Posts tagged ‘Europe’

September 24, 2021

Rennes ,capital of Bretagne/Brittany!!!

I was just reading my Le Figaro newspaper and saw a nice article on Rennes, I know it brought many memories of been the first town ever visited in Brittany while living in Versailles and it was a business trip ! Once in the Morbihan of the region of Brittany had visited many times even for lunch ! Then, a memorable trip to get a second opinion on my dear late wife Martine cancer treatment, Always will remember, Rennes and with the article made me update this older instroductory post on the city capital of Brittany, Rennes. You can search my other entries on Rennes in my blog. I will just tell you a bit more on Rennes and hope you like it as I. I will minimize the pictures unless not shown elsewhere ok. Bear with me is long and useful me think.

Rennes is the capital city of the department Ille-et-Vilaine (no. 35) and as well the region of Brittany . The city is located in the upper Brittany at the confluence of Ille and Vilaine rivers from which the department takes its name. It is at 55 km from the coast of La Manche closest to the sea. Rennes is located 63 km from Saint Malo, 128 km from Angers , 210 km from Brest, 154 km from Caen , and 129 km from my house. Rennes is located at a more or less equal distance from the large seaports of the West which are Le Havre at 204 km and La Rochelle at 220 km , also located 120 km from the great seaport of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire. The only Breton city of more than 25 000 inhabitants that is not located on the seaside or estuary. So as you can see it is pretty fairly central to all.

The city is very easily accessible as it is located at the crossroads of a star network of expressways such as the N157 to the east to Vitré, Laval, le Mans and Paris. The N 137 to the south towards Nantes, La Rochelle and Bordeaux.  The N 24 to the west towards Vannes, Lorient, Quimper and me. The N 12 to the north-west towards Saint-Brieuc and Brest.  The D 137 to the north towards Dinan, Dinard and Saint-Malo.  The A84 to the north is towards Fougères, Caen, Rouen and Lille. The TGV Brittany, takes you from the train station or Gare de Rennes to Paris Montparnasse in about 1H25 (taken connections here to Paris and CDG )and 45 minutes from Le Mans by TGV. Rennes is also accessible in  about 2h22 from Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (TGV station), 1H22 from Massy TGV, 2H05 from Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland), the Rennes-Saint-Jacques Airport, located 7 km from the city center, on the town of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande. The airport opens the city of Rennes with national and European destinations such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Strasbourg, London, Barcelona, Dublin, Manchester,Madrid, Birmingham and Amsterdam, etc, I have taken it to Lisbon connecting in Madrid once.

The history of Rennes covers a period of several centuries. Too long to tell in one blog post !! Under the old regime (monarchy), the Union of the Duchy of Brittany in 1532  to kingdom of France gradually up Rennes to the rank of big provincial city. The establishment of the Parliament of Brittany in Rennes in the 16C and the Palace of Brittany in the 17C, however, allowed Brittany to preserve until the French revolution a certain autonomy with regard to the royal power of the time. Victim of a terrible fire in 1720, Rennes is one of those cities that have had two lives: before and after a disaster. In this case, it is the great fire of 1720 which, in one week, devoured 950 houses: almost half of the city disappeared in flames! In the process, architects were sent to give a new face to the city, but, in the medieval districts, the half-timbered houses remained. The medieval wooden center of the city is partially rebuilt in stone (granite and Tufa). After the fire of 1720, it was the architect Jacques Gabriel, who was responsible for rebuilding Rennes. He notably created the city/town hall, which can be visited. It traces rectilinear arteries, lined with mansions, which can be admired on the place de l’Hôtel de Ville and around: rue d’Estrée, rue Nationale, on the place du Parlement de Bretagne. In the middle ages, the city was surrounded by a wall fortress of 1200 meters,until the 15C, even as far as the 16C the most relevent aspect of the city was the Cathedral  The city is divided from 1983 into neighborhoods sort of like the arrondissement of Paris.  These count 12 such as the Centre, Thabor-Saint Hélier, Bourg-L’évêque, Saint Martin, Maurepas-Patton-Bellangerais, Jeanne d’Arc-Longs-Champs-Beaulieu, Francisco Ferrer-Landry-Poterie, Sud-Gare, Cleunay-Arsenal-Redon, Villejean-Beauregard, Le Blosne ,and Bréquigny. From a tourist point of view I mark in black the pertinent ones.

