Posts tagged ‘Bretagne’

December 24, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVIII

And with the tradition of my now travels in the Morbihan I come back again soonest as this is the season to be  merrier and preparation are all over. Even with some road block from the yellow jackets we are still moving smoothly in our neck of the woods. Temperature is a warm 13C or about 55F cloudy but no rain! Just the nice day we need for our Christmas eve preparation.

We did slept a bit more than usual but got up rather quickly with me pulling the cord on the boys. I did took the dog out and allow him to do his things, then feed him, put some manure dirt around our Rose plants for added protection from winter days, cut some bad grass always creeping out, and did my breakfast , ready to take on the days chores.

We went to our favorite hangouts. First, was Bureau Vallée in Vannes for our 2019 calendars . We continue to E Leclerc hypermarket for last minutes Christmas shopping , and had our lunch at the unusually Brooklyn Café very French indeed but fish and chips was in order with our working out routine sprite and fanta sodas lol!! (We will get more of the other stuff later tonite) just a warm up. They are part of a group of restaurant in the Atlanville area north of the N165 road. More of Brooklyn Cafe here: Brooklyn Café at Atlanville

Vannes

Vannes

VAnnes

VAnnes

vannes

vannes

We finally headed for the town of Le Hézo, in the Rhuys peninsula to load up on cider, apple juice, breton sweets and the local gifts for my in laws that will be visiting next week in Seine et Marne dept 77. More on the Musée/Maison du Cidre  (House/Museum  of ciders) place here: Museum of Cider at Le Hézo

le hezo

le hezo

They live in a village off Meaux, the native town of my dear late wife Martine. There will be the opportunity to walk the streets of this town so much personal with my boys and remember many souvenirs on a sad note but one we must endure and go thru it. It will give me the opportunity to load up on traditional Brie de Meaux cheese , (the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings Vienna 1815) where they still do it the traditional way not the ones in supermarket or even in markets!. This is the Fromagerie Saint Faron cheese makers, webpage here:  official tourist office of Meaux country and Fromagerie St Faron

Meaux

Finally on our way home, we stop at our favorite Boulangerie/Pâtisserie Delameau to pick our pre order of Christmas goodies including a pain au surprises a loaf made up of small sandwiches, sweets, Christmas log, etc etc etc. Always delicious and my late wife Martine most favorite place in town! And you can see why she was right is a favorite in town. It will be a trying Christmas but we are ready for it.

pluvigner

I take once again this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of joy and health with your love ones and friends. This is indeed still a very special day in our calendar.

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

 

 

 

December 22, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVII

SO here I am on a cold gray rainy Saturday in my lovely Morbihan. The season to be merrier is here and we are all over locally doing errands and sights to be repeated always. We are getting ready next week to be with family on wife’s side in Seine et Marne 77 east of Paris near Disneyland.. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!2018!!!

For now we took off just to get out of the house and get some cold medicines for my sons, regular stuff for the times at our local pharmacy in Pluvigner. Then, We took off for the Quiberon peninsula south of us about 40 km from home.

Pluvigner

We took the route of the Côte Sauvage or wild coast  a beautiful road along the ocean waves pouncing on the cliffs we ride on ,and onwards toward Quiberon. Once there the market was done but we were for our daily dose of beers at our favorite hangout and friendly owner.

quiberon

quiberon

quiberon

We stop by at L’Esplanade Cafe at pl Hoche facing the grand plage or big beach of Quiberon, the cafe bar is sideway to the beach. We enjoy the company and had our usual Belzebuth 8,5% beers well me my sons on medication had their smoothies lol! a bit serious faces!!! Along some nice duck paté à l’orange and breads. We went for a second round and this time I try the La Goudale de Noêl 7,2% Christmas beer nice balance of spices and caramel. We left happy once again.

Quiberon

Quiberon

quiberon

On the way back, we stopped at our favorite local store La Trinitaine in the town of Saint Philibert along the coast too but the store is inland. We loaded on fish soups , pates, etc for the entrée dish here and now we are all set for Christmas! This is a big store of their chain and factory outlet as well so more selection and better prices!

St Philibert

The route of the wild coast is always awesome and we love to drive, walk here and even stop at the restaurant there Le Vivier. This is prime area and very much sought after by tourists especially British and Germans.

The tourist office is here in English: Official Tourist office of Quiberon

And back jhome in time for my football/soccer match at the World Clubs Championship of UAE facing surprise Al-Ain local club vs my other love Real Madrid CF of Spain! Hala Madrid!!!!! Just to start! More info here: https://www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/

Enjoy your weekend wherever you are and Merry Christmas to all my readers indeed. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

December 22, 2018

Champagne, wines, and liquors of Christmas 2018!

As we are getting into the season to be merrier and we will just hit the last weekend before Christmas , its time for me to come to you with some juices or the best for the season.

In my family, we have a tradition that we will keep even if one strong pillar of it is missing physically of sharing drinks, old and creating new ones, all with food all at home and with moderation ,never a problem.  So, therefore, let me give some last minute ideas from France (the root of it all) , that I believe can be adjusted to wherever you are for the holidays. Beware some of these bottles may not be available where you are but from the readings they should be easily replace with something locally available! Another thing, all of the below suggestions have been tried by myself or a trusted family member of the same line of tastes as I.

