but no major works needed. Oh yes for those over the pond, the 255 M2 is about 2745 sq feet, and a land space of 1000 M2 is about 10 760 sq feet, a nice patio !! It has 4 brms, 2 baths, office space (which also serves as the entertainment center or game room) , attic complete, covered garage for 3 cars; and an enclosed veranda as well as an open air terrace. Also, full tiled finished basement. All the land is fence in and wonderful quiet neighbors, too quiet for me we talk once in a long while.  The house is 300 meters from the bus stop, and about 400 meters from downtown or city center, on the crossroad of a road took me to my job in 35 minutes by car. We have huge supermarkets at 800 meters, and smaller grocery stores, and all amenities including the post office in 400 meters. All our neighbors are single home with big houses and land. Also, a huge sports complex with all the trimming out and in spaces.


Pluvigner is a town of about 7500 people crisscross by many departamental roads such as the D16, D102,D133 ,D102 and the dept wide D768 going to the beaches of Carnac and Quiberon. About 40 kms (25 mi) from Quiberon and 14 km from Auray. It is about 35 km from the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Morbihan ,and near the bigger cities of Vannes (34 km), Pontivy (37,5 km), Lorient (37,5 km) and Auray (14 km).  Walking and bike rides are very popular here and great forests around us such as those of Camors and Floranges. Pluvigner has a total of 8 283 hectares (20467 acres) of territory with several villages around it and part of it such as Bieuzy-Lanvaux and Malachappe, and many more smaller. I was told by the brother of our mayor that is about the same land area as Marseille !!

Some of our moments in town !

We had our first walk in town today and we just came back in 20 minutes to see all of city center, very compact.  Quiet Sunday of course, all closed ! But we even have a tourist office attached to the mayor’s office !!! A very historical town with 8 castles, and 19 chapels 2 churches, amongst other goodies all around the area encomprising Pluvigner. I will have some  photos of it and will need to really start getting to know the town in the next few weeks, months,and years.  Its a country living ,totally change of pace for me, and just training ground for the retirement still years away,, and I did !!! Today is really when everything works and we can call it our real first day in our new home. So ,this weekend will be ,also, our first free of worries about administrative crap. My sons will begin a new job next week ,and so we are on for the last part of the year. I just past another milestone as it was my birthday and my sons gave me a refrigerated wine cellar as gift,nicely neat to keep those bottles cool !!! (it lasted until recently aug2021! So 8 yrs.


We went out for getting to know what’s in town and of course eating out is one of our hobbies, at least when the family was intact, The highlight was to try Poull Houard restaurant, (which has since closed but here for the memories),   It was right in city center, at 23 Place Chazelles , this is just diagonally to the town’s main Church of Saint Guigner, and just after the main Place du Marché. We had the Italian dinner menu on Sundays, st jacques in penne and pasta sauce, pissaladière, tiramisu ,and plenty of Duck’Ale home brew beer by the bottle.there was, also, pizzas, escalopes de veau jambon avec figues or ham veal with stuffed figs, and scoops of ice cream, etc. All good ,and all about 20 euros per person.Nice

Later in the afternoon, I went out with the wife to search for the Chapelle de la Miséricorde (see post); it is a chapel from 1600; as there are many around here and I am just beginning to know my new area; slow by the business travels and house work. See post, We pick our wonderful in town castle of Rimaison who we had walk and peek on it but never Inside, this time not only Inside but we ate there lunch at the Créperie de Rimaison; (see post) the place is a castle in ruins that was transfer all here in about 1960, and now its own by a family from Vannes for the last 17 years and the créperie restaurant is open for 10 years. Very friendly ,nice, good food and good country pleasant folks, plus you eat in a castle !!!  You can walk thru the front but we came by car ho ho ho! and went on the back side on rue de Landaul, parking Inside the castle. You then walk to the creperie, as the castle part of it is where the owner lives, and the other is the event rental areas, and the chapel where you can book dinner events. We have eaten here several times one of our favorites in town, Update the property is for sale 1,4M euros if interested lol !

We had patronise another one memorable place the Créperie de Vorlan , The first time there, a young lady came to serve us and then another and then the owner Jean-Noêl (because was born on Christmas day), and it turns out he is a native of the same town as my wife !!! Meaux in Seine et Marne dept77 of the brie cheese , mustard of Meaux fame, and now close to the action of Disneyland Paris as well as the new museum on WWI! yes! and not only that ,but he had lived in Auvergne ,near where my step father in law is from lol!! Welcome to the family !! (the business was sold and left new owners with similar menu now and we had try it ok). Here, we also have been several times and even celebrated my father’s 81 ! and then my sons too, They do it twice a month on Sundays, a Breton dish call Rost Er Forn, Breton for roasted pig in oven. We are on for it, complete dinner of the pig 300 grams, entrée, dessert, 1/4 wine for 18€ nice.

Then, we headed into the place St Michel in city center for the  US Loch Festival  showcasing American old cars, motos, and military vehicules with plenty of American flags, food,and rock concert all day long. They were given rides on the trucks, motos and cars as well which was a treat. We love it !