Nice outdoors were sprung such as the Thabor park  not far from the city center;  Oberthür Park; the leisure base of the Gayeulles in the north east of the city; Bréquigny Park in the south;  Les prairies Saint-Martin, along the Ille-et-Rance Canal. The Porte Mordelaise Gate until the 15C, the city grew in the shelter of this wall as its political and economic role increased. At the beginning of the 15C, the town of residence of the Dukes of Brittany, however, has no landmarks outside its Cathedral! Two new ramparts walls were built in the 15C to ensure the development of the city. This new enclosure is completed in 1452, but already another extension is underway. In 1449, Duke François I took the decision to extend the city walls to the south of the Vilaine river. In 1473, this enclosure was in turn completed. It was during this century that the city was embellished by equipping itself in 1467 with its first civil monument: the Tour d’Horloge (Clock tower), quoted by François Rabelais in his work of Pantagruel !

In 1561, the parliament of Brittany fixe itself in the city ,and is one of the emblematic monuments of the city, the Palace of parliament was built between 1618 and 1709. This masterpiece of classical architecture escaped the great fire of 1720 , but was largely destroyed by flames a few centuries later, in 1994. Completely restored, it still houses the Court of Appeals ,and the Rennes tourist office organizes guided tours there. Many mansions built for the gentlemen of Parliament, such as the hotels of La Noue and the Racape de la Feuillée, built on the place des Lices in 1658. The place Royale where the parliament of Brittany sits and the new square dominated by the city/town hall, less monumental and obedient to cannons less rigorous than its neighbor. The monumental aspect of the place Royale had a strong symbolic value. It was a matter of representing the Dominion of the royal power over the provincial parliament following the revolt of the stamped paper, the square serving as a jewel in a monumental statue of Louis XIV.

Around Place des Lices or Saint-Pierre Cathedral, in Saint-Sauveur, Saint-Guillaume or Saint-Yves streets, one can admire many witnesses of medieval Rennes such as the beautiful Saint-Yves chapel, Flamboyant Gothic style, which today houses the offices of the tourist office ; the corbelled houses from the 16C, they offer a flat facade, adorned with a clever interlacing of beams. See for example the Ti Koz house, at 3 rue Saint Guillaume, which was built in 1505 for the canons of Saint-Pierre Cathedral and is now occupied by a bar. The wooden-framed houses, also known as half-timbered houses, draw the boundaries of the old Rennes: they are typically present in the streets around the rue de Champ-Jacquet, and the place Sainte-Anne and Place des Lices. The rue Saint-Georges has kept many houses of the 17C some houses with wooden pans on rue Vasselot. Traces of the 16C on the facade of 20, rue dù Chapitre. On the basis of the plan of planning conceived between 1852 and 1855, large boulevards are drawn: cours de la Gare (present Avenue Jean-Janvier) to reach directly the city center from the station, Boulevard de la Tour d’Auvergne, allowing to facilitate the connection between Saint-Malo and Bordeaux (Imperial Road D137), boulevard de la Liberté between these two axes on the backfilled moat of the ancient ramparts already demolished at the time. This plan will be overall achieved; only the Champs de Mars will be reorganized to allow the extension of the barracks of the Colombier (dovecote).

rennes-rue-du-chapitre-maisons-en-bois-dec13

Some things to see I like, and many with posts in my blog already,

The city is endowed with structuring buildings such as the Imperial High School (1803), University Palace (1847-1855), new Hospital of Hôtel-Dieu  (1855), Prison (1863-1876), as well as numerous barracks located on the edge of the city. Finally, in 1897, Rennes inaugurated its power-supply tramway network, consisting of five main lines, facilitating urban travel. There are still some vestiges left today.