To accompany a festive fish, a poultry, seafood or for the aperitif, here is my selection of Champagnes at good value for money

With a nice cheese platter: Its graceful bubble, its slightly stewed fruit aromas will flatter the hard pasta. You’ll enjoy its refreshing finale. Coeur des Bar, Blanc de noirs, Champagne Devaux, 32€

With pineapple chicken skewers: This organic champagne with fine bubbles has a mineral frame. Very pure, it can support the associations of sweet and savoury feasts and bring freshness to these duets daring. Cuvée Brut bio, Champagne Duval-Leroy, 28€

With a creamy poultry: Its green-tinted dress announces the plant partition. White, hawthorn-acacia flowers, allied with roasted notes, hug each other in the nose. Mineral and frankly lemon, this champagne is lively. Propose it with creamy dishes to give the reply to the smoothness. Fleur de Craie, Blanc de blancs Champagne Bolieu, 21€

For an iodized appetizer: Ideal to accompany a cocktail of iodized feasts based on smoked salmon, fish eggs and crustaceans, this lively champagne has flavors of yellow fruits such as peach and apricot. Champagne Pannier, Brut selection,25.90€

With Christmas dinner: This low-dose champagne is complex and greedy. You will find a slight toast, notes of white fruit and even a hint of honey. Champagne Mandois, Brut Origine, 30€

With a bar filet in salt crust: This winemaker’s champagne in the pale yellow robe has fine bubbles and a bouquet reminiscent of acacia and fresh butter. The whole is aerial and delicate. Perfect with fish. Champagne Sanger, Terroir Natal, Blanc de blancs, 24€

With foie gras toast: Its bouquet flowers citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, but also very lightly pear. Fresh and well-balanced, this champagne has tenderly brioche notes. Beaumont des Crayères, Grande Réserve Brut, 25,70 €

With a stuffed young rooster with morels: In the nose, this champagne has pretty gourmet notes of vanilla, honey and roasted summer fruits. Complex, it is supported by its minerality. The dishes of character, with the flavors of undergrowth, have its preferences. Champagne Yves Jacques, 23.50€

With a dessert : Its dress is pink with coppery reflections and a string of fine bubbles. Intense, its bouquet develops aromas of rose, fruits of the wood and even of blood orange. To enjoy in the company of a red fruit log or a macaroon. Cuvée La Douce Folie, rosé Brut, Champagne La Borderie, 35€

With spice-marinated prawns: The white flowers and the notes of cut grass that this champagne develops are well-married with spicy dishes. But we also appreciate its gourmet amplitude in the palate. Champagne Philippe Gonet, Réserve Brut, 24€

To accompany a festive fish, a poultry, seafood or for the aperitif, here is my selection of white wines at good value for money.

With a stuffed poultry: The chardonnay cultivated on a limestone terroir gives a cuvée in the nose of stone with shotgun. Very complex, this wine offers a hint of grilled and exotic notes. A dense white that generously rugs the palate. Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Lucien & Fanny Rocault, 10,90€

With a seafood platter: The Domaine Romy cultivates 25 hectares of vineyards in the extreme south of Burgundy. This floral cuvée comes from a plot of 4 hectares surrounded by a clos. Raised on fine lees for 6 months, this finely toasted cru will appreciate the flesh of crustaceans. Clos de la Chapelle 2016, Domaine Romy, AOP Bourgogne, 10€

With a fried foie gras: In homage to the goddess Sirona who watches over the river Ciron (responsible for creating the morning mists conducive to the appearance of Botrytis on the grapes), this cuvée 100% semillon is golden. We appreciate its balance between the white flowers, the quince and its vivacity. Sirona 2015, Les Vignerons de Tutiac, Sauternes, 15€

With a bar fish in salt crust: Mineral and focused on white flowers, this white wine offers a very representative extract of the typicités of its grape. With the fish but also with the goat cheese, it gives the replica. Domaine des Crêts, Climat “En Bout” 2015, Mâcon-Chardonnay, 14,70€

With a risotto with crustaceans: Products with the Aligoté grape variety, the wines of the appellation Bouzeron possess material. It is named after an assemblage of 3 plots; The nails, the tower, the Cordères. A hint of hazelnut, acacia blossoms, a note of stone and citrus flavours stand out at the palate. Les Trois 2013, Maison Chanzy, Bouzeron, 14,50€

With a stew of Lotte: Assemblage of Grenache Blanc, Rolle and Roussanne, this organic white is subtly woody. In the heart of the Alpilles, Mas de Gourgonnier is an environmentally friendly family winery. Reserve du Mas, Mas de Gourgonnier, AOP Les Baux-de-Provence, 12.60€

With a goat dung : This 100% Rolle high six months on fine lees in barrel has a pale dress. His light toast comes to underline the finesse of citrus fruits. A balanced wine to be tasted with simplicity. Vallon Sourn 2017, Les Vignerons de Correns, 11,50€

with roasted scallops: This sweet white fruit nose reveals a zest of citrus. It gives him freshness and pep. Perfect with scallops with aromatic herbs. Château de Rouquette 2013, Loupiac, 10.50€

With a sea bream with fennel : Her dress is shiny and her nose lemon. Oscillating between roundness and freshness this white of the Haut-Var is perfect in the company of the iodine dishes. Terres de Berne 2016, Côtes de Provence, 15€

With salmon : Very fine, this white wine has exotic notes of pineapple. Ample to the palate, it evokes the ripe fruits. He will know how to be subtle and discreet in the company of character dishes like smoked salmon. Vita Bella, Château La Mascaronne, Côtes de Provence 15€

Very well choose your digestif for your Christmas meals. This is the drink after the meal families here enjoy, less often in restaurant but in special family meals we still do. Spirits (eaux-de-vie) are liquors obtained by distilling wine, marc, cider or fruit. There are also numerous fruit spirits, alcohols derived from the fermentation of smashing fruit: cherries, mirabelles, plums or berries and obtained by distillation. What about fruit liqueurs? They come from a maceration or an infusion of fresh fruit .