Well we have been here already eight years and even thus we missed Versailles (and who wouldn’t) the area has been fantastic and it has taken its roots on all of us already. The main Church St Guigner bears the name of the founder and was built in 1781 and later renovated last in 1932; Inside you will see the relics of Saint  Guigner and a statue of him. A historic feat was in January 23  1943,an American B-17 bomber plane already damaged by fire fell in town nearby Kéronic forest . Seven aviators were killed and 3 survived. Two stone monument were done in November 5 1994 in the presence of one of the survivors  Charles Roth. It is near the mayor’s office.

In remembering places we spent together as a family in Pluvigner and as we agreed we needed to know our town better, we head out for lunch to the Au Gout du Jour restaurant. This is a workers cantine open to the public as we are in an agricultural area, many come here to eat. Very French no tourists, and real chow from the country. And of course, who says France is expensive? only if you follow the travel guides written by foreigners, of course. At the Au Gout du Jour, you have very nice friendly folks where eaten is like a family and patrons know each other. The food changes every day but it is a long list of items. We had for entrée a plate of cold cuts and mussels in tomato sauce, then a turkey roll stuffed with hams and a dauphine sauce, later came a plate of cheeses from camembert to goats, to emmentale , follow by the dessert of a banana and coconut cake in an English sauce; of course all watch down with house red wine, lemonade, and water in a bottle! All for 11,50€ per person!!!

The idea of this simple morning walk in city center was to try finally , the  maître chocolatier of La Fondue de Chocolat. 3 rue de l’église, diagonally in front of the Church of Saint Guigner. This is a great shop and one we have come back often as we love chocolates. The store is smallish, but packed with all kinds and shapes of chocolate items, wines, liquors, pates, miel ;coffees, cookies, jellies and snacks from many leading producers even as far as Provence. However, the main thing is the chocolate. We purchase blocks of it dark and milk with different fruits mix in, as well as fruit bars, dry fruits, local roasted coffee, honey and jellies. The ballotin or box of mix chocolates freshly made on site by a master chocolatier is a treat to have this special weekend. And right in our little wonderful Pluvigner !

And we arrived at  Christmas 2016,  the magical day is starting, we all home, the we are me my wife, my father and my 3 boys; We had what I think is our first Christmas market or marché de Noël day today from 10h to 18H. We were there of course right from 16h30 onwards. all started by the Place du Marché where the traditional market is held every Saturday. All was nicely decorated, and plenty of kids games and several chalets with chichis (like churros) to hot wine stands, galette bretonne, and cider. We got our sweaters for winter here too !!! In the festivities ,there was a display of old Ducati’s motorcycles and cars including Ferrari, Porsches, Alpines and others quite nice as well as karting vehicles. Superbe, the boys love and Dad was right behind them !


I rolled forward the memories to Sunday April 23rd 2017. This is the first round of the  French presidential elections pitting 11 candidates from all sorts of thinking. I did my civic duty and voted, my first voting experience in town and it was great ! There is a second round with the two top winners from today, and the 2nd round will be Sunday May 7th. Just before another great 3 day weekend on May 8 is Victory 1945 Day here.

My place of voting is on the other side of town about 18 minutes walking from our house which we enjoy doing and did walk over to vote. The place is the Salle Marie-Josèphe LE BORGNE, a big complex for events and sports as well, We passed by our city/town hall or Hôtel de Ville /Mairie which is a nice modern building with Breton decoration.  Right across is the Maison de la Presse or news stand where my father plays the euro million lotto religiously and we sometimes.,,,

You will take a look at the gare routiére or bus terminal space where the boys took their bus no 5 TIM to move into the bigger towns around us ,now they are keolis network. Right across the street, is our Poste or post office building; very good for us that mail a lot abroad. Passing this, you see the Proxi supermarket where we get our last minute needs for convenience only 300 meters from the house. And just before it, the traffic circle on the road D768 corner with road D16 going home you see  Annie Coiffures , my Dad and boys gets their haircuts! I do my own boldie !!! The owner sold and now new owners and name Odyssée but same friendly service so we stay with them.

Finally, we reach the voting place salle  Marie J Le Borgne where I voted on the second tour. Doing the duty, we came back walking again, and past the Gendarmerie or national police with a far shot of the belltower of the Church St Guigner again.  The Gendarmerie is a plain white building, good when going on long periods they have the tranquility service that makes passes by your house. Coming back on rue St Michel, we passed our optician eyeglass maker Optic 2000 in town , for the whole family! You will see La Croix Blanche a fine restaurant/bar with hotel rooms great for an emergency in town.  Moving along, we passed by the Stadium bar, the center of sports watching karaoke in summer, and good cheers right across from the place St Michel and our market or marché square.

Another nice local business we patronise several times is the La Barcarella, brasserie, pizzeria and créperie all into one behind the Church St Guigner. All decorated with pirates and corsairs portraits trinkets and memorabilia that the owner has collected over time and purchase in flea markets! You have a dining room with the bar area and kitchen and then to the right as you entered another dining room. We had chorizo pizza and ham and cabbage, then galettes of chorizo, cheese and egg all wash down with La Goudale  local Breton draft beer, and desserts from banana splits to peach melba to coconuts shell etc. all for less than 16€! Great!