There is the Cathedral of St. Peter’s, one of the nine historic cathedrals of Brittany. Classically styled in facade and neoclassical interior, it is the seat of the Archdiocese of Rennes. The Saint-Sauveur Basilica celebrates Our Lady of Miracles and Virtues, protector of the city of Rennes. It has Gothic arches of the 14C and capped  by a spire with a gilded Virgin on top. The place Sainte-Anne houses the former convent of the Jacobins. The old Gothic chapel of Saint-Yves Hospital, located on Rue Saint-Yves, is now a museum on the evolution of Rennes, and is home to the tourist office of Rennes. 

rennes jardin-st-george- back palais madeleine oct12

In the heart of the new city district ,the Church of Saint-Germain, the former parish of the merchants and then of parliamentarians, is the last major edifice of flamboyant Gothic style (15-16C) in the city. The Church of Sainte-Thérèse, of Art Deco style, built between 1932 and 1936 , notably adorned with mosaics. Les Halles Martenot, built from 1868 to 1871, welcomes the Marché des Lices every Saturday morning. The Lices market is a Rennes institution: it takes place every Saturday, from 7h30 to 13h30 on this square where, in the past, chivalrous jousts were held. It is customary that after buying a few products, customers sit down at a nearby café table to enjoy them on the go.Yes !!! Not to missed the Marché de Hoche, at place Hoche, where there is a book exchange, food market ,and arts creation market at different days of the week.  Books every day, food Thursdays afternoon after 15h to 20h, and art creation every Saturdays from 9h to 18h.

The  Place Sainte-Anne  houses the convent of the Jacobins. The former Gothic Chapel of the hospital Saint-Yves, located rue Saint-Yves, is now converted into a museum on the evolution of Rennes, and houses the tourist office of Rennes. Located on the highest point of Rennes, the Church Abbey Notre-Dame-en-Saint-Melaine was used as the provisional seat of the bishopric of Rennes. Former Abbey Church, it kept all its buildings, its cloister and garden of the monks: the current  Parc Thabor. The tower and the transept of the ancient benedictine Abbey of Saint-Melaine are from the 11C. It has Gothic arches of the 14C and capped  by a spire with a gilded Virgin on top.

The Portes Mordelaises (gates), a two-towered châtelet and drawbridge, border the remains of the ancient medieval fortifications of the 3C, up to the Jehan Duchesne Tower of the 15C at rue Nantes, and the ramparts of the 15C to the east of the Gallo-Roman fortifications at place Rallier-du-Baty. The Palace of the Parliament of Brittany. The construction of buildings on the ground floor of granite and the floors of white stone came later such as the Hotel de Blossac, which hosts the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs, is built on this model.

The theater of the city was inaugurated in 1836 ; was designed to take the idea of the curved part of the city/ town hall to draw a convex building. At the same time, the Palais du Commerce, located on the Place de la République, was built from 1885 to 1911 this building is currently used by the Post office. The Champs Libres, a cultural installation comprising the activities of four structures: the main library of the city, the Museum of Brittany and the Space of Sciences. Opened in March 2006. Also worth a look the Museum of Fine Arts. Rennes has some fairly interesting contemporary museums. Since 1986, La Criée, a contemporary art center, has pursued an avant-garde policy: artists known or not, French or foreign: the range is wide and the choices sharp. In the same spirit, the Frac Bretagne supports and exhibits contemporary artistic creation: collections, exhibitions and in the bookshop, full of good surprises. There are also good exhibitions at Oniris, a private gallery located rue d’Antrain, in the city center.

rennes-opera-de-rennes-dec13

rennes-palais-du-commerce-post-office-dec13

About 40 works of contemporary art have been installed across Rennes. It is for example the fountain of the place of Coëtquen, carried out by Claudio Parmiggiani, an Italian artist close to the movement of Arte Povera. Or, in front of the Frac Bretagne, the alignment of the 21st century, where Aurélie Nemours delivers a very contemporary, massive and rectilinear interpretation of an old legacy of the Celts: the alignment of megaliths.