So which ones to choose ? These are the spirits of wine or cider, type Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados which are the most sought-after consumers in the holiday season. While brandies or fruit. liqueurs would be more regional winks or would act as nice gifts This is according to the cellar master of the Galeries Lafayette Paris. It is better to have 2 to 3 references of digestifs to propose to your guests. The holidays, at home, are the opportunity to enjoy nice products as long as you do not take risks.

To second the good advise from Galeries Lafayette, here are some I have tried that are super! Maison Dudognon, Vieille réserve, Cognac. This small family house develops in all discretion a cognac of high quality, very balanced thanks to an exemplary outfit of the vines and a flawless ageing. Price France 48€. Château de Lacquy, Bas Armagnac 1995 ; the château de Lacquy is a traditional armagnac,who did not give in to the sirens of the white Ugni Blanc to favor the Baco, which gives it a lot of class. Price France 79€.

Let’s have a break from drinking and propose a nice gift idea for the Holiday and those in the mood. These folks I have followed for many years , lost count, always good notes and the book is a classic. One of my all time favorite wine experts Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson with their book World Atlas of Wine, publisher Flammarion,in France price 45€

And to finish this post ,a bit on those wonderful bubblies at little price that are coming strong all over and France will not be left behind. The Cremants and one of my favorite region Bordeaux. They can be an exceptional quality/value purchase for the Holidays!

With 80 million bottles sold in 2018, in constant increase of 5 to 7% in the last ten years, Crémant is present in eight appellations: Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Die, Jura, Limoux, Loire, and Savoie. Today, it manages in blind tastings to compete with Champagne and is particularly distinguished by its varietals and a different terroir. For Crémant, the minimum duration between circulation and marketing is 9 months, compared with 15 for Champagne and… one month for prosecco!; produced with faster and cheaper methods, this Italian wine extends in all markets: the harvest is mechanical and not manual as for Crémant, and the second alcoholic fermentation, which produces the effervescence, is made in vats and not in Bottle as required by the traditional method. For the last five years, the figures for Crémant de Bordeaux have exploded: 1,200 hectares, or 50% more in two years; 75,000 hectolitres foreseen this year, which is five times more than in the early 2010’s. In 2017, 20% of Bordeaux’s annual sales had taken place during the year-end celebrations. With an average price of between 6 and 10 euros, Crémant is mainly sold in large distribution and 20% exported, especially to northern Europe, but also to Japan and the United States, the world’s first sparkling wine market.  The Crémants has exploded with an increase in sales year to year of + 29% by volume and 35% in value between October 2017 and October 2018); to be served very cold between 6-7C (43-44F), they go well with aperitifs to desserts, especially with seafood, white meats or sushis.

Some of my bottles that had in the last couple of years are from names such as Bulles de Lalande-labatut, Domaine de Grava Jaillance, Chateau Turcaudn Charme d’Aliénor, Lateyron, Fleur de Rauzan, Domaine du Cheval Blanc , Jean-Louis Ballarin, Domaine de Laubertrie, and Grangeneuve. The ones to bring up as my best experiences were from Ballarin and Lateyron, their webpages are here:

Crémants of Lateyron

Crémants of Ballarin

For further dwelling into this fascinating world see below the two webpage, the first one is the Bordeaux wine council on crémants and the second one is the appellations of Bordeaux and specific the section on Crémants.

Bordeaux wine council on Crémants

Planet Bordeaux on territories and Crémants

Just go and ask your local wine merchant, cellar or distributor, to know the availability of these wonders of our world, and enjoy them fully with moderation of course! Merry Christmas to all !!!

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

PS And I could not leave without leaving some pictures of the bubblies been able to take photos and some like the Pommery and Pol Roger will be on for this Christmas 2018 in our house. You are welcome!!

 

 

December 21, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXVI

Need to have a break from all those glorious towns and come back to my lovely Morbihan and our errands. The season to be merrier is near and we will try to do our best after our losses of dear wife and mother. The weather is definitevely more wintery cold and gray, and light rain falling on Friday but sometimes is worse somewhere else. We take the best of what we can get.

Let me bring up to date. The pastries snacks order for Christmas is done, and will cook something local with great Champagnes and wines to at least get a family unity here far from the rest of the family; the closest been 6 hrs away by car. We are planning to visit the grandmother in Seine-et-Marne (77) after Christmas, mainly because my oldest son is ongoing auto school for his license until Friday.

As my oldest school is in Auray and my Dad needed some adjustment to his hearing aid also in Auray, we took some time to walk around our previous home as nowdays not much there, spending more time in Vannes. Here are basically a pictorial.

We set out early to get bedding for our dog Rex already one year old and nice, we love him to death! He is a mix labrador, border collier, more on the collier side we think. Right now he is already sleeping in his new bedding in the living room!!!  We got that at Maxi Zoo in the town of Séné (next to Vannes). As we were there, had our lunch at a new place.

We passed by it and finally decided to stop in. Le Triangle brasserie restaurant in Séné. Nothing fancy just a regular French mom and pop resto.We had our usual pint of Leffe blonde beer with a bib of sirloin steak, fries,and salad, and expresso coffee for 20.50€ per person ok for lunch. It is diagonally opposite the Maxi Zoo store.  Here is a bit more on it: Le Triangle Séné

Sene

sene

sene

From there we went to Auray, drop off my oldest at his auto school (for driving license) and then walk around inner city Auray taking some photos which usually have no time to take on this historical wonderful small town by the Loch/Auray river that flows into the Gulf of Morbihan and then the Atlantic ocean! Enjoy the pictorial!