We patronise for our garden a lot and still do the Pluvigner motoculture shop for parts of lawn mowers garden equipment supplies that we use at home almost acre of land. Just across is the Jardinerie de Porh Mirabeau , route de Auray D768;  where we gathered some growing dirt and 3 plants for our front garden. And always a good advice on gardening that now we are nulle ! My dear late wife Martine was the expert.


And here we are on Christmas Eve 2017 amazing how times flies while having fun doing the blog lol! Today is cloudy cool at about 10C or 50F ,some light rain at times not now We had our Christmas Eve meal, Nochebuena, or Reveillon de Noël last night, and just got up at 10h on Christmas Day , December 25th 2017. Clouds are gray a bit dark, temp of 12C or about 53F ; it calls for rain tonight and tomorrow with temps from 5C/10C or 40-50F.  I have the double whammy of wedding anniversary tomorrow 26 December !!! And ,then , after all this ups I fall into a sad day on the 27th as it is the 10th anniversary of the passing of my loving Mother, always in my thoughts (she was and continue to be golden). It has been 14 yrs now Mom Gladys passed away, always will be remembered RIP.


I had to go by another dreadful moment in my life when my dear late wife Martine of 28 years passed away from cancer on April 30 2018 19h (7pm) at Chubert hospital in Vannes, Sad as we are without our dear late wife/mom Martine in our first Summer 2018 ,alone since 1989.

We had a wonderful National Day , Friday July 14 2018 (for those abroad old Bastille Day) with festivities all over France. It was highlighted by the visit of President Trump of the USA on behalf of President Macron of France to commemorate the centenary (100) anniversary of American entry into WWI or the Great War as known here, on the side of France. It was remarked their friendship has endure and will last forever,indeed since 1776.

A moment of reflection, As I move about in our world, running from city to city, region to region, and country to country it was hard to have dogs, Once settled in Florida USA circa 1985, my parents brought a small female dog mix coton,Yorkshire type which we name Maite, we love and raised since she was 2 weeks old. We got thru a friend and we did all on her, vets visits, and trips by car. Even hiding it in towels to get her into some of the hotels not allowing dogs. Well it was with us for almost 12 years before she left us at the time my first boy was born. Then, years later, we decided to have a dog again as my boys were older and wanted it too, We search all over on refuges, newspapers, dog shows etc until we saw an ad. advertising a puppy of 3 months mix border collier/labrador and something, nearby us in the town of Moustoir-AC along the road D16. We call, and there was one male remaining from the lot of 2+2 M/F. By this time he was 4 months old and mostly black. The family were dairy farmers and only wanted 30 euros for him!! We call we wanted the dog and they were very honorable folks who reserved the puppy for us just by telephone. We can only come to get him Saturdays and we made appointment to stop by on March 10 2018 at 15h (3pm), After to our amazement we call the folks again to confirm the dog was still available the couple spoked with us by telephone and confirm waiting for us And we rush to get the puppy at the farm in Moustoir-AC, we were late and call to let them know we were on our way and hold on to the puppy ,is ours! The folks were very nice and guide us to their farm. Here you need a lot more than GPS to get to some of these villages hamlets call lieu-dits here in French. Some are and some are not on GPS. We finally made it to the farm ok We have had the first veterinary appointment on Tuesday March 13 2018  at the cabinet that have been advising us on the purchase and steps all the way. They have been very strict and gentle to our questions and we kind of like them for that. They are right in Pluvigner not far from our local grocery shopping center, call  Clinique du Chêne. They have been our vet ever since and wonderful, We are now set for a wonderful homey feeling with our new member of the family, REX. We call him like that because my wife sees an Austrian, then Italian TV series on a dog call Rex (German Shepherd) . The series lasted until 2015 under Inspector Rex, We went to get Rex, our puppy male dog of 12,5 kg (25 lbs) Borador, mix Border Collier/Labrador Retriever.   It was time for his first grooming in our city center store Tou Beau Tou Propre ( now closed here for the memories as the first) at pl St Michel. They did a good job and he was super good. We came home to play with him and eat. Unfortunately closed early in 2021. Now we go to nearby Brec’h for Cani Couaf ,and two times and good so far.


A bit of history I like on my Plluvigner,

The first traces of humans here goes back several thousand years before Christ, and some instruments such as axes in polish stones  have been found back in 1982 in the village of  Talhouët. (open to the public)  The Gaul’s and predecessors were established here too building closures of two buildings, one circular and the other paramedic, tombs and fragments of pottery. The Romans were, also ,here and some traces left at Kerguy. In the 5C AD the Bretons came over the Manche to the today Brittany or Bretagne; accompanied by numerous monks and at this time Brittany is Christianize.  The parish of Pluvigner was founded in the 5C by Saint Guigner and his disciples coming from Ireland to evangelize the Armorica ,todays Brittany.  Saint Guigner born in Ireland known there under the name of Fingar, son of a king ; Saint Patrick that evangelize Ireland converts him Christian. The father upset that his son abandon paganism chase him out to the point of having to leave Ireland. Here in Armorica he takes the name of  Guigner. According to the legend he landed at Pluvigner and found the monastery of Moustoir around 445. Around the year 450 his father died, and Guigner goes there to renounce his heritage and the crown of his father; in Great Britain, he tries to evangelize the Jutes, Anglos, and Saxons that occupied a great territory and were pagans. He built up an expedition of missionaries to land at Cornouaille around 455 with 770 men. The Jutes and Anglos led by a chief named Hengist, massacre Saint Guigner and his troops. He martyred here and the town bears his name in Breton language, Plu is parish and Vigner is a contraction of Guigner so therefore Pluvigner. It is Pleuwigner in Breton!