Launched in 1979, the Trans Musicales are the unmissable event in Rennes’ cultural life. But the programming doesn’t stop there. Mythos is the festival of speech: theater, tales, stories and music are in the spotlight. Jazz upstairs defends this timeless music. Organized since 1967 by students from a major school in Rennes, the Rock’n Solex mixes speed races at Solex and concerts. Usually held during the summer, Nightfall is a street arts festival.

As said, written on it before with plenty of info for visits but just out of simplicity and habit, here are some webpages to help you further plan your visit ,which are a must:

The Rennes tourist officehttps://www.tourisme-rennes.com/en/

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 tourist office on Renneshttps://www.brittany-tourism.com/discover-ille-et-vilaine/the-loveliest-places/rennes/

The Bretagne region tourist board on Renneshttps://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/rennes-and-brittanys-historic-gateways/

There you go folks, a wonderful introduction to glorious Rennes, capital of Brittany, Hope you enjoy the information and get you to taste Rennes and Brittany soon. Hope you enjoy the post as I, and again thanks for reading me since November 2010 !

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

September 20, 2021

Chartres its more than a cathedral!!

So looking at my older post realised only written on the Cathedral of Chartres, good enough. However, Chartres has a lot more to offer even if pictures are far and few that can find. I like to have it set in my blog the history, architecture of this wonderful city ,and very old sentimental pictures!! Therefore, let me tell you more of Chartres, its more than a cathedral!! 

The city of Chartres is located in the dept 28 of Eure et Loir in the Centre Val de Loire region. It is about 125 km from my house; 75 km from Versailles, and 90 km from Paris. Chartres is the seat of the community of agglomeration Chartres Métropole, the first of Eure-et-Loir; it brings together 66 towns. Chartres is traditionally a place of pilgrimage, especially on Palm Sunday for students, as well as Pentecost for the pilgrimage to Christianity. The city is also located on the Via Turonensis of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The heart of the city of Chartres is located on the Beauce plateau, on a rocky promontory that surrounds the Eure. The city then extends over a tongue of land bypassed by two arms of the Eure, as well as on a gentle slope on the side opposite the river. The outlines of the old town are delimited by boulevards and a few large squares from which major communication routes start.

No experience here as always by car but the Chartres train/bus station is located at the edge of the town of Mainvilliers. The main rail axis crossing the city is the line from Paris-Montparnasse to Brest; Although no long-distance train has served the station since the LGV Atlantique came into service in 1989, TER Centre-Val de Loire traffic is sustained, with several trips to Paris. The urban bus network Filibus and the interurban bus network, REMI,have no experience here either. However, plenty of good roads, Chartres is served by three main traffic routes of national importance: the national road 10 Paris – Tours – Bordeaux and the national road 154 Rouen – Orléans. The city is linked to the Pays de la Loire and Brittany by the departmental road 923, the route of which begins in Chartres and ends in Paimboeuf. Chartres is also connected to the motorway network by the A11 motorway (Paris – Le Mans – Angers – Nantes) with exits no 2 (Chartres Center / Chartres Est) at Propylées and no 3 (Chartres-Center / Illiers-Combray) at Thivars , both providing access to the metropolitan area of ​​Chartres.