Auray

from upper town to lower town St Goustan port

auray

pl de la République behind hotel de ville Christmas tree and market

auray

upper town to lower town auray river to gulf of morbihan and atlantic ocean

Auray

from old castle to st goustan quai Franklin and the auray river

auray

Christmas market area at pl de la République behind hotel de ville

auray

pl de la République from hotel de ville towards lower town and st goustan port

auray

port of St Goustan from above castle ruins, inner harbor place st sauveur back loch river front auray river to gulf of morbihan love it

auray

from above castle ruins to st goustan and the L’Armoric bar resto ourhangout! at pl St Sauveur!

Enjoy it the season to be merrier, Merry Christmas to all my readers and best wishes from the heart!

I have to give it again, the Auray area tourist office : Tourist office of Auray

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

 

December 8, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXV

And on my last post before my last trip abroad of 2018, here I am in my rainy cloudy but mild Morbihan breton. All roads here are clear indeed. Temp 12C or about 54F and foggy. Paris is the same but a bit cooler at 51F, and a lot hotter with the strikes especially on the Champs-Elysées.

In my neck of the woods and getting ready tomorrow early for my trip to Asia , I had to finish some errands in my area. Even in rainy times and knowing how to get around the local barricades especially at the traffic circle of Luscanen in Vannes.

First, we went to Castorama to get back the repair grass cutter ryobi that turns out to be not that good, second time repair and will see the performance now. It is difficult to have a customer service here that can replace the goods, rather than continue to repair it. I will give it one last try. I took advantage to refill for gas/petrol here at the best prices in the area.

From there, we went to Armand Thiery where been our famous fashion store we did our purchases for Christmas. This is very nice modern trendy clothes in nice colors we love as a family.

vannes

We went two ways, some went to Joué Club for some model cars and boat purchase for Christmas and some went to FNAC to get some dvd’s ,both walking distance from each other. And we had our thirst calm at the La Cervoiserie beer and take out place between them.

vannes

vannes

We continue to Micromania in the centre commercial Carrefour to have our boys tapes on video games. We, also, did some Christmas candy purchases at Carrefour and did our groceries as well.

vannes

vannes

vannes

vannes

While at cc Carrefour, I was able to finally have the time to stop by the Orange store and take the fingerprint password I had on my phone as it was very inconvenience for me to have this ultra security, never a problem so fingerprint password eliminated!

vannes

On our way home , we stop to our favorite bakery in town Boulangerie Delameau to get our fav Breizh baguette. A bit more but a bit better bread too than a normal baguette.

pluvigner

Now home  having some munchies from the work place basket goodies I got with the alcohol free Pear juice as we are very country on the job, meaning conservative.

Pluvigner

And while watching the events on TV especially going on in Paris where the yellow vests or jackets are still at it facing 8000 police force with armored cars and all. Most stores including the big dept stores Galeries Lafayette, Au Printemps etc are closed as well. France is on the move, and I do not see a slowdown due to the difference in social class very evident here and spread in Europe , the reason the right has made a comeback.

Tomorrow, I have a flight at 6h that is 6am from Nantes airport so hoping no barriers and the long trip out to Asia where I will arrive Monday morning. It will be thru Friday and back home next Saturday. My last business trip of year!!!

I take this time to wish all my readers, family and friends, and visitors, the very wishes for a wonderful Merry Christmas 2018, with much travel, health , and good cheers. Until we read again, bye bye!!

 

December 6, 2018

Some news from France CCXII

And I am coming back to my belle France rather quickly not just for new thoughts but also on the latest events going on here. We have strikes all over ,more will come, and some like the yellow vest/jackets will be seriously damaging, so if in main town read the news and stay inside as much as possible. The rest is up to you!!!

Disturbances are expected on the RER B this Friday Dec 7th . A social movement is planned on the line, after the aggression of a driver. On the Saint-Rémy/Robinson and Denfert-Rochereau axis, plan 2 out of 3 trains at peak times and 1 train on 2 in off-hours. On the center of Denfert Rochereau and Charles-de-Gaulle/Mitry Airport, plan 1 train on 2 all day long . https://www.rerb-leblog.fr/travaux/

While a call to the general mobilization is launched this Thursday in (Lycées) high schools, about 100 establishments are disturbed in Ile-de-France. In detail, the Académie de Versailles is the most affected by the high school movement with 55 disturbed establishments of which 11 are blocked. Urban violence in the vicinity of some high schools has been reported. In the Académie de Créteil, 22 high schools are disturbed, 3 of which are blocked. In Paris, the situation is calmer but 17 establishments are still disturbed, of which 2 are blocked (the lycées Charlemagne and Monod). In parallel, some forty young people tried to invest the Sorbonne early this morning but were prevented from doing so. As a result of this intrusion attempt, the Sorbonne’s historic building was closed  “As a security measure”, reports AFP. Other university sites are disturbed. After an intrusion of demonstrators on the site of Censier Paris-3, the management of the university decided to close preventively since Tuesday. The site of Tolbiac-Paris-1 is also disturbed.

More than 400 arrests, hundreds of fires, barricades, shops looted, degradation at the Arc de Triomphe, 133 wounded in Paris (263 in France) and nearly 10,000 grenades (tear, GLI-F4 and discircling types)  were fired by CRS police on  the mobilization of the  gilets jaunes or yellow vests or jackets on Saturday December 1st was marked by severe violence in some parts of the capital, in the margins of peaceful protest. The Elysée palace (site of President)  is worried according to information of a hard core of several thousand people  who would come to Paris to break and kill. Is the situation too alarmist or really is to be worried?  Which does not prevent them from worrying also about a dramatic turn of events on Saturday December 8th! Stay tune France is on fire, the Bastille was not enough!!!

In other more peaceful front, life goes on and preparation are in order to end 2018 with a bang,(do not which kind!).