There you go folks, a bit long post but condensing several older posts on my town of Pluvigner, Another historical town for us , already 8 years in the house and now more empty than ever missing our two women, Life goes on and the town has been good, hard to tell the future but I believe this will be my last town, from here to the sea at Honfleur Normandie as our family has. Hope you enjoy this kind of post, and do get to know me more and hopefully I will you too. Do read my many posts on Pluvigner in my blog !

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

September 3, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXLII

Well is that time again, need to tell you about some news from France. As you might know, September is the rentrée or re-entry month where we all come back from our long vacations and things begin to groove again, like school is back and in other times conferences, conventions were galore. OF course, this year will be less but nevertheless, its still rentrée in France. Now for the news…

In the interests of ecology, metro tickets will gradually disappear. And we are starting next October 2021 with the end of the book of 10 tickets, sold until then for 16.90€ (compared to € 1.90 per single ticket). They will give way to dematerialized transport tickets which will be loaded onto an electronic card. For now, it will still be possible to purchase single cardboard tickets. This card, therefore, called Pass Navigo Easy, can be bought for 2€ at the terminals and can be recharged at will. Unlike the Navigo Pass that we know, it is non-nominative and can be lent to other travelers. The purchase price of the card will be quickly refunded, since the notebook will cost 2€ less on it than with cardboard tickets. RATP webpage:

The Fun fair of Neuneu (old name but folks still call it,now is Bois de Boulogne) is back at the Bois de Boulogne until October 17. More than a hundred stands are set up between the Rond-Point de la Porte de la Muette and the lake in a wooded setting with a view of the Eiffel Tower. The opportunity to find the ghost train, the bumper cars or the “little Fousset”, troubadour who scrolls on the stage of his trailer a swarm of endearing and funny characters. And discover new attractions such as the Booster Maxx or the Surf Party, reserved for thrill seekers, or the India caterpillar. webpage:

No more long lines of customers going up the Boulevard Rochechouart (18éme), their arms laden with pink gingham plastic bags. Although taken over in 2017 by the GPG group (Gifi), old venerable store Tati, already challenged by the arrival of new inexpensive ready-to-wear giants, has not withstood the Covid crisis. In July 2020, the announcement was made of the permanent closure of the historic store, despite an investment plan of 150 million euros. Now, future historic Tati building in Barbès 18éme, will be renovated with shops, a restaurant, a hotel, and housing. One to look at once done. See the store online for now:

The opening, in the heart of the Marais, of a free dog park has turned into a standoff between residents and animal owners to the detriment of the latter. Dog lovers accuse the City of neglecting the canine cause. Oh Paris is not going where it should lately. Don’t dispair , there are several parks for dogs allowed in Paris; see them here:

Canceled last year due to the health crisis, the Les Coleurs du Val d’Oise fireworks festival returns this Saturday at the Enghien-Soisy racecourse, for its thirteenth edition. For nearly two hours, spectators will be able to immerse themselves in the world of Chihiro travel, a classic of Hayao Miyazaki, Arthur and the Invisibles, Mulan or even the Snow Queen. webpage:

This is the 35th store opened in France and the only one to date in Ile-de-France in Provins, Seine et Marne dept 77. By renting a stand for one to several weeks, salespeople benefit from the duration to sell clothes, objects and furniture, in addition to certain free services. Location, Au Vide Grenier, 3 avenue de la Voulzie facing Feu Vert auto store. webpage:

Carrefour launches into the battle for discount in Île-de France with its Supeco brand, already established in the North and East of France. It is Carrefour’s anti-Lidl weapon . The first Supeco in the region opens this Wednesday in Buchelay, in the Yvelines 78. webpage:

The Museum of the Great War opened its doors on November 11, 2011. This weekend will be held the traditional historical reconstruction open to all and free, More than 300 enthusiasts of everything related to the First World War will reconstitute, this weekend in the immediate vicinity of the museum of the Great War in Meaux, scenes from the First Battle of the Marne, which took place from September 5 to 9, 1914 a few kilometers away. On the program, vehicles of 14-18, soldiers in uniform from several countries and air battles with vintage planes, because the place of memory opened on November 11, 2011 – 11/11/11! – and announces what visitors will find there over the next twelve months. The first, which will be inaugurated on November 11, will look back on ten years of donations. The collection of Jean-Pierre Verney (the one behind the creation of the museum) numbered 50,000 objects. Today we are at 70,000 objects. The second exhibition, which will open in March 2022, will focus on trench systems. This will explain that they have existed since the dawn of time. But the trenches of the Great War resulted in the evolution of weaponry and had an impact on men. Museum of the Great War, rue Lazare-Ponticelli in Meaux. Information on +33 (0) , I say a must to see; webpage:

The castle of the pediatric center of Loges-en-Josas ,Yvelines 78, selected for the Loto du patrimoine,(heritage lotto to finance their renovations) by Stéphane Bern, the pediatric center of Côtes .The site accommodates, in the 19C building, children who have undergone major surgical operations. A nice wonderful work and pretty building that now will be save for generations to come and Children to benefit from. It’s worth seeing it for its architecture. webpage:

Through rare period drawings, the new exhibition at the Musée Condé (Chantilly castle) allows us to decipher the arrival of the Italian Renaissance movement via the construction of the Château de Fontainebleau and its influence on French art. As part of this new exhibition, the Musée Condé has unearthed some fifty pieces from the Fontainebleau school in its graphic arts cabinet. They are visible until November 7 2021. We must first go back to 1528 when King François I left the banks of the Loire to launch a major project to embellish his Château de Fontainebleau. He brings in the greatest artists from the peninsula to transform the place. These painters and sculptors popularize a formula called to great success, what will be called much later “the school of Fontainebleau”. These masterpieces were brought together by Henri d´Orléans, Duke of Aumale, former owner and legatee of the Cantilian collections, who had a strong interest in the French Renaissance. Son of King Louis-Philippe, he stayed regularly in his youth in Fontainebleau and was inspired by it for the reconstruction of Chantilly. Near his home, the Duke also regularly had the opportunity to admire one of the rare period frescoes preserved in France, at the Abbey of Chaalis. Le trait de la seduction, Drawings from the Fontainebleau School, until November 7 at the Graphic Arts Cabinet of the Château de Chantilly. Exhibition included in the 1-day ticket (Castle, park, Grandes Écuries, temporary exhibitions) Full price: 17€ webpage:

Immersed in the “ghost” Saint-Martin metro station, closed to travelers since 1939, forbidden to the public at the start of WWII, this station, located between Strasbourg-Saint-Denis and République and where lines 8 and 9 intersect, offers a maze of mysterious and fascinating corridors, On the forecourt of the Renaissance Theater, a stone’s throw from the Porte Saint-Martin (see post), a discreet staircase leads to one of the metro’s most secret places. The “ghost station” Saint-Martin, offers a fascinating dive into history. In 1999,the transport network RATP renovates the station as a solidarity space of insertion managed by the Salvation Army charitable organisation to help the poor entered society. Pass by it take a look worth for the history. This is Paris!

On September 18 and 19,2021 the European Heritage Days will allow you to discover unusual places: embassies, factories, stations, palaces … these visits are often taken by storm, but reservations are possible to avoid the queues , Each place defines hours and conditions, as it is Covid-19 reservation policy … the novelty this year for the Heritage Days will also be the requirement or not of the health pass to access the places according to the reception conditions (open air or not , visitor level greater than 50 people, etc …), Information webpage:

From the post-war period to the Pantheon, Joséphine Baker born in Missouri USA in 1906, her real name Freda Josephine McDonald, naturalized French in 1937; this artist and figure of the Resistance will be the first black woman to enter the Parisian necropolis, On November 30,2021 Joséphine Baker (see post) will become the first black woman to enter the Pantheon.(see post) A decision taken at the end of August by Emmanuel Macron to honor the memory of the Franco-American singer, icon of the Roaring Twenties. Suffice to say that the artist, nicknamed “the black Venus”, experienced her greatest hours of glory long before the creation of the newspaper Le Monde (text taken from it) , in 1944. It was not until 1949. webpage:

Taste of Paris! Located in the heart of the ephemeral Grand Palais, this festival will take you to discover local products, their artisans and their know-how. The appointment is given. From September 16 to 19, 2021, Taste of Paris takes over the ephemeral Grand Palais to offer you signature dishes from forty great Parisian chefs, but also ,and above all, products from producers and artisans from all over France. A real godsend for all those passionate about cooking and good wines! Webpage:

The Harry Potter pop-up store is taking up residence,in the Marais Paris by next December 2021 (site says july 31 but you know covid). The Wizard’s Shop, entirely dedicated to this universe. You can find a large selection of board games, toys and other goodies on the theme of the wizarding school, scarves and accessories to wear the colors of your house, stationery or even the mythical wands from Ollivander, and even some of the most popular candies among wizards like chocolate frogs or Bertie Hook’s surprise dragees! All within an absolutely magical setting. Beautiful collector’s items will also be present, as well as exclusives such as mystery boxes by houses. The decoration of the shop will be directly inspired by the great room and the common room of Gryffindor, to transport you even more to Hogwarts. The Wizard’s Shop, 130 Rue de Turenne 3éme; opening hours so far will be Tuesday to Sunday from 11h to 19h. However, I see we have a closer store in Nantes! webpage:

At the start of 2022, Serge Gainsbourg’s famous house will be transformed into a museum to the delight of nostalgics and other curious people. Located at 5 bis, rue de Verneuil, 7éme, The Gainsbourg house or at least its facade is well known to residents, but few people have had the chance to enter it. For the 30 years of the artist’s death, Jane Birkin has nevertheless confirmed that this mansion will be transformed into a museum, The museum will be accompanied by a bookstore-boutique, a piano-bar at night and a café baptized “Gainsbarre”. The opening of the ticket office is already scheduled for this fall 2021. webpage:

There you go folks, a load of goodies in my belle France. WE all got the health pass already so now figuring where we go lol!!! So many choices yikes! Hope you are all doing well and ready to travel again. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 27, 2021

Church Sainte Elizabeth of Hungary in Versailles!