A bit of history I like

Little is known about the urban development of Chartres between the 3C and 10C ; the ancient city seems to have faded in favor of small autonomous villages. The first installations of Christian buildings, attested by some texts, suggest that at the end of the 6C there were numerous religious establishments in Chartres, then run by the bishop. In 743, the city was taken by Hunald duke of Aquitaine and burned. In the 9C, the Normans ravaged the surrounding lands on several occasions and, in June 858, destroyed the city and probably the cathedral, In 876, a donation from Charles II the Bald, the Veil of the Virgin, was at the origin of an important pilgrimage which then makes the wealth of the city and the power of the local religious institutions, During the Renaissance of the 12C, an innovative thought flourished in Chartres, nourished by the rediscovery of Platonism. A spirit which derives directly from the grammatical rigor and scientific curiosity of the teaching of Bernard de Chartres, based on the ancients, and whose remarks on this subject, reported by Jean de Salisbury, have become among the most famous in the world of intellectual history,

In the 16C, despite religious disturbances, the city of Chartres remained faithful to the Catholic worship After having been the prerogative of Charles de Valois, father of Philippe VI, the county of Chartres was erected into a duchy by François I in 1528 for the benefit of Renée of France, Duchess of Ferrara. In 1568, the city was besieged by Louis de Bourbon-Condé, then from February to April 1591, by Henri IV ,Despite the resistance of the city, he was consecrated on February 27, 1594 in the cathedral of Chartres: he was the only king of France sacred in this cathedral Later, Louis XIV gave the Duchy of Chartres to the House of Orleans, whose heir carried, until Louis-Philippe, the title of Duke of Chartres.

During the French revolution, the cathedral was relatively protected, while several Chartres churches were sold, demolished or transformed. At the start of WWII, Jean Moulin, then prefect of Eure-et-Loir, had his first quarrels with the troops of the Third Reich while remaining with the 800 inhabitants who did not take part in the exodus during the battle. de France on June 15, 1940. He left his post in November 1940. The cathedral was saved from destruction on August 16, 1944 thanks to the American colonel Welborn Griffith. The latter questions the order received to destroy the cathedral, its leaders believing that the Nazis were sheltering there. He volunteers to go and check with another volunteer for the presence of Nazis soldiers inside. Noting that the cathedral is empty, he rings the bells to warn of the absence of an enemy. He was killed in action the same day in Lèves, near Chartres. He was posthumously decorated with the Croix de Guerre with palm, the Legion of Honor and the Order of Merit by the French government, as well as the Distinguished Service Cross of the American government , From August 16, 1944, des reconnaissance missions carried out in the region by the 3rd cavalry group of the US Army lead to the liberation of the city at the cost of heavy fighting carried out on August 18 by the 5th infantry division and the 7th American armored division belonging to the 20th Corps of the 3rd United States Army commanded by General George Patton , On August 23, 1944, en route to Rambouillet, which he reached at 18h, and where he had to meet with General Leclerc to finalize the final details of the liberation of Paris, General de Gaulle delivers an address from the steps of the large Post Office in Chartres: “How moved me the magnificent reception of Chartres, Chartres liberated! Chartres on the way to Paris, that is to say on the way to victory! “

Things to see in Chartres are numerous seen most but not all , of course the Notre-Dame Cathedral (see post), Saint-Pierre Church, rue Pétion, Saint-André Church, rue Saint-André, dating from the second half of the 12C, Saint Aignan Church, rue des Grenets, dates from the beginning of the 16C ; the Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Rechévres, rue de la Paix, and several others.