Some 250 exceptional artisans of art, gathered in the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre to expose and sell their creations. This 10th biennial brings to light the richness and quality of the work of all these magical and expert hands. Some 20 training schools will be present, as well as art craftsmen from Japan, Quebec, Italy, Germany and Denmark. The Carousel of Crafts and Creation.  Until Sunday, December 9, 2018, every day from 10h to 20h.  Carrousel du Louvre, 99, rue de Rivoli , 1éme.  It’s free. More info here:   www.carrousel-metiers-art.com/

My favorite Flea markets to end the year:  13th Salon of  Record, this Sunday at  323, rue de Charenton, 12éme;  admission 2€ .  Antiques and Secondhand Boulevard Montparnasse, 14éme Saturday and Sunday, Metro Vavin, 80 stands.  Crumbs, small flea market and sale of the foyer of Grenelle,15éme  Saturday and Sunday from 15h to 17h at  17, rue de Avre, Metro La Motte Piquet.

To mention Vaux-le-Vicomte  has been adorned with a thousand lights, with 4 km of light garlands, thousands of decorative objects and rooms of the castle that smell the festive fragrances of cinnamon, chocolate, honey, orange… In the garden are also illuminated a long alley of fir trees, a squirrel of 5 meters (symbol of Nicolas Fouquet), a path of more than 60 toys-lanterns cloth. The carriage ride, with a coachman in costumes, finishes to sublime fairy. Its call the Le-Vicomte celebrates Christmas. Until January 6 from Wednesday to Sunday. Open on weekends from 11h 18h45. Vaux-le-Vicomte Castle, Maincy dept 77. Admission 19.50€ reduce for children, extra 3€ for the carriage ride. More info : http://vaux-le-vicomte.com/en/vaux-le-vicomte-celebrate-christmas/

The Bergerie National (sheep-herd)  of Rambouillet goes into Christmas mode from December 5 until January 6  2019. Cows, sheep, lambs, hens waiting for families. Don’t miss the illuminated Christmas crib in the barn. and a guest of renown  will be passing, too, every opening day. Santa Claus in person will come and meet the children who wish it in the nursery. To warm up, we head to the Merino Café where we enjoy a good organic hot chocolate and homemade pastries.  La bergerie fête Noël .  Bergerie National of Rambouillet (Yvelines 78) From 14h. to 17h. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Every day during the school holidays.  From 4-6€. Free for children under the age of three. More here : http://www.bergerie-nationale.educagri.fr/ferme/evenements-et-animations/grandes-manifestations/

Monumental projections of Enghien-les-Bains. On the theme of travel and onirism. The multimedia scenography’s will be projected every evening on three facades: the Church of St. Joseph, the city/town hall and the Casino.More here: https://www.enghienlesbains.fr/fr/agenda/les-projections-monumentales

One of my favorite dishes in France, the Onion Soup, and many places to have good these are my latest finds over the last few months.  Very good at this time of the year indeed! Enjoy it

That we eat well on the charming place of the Le Marché Sainte-Catherine! But for the onion soup, it is a particularly warm place that respects the traditions. It is enough to find a small table on the heated terrace to taste this tasty version of one of the most comforting dishes of French cuisine. Le Marché  2, Place-Sainte-Catherine 4éme  More info : http://www.restaurantlemarcheparis.com/

The Au Pied de Cochon is not only the cliché of the tourist restaurant, it is really a good table in the kitchen is generous and tasty. Moreover, their  Onion soup au gratin is a best seller: Golden in the oven and perfectly seasoned, it is to fall for it! Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Au Pied de Cochon 6, rue Coquillière , 1éme. More info : https://www.pieddecochon.com/

The rue Montorgeuil,. Summer as Winter is always lively and we love her neighborhood life. For the onion soup, our little heart is at n ° 78. Adorable boss, layer of cheese XXL, and impeccable service, we love to savor it while  watching people passed by . Au Rocher de Cancale  78, rue Montorgeuil, 2éme.  More info : http://www.aurocherdecancale.fr/

A few steps from the Place des Vosges, the reputation of this Aveyronnaise brewery  is no longer to be done: it is said that it is simply one of the best Onion soups of Paris, have no issue with this statement. Bistrot des Vosges , 31, boulevard Beaumarchais, 4éme. More info : http://www.bistrotdesvosges.com/

There you go , enjoy France nevertheless, there is always something exciting going on, not always pleasant for the visitor but even less for the resident. Cheers

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

 

December 1, 2018

My travels in the Morbihan, LXXIIII

Ok so its time to write again about my State, Province, or Department 56 of Morbihan in the region of Brittany, France. It is a rainy grey, cool, foggy day of 13C or about 55F in mid day while driving around for my errands.

The trip was made more exciting for the fact that France is on strike once again at last!! Yes we are sometimes call the World Champions of strikes/demonstrations, but as I said, this is democracy at its best from the ground up, people initiated and this time no political party just common folks doing what they think is right. Do I agree you may ask freely? Well I am not in the position of many of them, been in middle management with a multinational French company in charge of 18 countries and 28 branches accounting wise. However, I do appreciate the hard working individual who comes to the end of the month and just barely makes it or not at all. The costs keep rising and the benefits reduced, I think the current president is going too fast. Remember, he was elected by chance as an opportunistic campaign changing from the Socialists party to create a new movement En Marche while the rest were going with problems of their own. I did not voted for Macron either mind you. Yes , I am a French citizen and voter on every occasion.

And yes even if all the focus of the media is on Paris (of course its the capital and bigger groups), we are on the go here in my Morbihan. In my area of Vannes, the capital of our department there have been escargot or snail drive blocage of main roads, blocking of oil refinaries,and home building materials stores, main intersections blocked like the roundabout of Luscanen and Kergiran. Today while grocery shopping a group march inside the E Leclerc store singing La Marseillaise national anthem in their yellow jackets (gilet jaunes)! I rode around and claxon my car in support,and wearing the yellow jacket in the dashboard of my car in support.  They deserve better in my opinion. Some pictures.