I am as usual trying to tell you a bit more than the palace/museum of Versailles.   The off the beaten paths found in my beloved city are numerous and merits a longer visit to see these wonders of my belle France. Therefore, let me bring on a bit long, sorry, post on a venerable building; the Church of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary very much linked to Madame Elizabeth, guillotine sister of Louis XVI!  The Church Sainte-Elisabeth de Hongrie is located at 25 rue des Chantiers very closed to another train station of Versailles, Chantiers, this one takes you to gare Montparnasse in Paris!

The layout of the Church Ste Elizabeth of Hungary in Versailles is of a basilical shape without transept visible from the exterior.The exterior main façade is advanced from an ancient porch surmounted by a triangular pediment. The steeple wall is pierced by a bay with giblets and topped by a clock and capped with a cross. The roof is double-sloped. Two lateral wings flank this main façade. While the interior is a building on two levels. The central nave is covered with a coffered ceiling. The high windows are in a full-hanger arch. The 3 aisles are separated from the central nave by square pillars. All   done in the Neo Classic style from the 19C.


The main construction stages were taken as first a chapel built in 1850 , which corresponds to the present central nave of 20 meters by 8 meters. Then we add the two aisles. The chapel became a parish church in 1863 and as early as 1864, the choir was enlarged. In 1890, the decorations were finished with the choir enlarged by embellishing it with a armature adorned with rinses, the whole dominated by the monogram of Ste. Elisabeth. Finished the decoration by painting a large canvas depicting the Miracle of roses. There was restoration work carried out in 2009-2010 which have brought to life a hidden backdrop. Now, with its belt panelling , its azure-blue coffered ceiling decorated with gilded motifs, with its superb choir and historical canopy in the aisles, Ste. Elizabeth’s Church has an undeniable artistic cachet.


A bit of history I like

The district of Montreuil in Versailles has its church: Saint-Symphorien (see post), which is in fact located in the Grand Montreuil. The so-called Petit Montreuil had no place of worship in the 18C, although this area was the subject of all the attention of the younger sister of King Louis XVI, Madame Elisabeth (see post on her). The Royal Princess lived on the level of the current Avenue de Paris, (Domaine de Montreuil/Elizabeth) which separates the Grand from Petit Montreuil. In the 19C, the district enjoyed a legacy of the former Princess who died on the scaffold (guillotine) during the reign of terror of the French revolution. The construction of a worship building was then started. It was the Church Saint Elizabeth of Hungary” in homage to Princess Elizabeth of Versailles!

Elisabeth of Hungary was a sovereign of Thuringia, a member of the Franciscan Third Order and recognized Holy by the Catholic Church. Her day is celebrated on the day of her death ,November 17. The Teutonic Order built a Gothic church destined to receive her relics. These attract large crowds making Marburg a large pilgrimage center of the Christian West. She was the daughter of King Andre II of Hungary (Árpád dynasty) and Gertrude of Andechs-Meran (Babenberg dynasty). Betrothed at four years old and married at fourteen years old to the Landgrave Louis IV of Thuringia, she was acquainted with the movement founded in Italy by Francis of Assisi, to which she adhered from the bottom of her soul. The couple is very united and had three children, Elizabeth dies at 24 years old.

With Saint Elisabeth of Hungary the Christian hagiography has built a character of a perfection rarely reached. In the golden legend , one reads that, daughter of an illustrious king of Hungary, she had been raised in the veneration of God and disdained children’s games. At the age of five, she had so much pleasure in praying in the Church that her companions were unable to get her out. When she was playing, she was always seen running next to a Chapel to be sure to get into it more easily. Of all that was given to her, she reserved the tenth part to the poor. When she arrived at the age of marriage, she married the Landgrave of Thuringia. Which was pretty good dough, tells us the legend, to all endure the mania of his wife: incessant devotions, fasting, mortifications, offerings of her clothes, preferring the dry bread to the sumptuous dishes of her husband’s table, etc. The legend still adds to the altruism: she fed the poor, dressed those who went naked, burying herself the beggars and pilgrims, wore the children on the baptismal fonts, sewed their swaddling clothes, spun the wool with her maids, sold her ornaments to feed the poor when the wheat was missing; She built a large house at the foot of the castle to greet the sick, coming to visit them every day, distributing gifts, care and holy words. All called her the mother of the poor!