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inside E Leclerc hypermarket Vannes

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ramp off N165 to D779 and E Leclerc overbridge was block at Vannes

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traffic circle luscanen police there but off over bridge was block by gilet jaunes or yellow jackets

And youtube on the demonstrations in Saint Lazare train station and Place de l’Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) Paris.

 

Before all the above, we went to get our dog food at our favorite store Maxi Zoo in the town of Séné, next to Vannes. And of course, we got him his Christmas treat and yellow coat  So he will have a nice Christmas indeed, already one year old and very adorable borador! I have shown pictures and webpage of the store before.

While there, and in the company of my father, I invited all to Au Bureau, an English style sports bar that is very nice if a bit slow today. We had our reblochon burger , pint of leffe blonde and cafe gourmand for me and the rest different things to about 25€ per person. We have been here before with webpage and pictures, here are some more of today.

sene

sene

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From there we went to of course ,Micromania at the Carrefour shopping center in Vannes for my sons new exchanges and purchases.  All while raining as it was all day. Then, we headed to E Leclerc hypermarket in Vannes (Plescop) to do our groceries shopping before heading home.

vannes

Raining still and with demonstrations all over we rather stay home even if agree with all that as said.

You all have a wonderful weekend and if in France stay away from these events as fun as they can be, there is always the party crasher that can make your day a sad one. Stay safe

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

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2018

Some news from Bretagne, XXV

Well it has been a while not written on this series of mine, my creative genious lol! It has been blend in with other similar posts I am sure. Brittany is always in my mind, we call it home! for the last 8 years!! All in the Morbihan 56.

However, let me give you an overview on a beautiful region north of me in department 29 Finistére. I have written several pieces on it in my blog , but this one just surface while reading on it from the Le Monde newspaper. Morlaix and its bay are magical indeed. So why not dedicate one Bretagne news post only on it right ? No pictures as have plenty on individual posts on the region here in my blog. ok here I go ,hope you enjoy it

Bay of Morlaix; from the Exotic Garden of the island of Batz to the parish enclosure of Guimiliau, passing by the impressive mausoleum of Stone of Barnenez… The bay also finds itself in winter.A very nice spot in my lovely Brittany up north in Finistére dept 29.

Roscoff, the land-sea harmony at its best. The beating heart of this small port town is at its peak, between the old harbor and the cove of Laber. Facing the channel, the small city is warm as long as the door of the estaminets is pushed. The exotic and Botanical Garden of Roscoff brings together rare collections of plants, mainly from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile or Mexico..The greenhouse too succulents, the rock at the top of which the view on the deep water port and the bay is splendid, or even the Palm Grove are as many mini-gardens in a set that does not usurp its name.

At Batz, ginger and impatience from Roscoff, at low tide, boarding for the island of Batz is at the end of the wharf, a long footbridge that ends with steps that plunge into the sea, ten minutes walk from the quay. The Georges-Delaselle garden, which holds many surprises. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, it grows palm trees from Asia and Africa. Rediscovered in the 1980’s, this garden created from scratch by a Parisian insurer from 1898 is one of the most beautiful in France. Ginger, impatience of Zaire, digital of the Canary Islands: in the beautiful season, the names of flowers are enough to make you dream. From the top of the lighthouse, at 67 meters above sea level, the spectacle of the island entry is magnificent. On 170 hectares of arable land, the plots of potatoes, cauliflowers, asparagus or fennel are rhyming the seasons. The fishermen of the island also contribute to his reputation of an ideal self-sufficiency.

Plouescat version of Seychelles island. To the west of Roscoff, the granite blocks of the beaches of Plouescat evoke the Seychelles. At the Roc’h ar Mor, a family restaurant a little gruff, we have lunch facing the sea at the end of the beach of Porsmeur.

At Guimiliau,  What an ordeal! To reach the parish enclosures, it is necessary to drive due south from Roscoff, by the valley of the Penzé which leads quickly to Guimiliau. The Guimiliau enclosure is typical: A central Church, a monumental gate, a Calvary and a wall of enclosure that surrounds the whole. It is so perfect that it says everything about the village opulence of the 16C and 17C in this corner of Brittany. The great Calvary brings together dozens of characters, sometimes dressed in the fashion of Henri III, who reigned at the time of its construction, sometimes in the biblical garments of Palestine from the beginning of our era. The large porch and the admirable funerary chapel vie from the outside with the splendor of the furniture found under the blue vaults of the church: the baptismal fonts and the thousand-colored altarpieces testify to the genius of the anonymous artists of the early reign of Louis XIV. You have to be wary of parish enclosures: They can cause an addiction. Not to miss the retable of Commana, the ossuary of Sizun or the beam of glory of Lampaul-Guimiliau. In Guimiliau, a brand new architecture and heritage Interpretation Center (CIAP) ,the enclosures allows adults and children to measure the diversity of these unique buildings in the world.

At Carentec, a fort and oysters from the beach of Kelenn, in Carantec, the boat that leads to the château du Taureau at brisk pace. Planted in the middle of the bay of which it kept the entrance, this 16C fort, enlarged by Vauban in the 17C, became the star of local tourism. Carantec, it is a seaside resort opulent, which hides in its most exclusive district, at the point of Penn al Lan, two treasures: the Parc Claude-Goude which descends not so soft to the oyster parks, and the oysters of Prat ar Coum , the operation of Alain Madec. Before leaving Carantec, the walkers will not forget to take a stroll on the island Callot, little marvel of 40 houses that the high tide cut of the continent line half the time.