However, the Landgrave of Thuringia went on a crusade and died there. Having become a widow, Elisabeth was expelled from the castle by the parents of the deceased who accused her of being dissipating and prodigal. After wandering, depressed, in the countryside, she was received by her uncle, the Bishop of Bamberg… who wanted to remarry her. She did not have the time: the body of her deceased husband came back from the Holy Land and the bishop had to let her go. Elizabeth wore the religious habit, lived like a poor, even refusing to return to the castle of the King of Hungary. Her life of humility continued. Serving the poor. She received two thousand marks in dowry, distributed some to the indigent and built a large hospital in Marburg with the rest, dedicating all its activity to the sick.   The life of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary-in her absolute altruism-is one of the most incredible ever written. She can be represented either as a princess or as a Franciscan tertiary. When she is portrayed as a princess, she wears a crown on her head and in her hands a book where two crowns are laid. These can represent her royal birth, her austere piety and her abstinence, or be understood as the three knots of the Franciscan cord representing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. She holds by hand a alms, a jug, a basket of bread, fruit and fish; It can also have an apron with roses. She is one of the main characters of the opera by Richard Wagner Tannhäuser (Dresden 1845); as well there is an oratorio by Franz Liszt about the legend of Elisabeth of Hungary.

A bit on the religious significance of this  Church Ste Elizabeth of Hungary  and Madame Elizabeth. Madame Elisabeth died in the smell of holiness. According to Madame de Genlis, a rose smell spread over the Place de la Concorde after her exécution. Her cause for beatification was officially introduced on December 23, 1953 by Cardinal Maurice Feltin, Archbishop of Paris, after being declared, the same year, Servant of God by Pope Pius XII, acknowledging by decree the heroic of her virtues, of the only made her martyrdom. Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, reactivates the cause of her beatification in 2016, Abbé Xavier Snoëk, parish priest of the Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hungary, being appointed postulator of the Cause, and recognises in May 2017 the Association of the faithful promoters of her cause. On November 15, 2017, Cardinal Vingt-Trois, after the opinion of the Conference of the Bishops of France and the Nihil obstat of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, in Rome, hopes that the trial will lead to the canonization of Élisabeth Philippe Marie Hélène de France dit Madame Elisabeth, sister of king Louis XVI. 

The official Church Saint Elizabeth

There you go folks, another dandy historical monument of my Versailles. A pretty Church Ste Elizabeth, worth the off the beaten path trail to see it. As well as a beautiful story of holy saints one done ,and the other coming.  Enjoy the other Versailles.

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

August 26, 2021

The Pièce d’Eau des Suisses of Versailles !!

Coming along on my tour of Versailles to show you places off the beaten path away from the palace/museum property to see more of my Versailles. Yes you know it , Versailles has a lot more things to see than the palace/museum. Let me tell you about the water pond of the Swiss!!

The Piéce d’Eau des Suisses  is right across the Orangerie (see post) area on the road D10 to St Cyr l’école. Many afternoons on weekends picnicking there with the family on the shadows of the only statue to king Louis XVI in Versailles and one of only five in France still standing. The others are in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique dept 44), at the Esplanade du Maréchal Foch , it is still today , for most of the people of Nantes,the Place Louis XVI.  Also,  in Bécherel (Ille-et-Vilaine dept 35 Brittany), in the park of the Château de Caradeuc; at the Loroe-Bottereau (Loire-Atlantique dept 44), near the Church; in Sorèze, in the park of the Royal School; And in Nant (Aveyron dept 12), in the entrance to the city/town hall , even if here very much damaged and hardly recognisable, last I saw several years back.


La pièce d’eau des Suisses is a part of the Domaine de Versailles , but apart from it as told above. It was built between 1679 and 1682, and owes its name to having been dug by a regiment of Swiss guards. It was created to drain the Potager du Roi or King’s vegetable garden (see post).  This 682 meters long, by 234 meters wide water pond with a surface of 15 hectares has an average depth of 1.70 meters ( the park is about 25 ha). It is located as above on the D10 road across from the Orangerie. This axis includes from north to south the basin of Neptune, the allée d’eau and the parterre du nord, the parterre d’eau , parterre du midi (situated above the Orangerie) ,and the parterre de l’Orangerie ,and finally the pièce d’eau des Suisses.

It was an octagonal shape, it was enlarged towards 1678 by the Swiss Guards in the service of King Louis XIV. A final enlargement in 1682 that gives it its rounded ends. At its southern extremity an equestrian statue representing Louis XVI later replaced by a copy, the original is in the Orangerie. The Piéce d’eau des Suisses runs along the Potager du Roi or king’s vegetable garden, which it could be access on this side by the Royal Grill gate. It is bordered by a double aisle of two-century plane trees, many of which suffered damage during the storm of 1999. Under the old regime, this piece d’eau was often the scene of nautical festivals. Nowadays it is free to all and has become a Sunday family picnic place. And it was our family place on many Sundays.

Some webpages I could find to help you plan your trip here are:

The city of Versailles tourist office on the Swiss pond

The Château de Versailles on the Swiss pond

There you go folks, another wonderful sort of off the beaten path spot in my Versailles. It is a nice park full of history and wonderful for the whole family to walk , take a break from the long tours of the palace/museum and even do try a picnic; its awesome. Hope you enjoy as we do.

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

August 26, 2021

Osmothéque of Versailles!

Back to my beloved Versailles. This one is so off the beaten path things to see in the city that you need reservation from the city tourist office or the Osmothéque itself. It is not open any time you need to make prior reservation ok. Just to show you Versailles has some unique places, a lot more than most think of only the palace/museum! I will update text and links for you and me. Hope you enjoy it as I.  This a perfum museum sort of or a historical reservoir of scents going back milleniums, and is call the Osmothéque of Versailles. They claim to be the World’s only frangrance archives! I have been once out of curiosity taken advantage of my boys school trip here. But if you are into perfumes well forget the others come to the roots of it at Versailles!

The Osmothéque museum , archives as you like is located at 36 Rue du Parc de Clagny,  inside the school ISIPCA (Institut supérieur international du parfum, de la cosmétique et de l’aromatique alimentaire or in my best English ; International Higher Institute of Perfume, Cosmetics and Food Aromatics). You can reach it from Paris Saint Lazare to my old Rive Droite train station in Versailles end of terminus. Once at train station go out and turn right on Rue du Maréchal Foch , bear right and turn right at Avenue du Général Mangin and continue on same street later name Avenue de Villeneuve l’Etang ,take a quick left into 36 Rue du Parc de Clagny, the Osmothéque is on your right hand side of the street. I never measure it but google says is 1,2 km or 16 minutes walking, and I tell you doing this into nice residencial neighborhood.  Or if like to take the wonderful Phebus bus network   from the Rive Droite train station take bus line 3   stop/arrêt “De Bange” ou “Saint-Jean” ou “Place La Boulaye”) or bus line 1 stop/arrêt “De Bange”. For the information/reservation call +33 (0) 1 39 23 70 00. 

Versailles parfums-museum-osmothéque

The Osmothèque, is the only conservatory tracing the history of perfumery. Founded in 1990 by Jean Kerléo and other confirmed perfumers, such as Jean-Claude Ellena and Guy Robert, the Osmothèque is responsible at the international level for the authentication, registration, preservation, documentation and reproduction of fragrances, all archived in their original formulation at the Osmothèque depot and viewable by the public. There are a large number of masterpieces of perfumery, including some rare fragrances (because they are no longer produced elsewhere or according to the same formula) as the Cyprus of François Coty, the Eau de Cologne extra old by Jean-Marie Farina or even the Royal Fern of Paul Parquet. Many historical fragrances are also available, such as those of Elisabeth of Poland, Napoleon 1er or Eugénie de Montijo (wife Napoleon III).

A bit of history I like

The creation of this first conservatory of perfume was initially proposed to the French Society of Perfumers in 1976 by Jean Kerléo, perfumer at Jean Patou, in order to record and preserve the history of perfumery. When in 1988, the project received the support of both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Versailles-Val-d’Oise-Yvelines and the French Perfume Committee, a storage facility was provided at the premises of ISIPCA (see above). The Osmothèque was officially founded on April 26, 1990 with a first collection of 400 fragrances including reproductions of the Osmothèque and products supplied by perfume houses such as Chanel, Guerlain or Lanvin.

The Osmothèque represents the largest perfume archive in the world, storing more than 4 000 fragrances of the present and past (including 800 extinct), mostly in their original formulation and preserved at a constant temperature under argon atmosphere. The fragrances present in the collection are either reconstituted from the formulas archived by   the Osmothèque’s internal perfumers (known as osmothécaires) or supplied by external perfume houses, analysed and authenticated by the Osmothécaires archivists. As legal deposit archives, the Osmothèque receives a supply of all the new perfumes produced in France and a large part of the world, in addition to those obtained by its program of acquisition of compositions. The institution also collects a library of materials used in perfumery, both natural and synthetic, historical and contemporary. A vault, inaccessible to the public, finally contains the historical fragrance formulas, unfortunately largely unusable because of the raw materials not found today. In the rarities contained in the Osmothèque are included elements of ancient perfumery, as the Royal scent of the Parthian kings described by Pliny the Elder in the 1C, medieval eau de cologne of the 14C as the water of Elisabeth of Poland’s Hungary and powders of the 18C as the powder of Cyprus The collection also counts 19C perfumes of houses such as Farina, Guerlain, Houbigant, Lubin, F. Mayo, L.T. Piver and Roger & Gallet, including the Eau de Cologne extra old by Jean-Marie Farina of 1806 and the Imperial Eau de Cologne of Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain created for Emperatrice Eugénie de Montijo in 1853. In the same period there is also the Eau de Cologne made for Napoleon in 1815 during his exile on the island of St. Helena. Most of the archives of the Osmothèque is devoted to modern perfumery (beginning at the end of the 19C), presenting countless original masterpieces now extinct or reformulated, as the forbidden Fruit of Rosine fragrances created by Henri Alméras, the Cyprus and Emerald of François Coty, Le Tabac blond de Caron by Ernest Daltroff, Jicky of Aimé Guerlain, Royal Fern of Paul Parquet for Houbigant or even Parfum Idéal by Houbigant. Countless bestsellers are also present in their original formulas such as Chanel No. 5 created by Ernest Beaux, Shalimar by Jacques Guerlain and the Eau Savage of Christian Dior by Edmond Roudnitska.

The Osmothèque also publishes books on the theme of perfumes, in addition to a bilingual periodical entitled The News of the Osmothèque, available online and at the bookshop of the Osmothèque.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are:

The official Osmothéque of Versailles webpage:

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist office on the Osmothéque of Versailles:

There you go folks, a wonderful off the beaten path Osmothéque even in popular Versailles! Yes we have perfumes too amazing isn’t it!  Hope you the post and do visit worth your while.  And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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