The Parthénon de Barnenez  ;Like a stone giant, the great cairn of Barnenez seems to sleep on the right bank of the Bay of Morlaix, facing the sea. This huge mausoleum, 75 meters long and 28 meters wide, conceals eleven burial chambers divided into two enclosed parts but of different ages: The primary cairn in dolerite, a local rock, is darker than the posterior cairn, which it serves of support. The latter consists of rubble and large granite slabs of l’île Sterec (Island). The eleven dolmens in the Neolithic corridor were exhumed in 1955 by workers who used the cairn as a quarry. Difficult to date precisely, probably between 4 500 and 3 900 years BC some slabs are adorned with decorations whose symbolic value is not entirely clear: a triangle axe blade for strength, a shining hair idol that would be the evocation of a goddess of fertility and death, or a U for the horned beasts and the zigzags that evoke the water.

The beauties of Morlaix sunk in a valley, dominated by an omnipresent viaduct, the city of Morlaix is a cul-de-sac. The Saturday morning market, place des hostages, in front of the city/town hall, the discovery of the house in Pondalezau 9, Grand’rue typical of these 16C wood-framed buildings,  and the promenade under the viaduct arches are the keys to a first approach. From the middle part of this two-story art work, accessible on foot, the landscape opens to the north, where the river runs towards the bay. On the upper floor, the trains come and go from Paris-Montparnasse. It is thanks to them that this exotic and not so distant land is also capital, a little Parisian when come the holidays season ,but is Breton, finally, in all seasons.

There you go a marvelous spot in my Bretagne/Brittany/or Breizh, degemer mat to all!

Some webpages as usual to help you plan your visit here and you must ,I say so!!!

Tourist office of Bretagne on Bay of Morlaix

Tourist office of the Bay of Morlaix in French

Tourist office of Finistére on bay of Morlaix

Chamber of Commerce Pleasure sea of bay of Morlaix in English

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

 

 

 

November 29, 2018

Galeries Lafayette, Paris of course!

Now, let me tell you about a store , a story , history and chic beauty of what France is all about. You have come here I am sure one time or another, we all have. I came here way back in my first encounter with Paris in 1972,and been back ever since, even a cardholder.

I like to tell a bit on the Galeries Lafayette, that beacon of French fashion and department store à la Française.

Galeries Lafayette is a brand of department stores belonging to the Galeries Lafayette Group. The flagship store is at Bd Haussmann in Paris.

The description and style is a must to visit and enjoy it. It was my first dept store visit in Paris even back in 1972 and has been our favorite, I am a card carrying member and do shop even online! Paris chic at its best ,even if some tells you tourists are many but that is because they go to the main store in bd Haussmann, and you go elsewhere you will tell the French do shop there too ::)

The ramp style of the main staircase is directly inspired by that of the Opéra de Paris. Overlooking the store at 43 meters in height, the huge dome built in 1912 of the main hall becomes the emblem of Galeries Lafayette. Its neo-Byzantine-style stained glass windows allow the rays of the sun to pass through the Great Hall in a warm light. The first vocation of Galeries Lafayette has always been the alliance of fashion and novelty. To do this, it acquires production units in order to create its own brand of clothing. It later made sewing pieces at the forefront of fashion in order to sell them at prices much more affordable than its chic competitors. It democratized the access to fashion and made its stores the indispensable address not only of the bourgeoises of Paris, but also of the sewing workers. The aisles such as “men’s clothing”, “interior decoration”, “Toys” and “Table art” are added to the classic aisles dedicated to women’s clothing. And for maximum loyalty, annual appointments are established with customers, such as the famous “3d”, created in 1958 and allowing to acquire current and good quality items at unusually low prices for three days. The department store subsequently hosts prestigious events by presenting creators or major artists of our time. In order to strengthen its link with fashion but also with the creation of all kinds, the store opens the gallery of galleries, a space located on the first floor and free of access to all that highlights the intrinsic links that exist between the fashion , art and design. In 1951, Edith Piaf gave a concert in front of the galleries of Boulevard Haussmann where is inaugurated the highest escalator in Europe!

paris

And the story I like is….

Théophile Bader and his cousin Alphonse Kahn joined in 1893 to take over a new store and open their first store in 1894 at 1, rue La Fayette in a room of 70 m2 which they call les Galeries. Both are Alsatian Jewish traders coming from the world of confection, while their competitors Boucicaut, creator of the Bon Marché, or Jaluzot, founder of Au Printemps, were previously sellers in stores. Their store (now the “Galeries Lafayette Haussmann”) initially 70 m² grew as it went along with the purchase of the entire building three years after its opening. The store is then renamed Galeries Lafayette. In 1905, the buildings of 38, 40 and 42 Boulevard Haussmann, as well as the 15 rue de la Chaussée D’Antin, are also acquired.

After the 1940 debacle, Galeries Lafayette underwent a “aryanisation” treatment: Théophile Bader, Raoul Meyer, Max Heilbronn, the store’s administrators and 129 Jewish employees were forced to resign. The Bader, Meyer and Heilbronn families are dispossessed of their property. Protected by the Nazis, the Swiss Aubert and the French industrialist Harlachol led the whole group Les Galeries Lafayette. Heilbronn and Meyer then engage in the French resistance and they were arrested by the Gestapo, then deported to Buchenwald, Max Heilbronn returned to France in April 1945. After many clandestine activities, Raoul Meyer took an important part in the liberation of Paris in 1944. As a result, a special board of Directors of Galeries Lafayette meets on September 20, 1944, Aubert and Harlachol are returned and Galeries Lafayette handed over to Raoul Meyer, hoping for the return of Max Heilbronn. In the meantime, Théophile Bader had died in Paris in 1942, paralyzed and despoiled of his property. Today, the Galeries Lafayette are the last French department store led by the direct descendants of its founder!!!

A bit of the spread of the group: Since 2014, Galeries Lafayette have been developing an offer of destocking with Galeries Lafayette Outlet stores, which today number eight in France. There is a total of 54 stores in France. The next project is for the 52-60, avenue des Champs-Elysées, which houses a monoprix and until 2013 a Virgin Megastore, was bought in 2012 by Qatar and Groupama. It is renovated from 2016 in order to welcome in 2018 a store of Galeries Lafayette in place of the Virgin. Outside of France you have stores in Berlin, opened in 1996, the first abroad. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Open in 2009. Jakarta, Indonesia: Opened in June 2013. Beijing, People’s Republic of China: opened in 2013, Istanbul, Turkey and forthcoming openings in Doha, Qatar; Luxembourg, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; Shanghai, in the People’s Republic of China, Kuwait City, in Kuwait. and Milan, Italy.

Paris

And the future is bright!

The Galeries Lafayette are preparing to hire. And not just a little. The group of department stores launches a large recruitment campaign in this month of September 2018 to hire 700 people in permanent jobs, reveals Le Parisien.newspaper. The group will indeed in the next few months open two department stores in Paris. First a point of sale of 6500 m² under the Galeries Lafayette on the Champs Elysées (see above) in lieu of the former Virgin Megastore for which she seeks 400 people. Then a large Italian specialty store called Eataly. Located in the Marais district, this store for which Galeries lafayette are looking for 300 people is the first of its kind in France. It is an Italian brand that the French group will exploit in France. Eataly will offer a large restoration area that should serve 2500 covered per day. Both stores are to be opened between the first and second quarter 2019.

Paris

my boys on Virgin, the future Galeries Lafayette on C-E

Some webpages to help you visit and enjoy this icon of Paris are

Official Galeries Lafayette

Official Galeries Lafayette Group

Tourist office of Paris on Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

In all , a wonderful experience that I have not even gone into the top floor terrace and restaurant and the soon to come Christmas 2018 celebrations. Awesome a must to visit, Galeries Lafayette.

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

 

 

November 26, 2018

Lovely nearby Auray!

Ok so we are getting into cold nights and dark , so winter is coming and the season to be merrier too. I used to lived here when moved into the Morbihan breton dept 56 and later purchase my house elsewhere. However, the town has charm and we always come here and shop here too.

What is here, Auray, the historical town where Benjamin Franklin landed to ask help from king Louis XVI for the American independance war with England, and he got it. Marquis de Lafayette but also Marquis de la Roulie of Fougéres Brittany and General Rochembau and Admiral Grace and his 29 French Caribbean flotilla to block Yorktown. And so on….Gen Pershing later said, Lafayette , we are here in WWI. And so on…

Let me tell you a bit more as have several posts on Auray in my blog but its been a while not by this area. Took advantage as my oldest is passing his driving licence here and I came to pick him up tonite.

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There is a nice small stadium here , the Loch. Stade du Loch, name after the river passing below in Saint Goustan.  It has Track and Field stadium in stabilized/ashen with 4 cloakrooms with showers and a 400-seating grandstand has a track of 400 meters. It includes 4 jump areas including 1 high jump, 1 long jump, 1 long jump and triple jump and 1 pole vault. Athletes will be able to find 3 pitches including 1 discus throw, 1 javelin throw and 1 hammer throw.   Football field in natural turf with lighting, 4 changing rooms with showers and a tribune of 400 seats.  Stabilized/ashen petanque/ball field with lighting. This sports equipment consists of 10 corridors (or runways, stations). And an asphalt basketball court.

auray

auray

auray

Right in the middle you have the Loch tower or la tour du Loch, a remnant of history I like.

The Tour du Loch is a tower located in Place du Loch, behind the football field (Loch Stadium).  It was on this lookout that Duke Arthur 1er built his castle. In 1364, a battle for the succession to the Duchy of Brittany pitted Count Charles de Blois, loyal to the king of France, and Jean de Montfort, supported by the English. The winner, Jean de Montfort, took the title of Duke Jean IV. The castle was destroyed in 1558 by order of the grandson of Anne of Brittany, Henri II, and his stones were sent to Belle-Ile to allow the construction of the Vauban citadel.

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This belvedere dominates the Loch river , where the port of Saint-Goustan was once very active. A walk through terraced gardens and large trees descends towards the quays without going through the Rue du Château. Or going from haute ville to basse ville in Auray.

At the end of the development of the port in the 17C, a pyramid tower was built for the monitoring of maritime traffic. But the development of the trees on the hillsides of the Loch obscuring the view, it became ineffective, therefore useless. In 1721, a new square tower at degrees, with a spiral staircase rising up to a cross, was built to replace the pyramid. From there one could then watch for the arrival of the ships. But here too the trees have grown. And if you go up the tower, it’s no longer for boats, but rather to watch matches from a privileged place.

Behind this tower, you can descend on the ruins of the old castle all the way down to the port of Saint Goustan, the beautiful harbor of Auray.

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You can go to the Place de la République where the city/town hall is located and go down on Rue du Château to Saint Goustan harbor as well. This is  a very steep hilly street so be prepared. Or as I do by car come around the parking Keriolet into the harbor or along the road D765 by the back side.

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auray

I went a bit into the old town of Auray lovely old world street so romantic me think, I can be dwelling here forever and nice places to drink and eat here too, that is in other posts.

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auray

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All a lovely small town nestled between the regional government powerhouses Lorient and Vannes as well as down from my town of Pluvigner.

Enjoy it as I do, Morbihan, Brittany, France the very best combination in the world. When can I see you around here? So far two of my internet travel sites friends have come fyi.

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

 

 

 

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