Chartres cathedral ND NF et PF c.2007

Chartres Cathedral ND cloister door RF PF c. 2007

The old town of Chartres consists of two parts, the upper town around the cathedral and the lower town on the banks of the Eure river . It constitutes a remarkable set of medieval and Renaissance buildings. The Place de la Poissonnerie is a characteristic architectural example of the Maison du Saumon and the Maison de la Truie qui file. The Maison du Saumon was inhabited by Catherine Maubuisson, lady of Borville who was at the head of an important import and export business. Besides the salmon, the facade features an Annunciation and Saint Michael slaying the dragon. The enclosure of Loëns was a group of buildings dependent on the cathedral chapter, which united, outside the cloister, a cellar, an attic, a prison and a common oven. In this enclosure, were stored the tithes and rents paid in kind, and imprisoned the condemned of ecclesiastical justice. It currently houses the International Center for Stained Glass. Of the Episcopal palace which welcomes Henri IV on the occasion of his coronation in 1594, only the outbuildings remain. The central building was erected during the first half of the 18C. The central pavilion of the facade, the Italian room and the chapel were built in the middle of the 18C. The building was abandoned until the city of Chartres made it its museum of fine arts. It was inaugurated in 1939, but was not really opened until 1948. The former Hôtel des Postes in a neo-Gothic style completed in 1928, In 2005, the City of Chartres acquired the building to install its media library after complete interior reconstruction. In 1948, a monument in homage to Jean Moulin was inaugurated thanks to a public subscription the monument represents a fist clenched on a broken sword. The statue, made of pink granite, immortalizes the action of Jean Moulin. A rose bed called “Resurrection” or “Roses of the deportation”, red magenta and pink, dedicated to the women deported to Ravensbrück, surrounds the monument. The Maison Picassiette house (or the House of a Thousand Pieces) is an example of naive architecture made up of glass mosaics and earthenware cast in cement. A route of 15 megaliths, partially covered with mosaics, allows the tourist who visits the house to go to the Picassiette district and to discover the works produced by the inhabitants in the cages of buildings, The theater of Chartres with its foyer-bar recently renovated and its 531-seat Italian-style hall make it a major center of Chartres culture. The Museum of Fine Arts is the main museum in the city. Located in the former episcopal palace, next to the cathedral, The Bishop’s Palace gardens consist of several terraces behind the cathedral, with a view of the city and the lower town. These gardens were the gardens of the former bishopric, today the Museum of Fine Arts.

And for a day in town, we ate with nice memories in the Créperie des Trois Lys, of course Breton specialities near the Porte Guillaume. Its half-timbering and beams undoubtedly give it character; the decoration and the subdued lights take care of the rest … result: a place where you feel infinitely good. Prices are still very good, so enjoy your meal! We sure will be back here.  webpage: https://www.creperie-chartres.com/

Chartres creperie les trois lys porte guillaume kids 2007

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and its a must are:

The city of Chartres on its heritage: https://www.chartres.fr/patrimoine/

The Chartres tourist office on its heritagehttps://www.chartres-tourisme.com/en

The Eure et Loir dept 28 tourist office on Chartreshttps://www.tourisme28.com/experiences/chabadaba-chartres/

There you go folks, a dandy of a town in my belle France, this is Chartres it does has more than a cathedral ! Enjoy the reading of a nice historical and gorgeous architecture town of Chartres. We will be back soon!

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

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September 17, 2021

Schaerbeek was memorable!!

Here nostalgic sets in again, doing my road warrior trips in Europe. We love the freedom of the road and gone to great distances. We went from our former home in Brec’h ,beautiful Morbihan all the way to Schaerbeek, next to Brussels, Belgium! A memorable road trip and fun for the whole family. Let me give you a bit more as have some post on it in my blog as well.

Schaerbeek is one of the 19 bilingual towns that makes up the Brussels-Capital in Belgium. It borders the towns of Brussels-city, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Evere, Etterbeek and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. The eastern part around the Square Vergote, Boulevard Lambermont, Place Jamblinne de Meux, the Diamant district and Josaphat Park are today a privileged place for a wealthy population for its architecture and its practical location, as it is near the European institutions and the financial heart of the city, NATO, the European School, the airport and the ring beltway road.

The first written mention of Schaerbeek is Scarenbeca in 1120 by the bishop of Cambrai (see post) in France in a document in which he also cites Everna, this neighboring town of Evere served as the administration and part of the revenues of the churches at the chapter of Soignies. In the Middle Ages, the territory of the town was part of the Duchy of Brabant. Schaerbeek was part of the “vat”, that is to say the suburbs, of the city of Brussels, and the village was annexed to the city in 1301. This situation continued until 1795, when the French administration decided to make Schaerbeek a town as under the French revolutionary period.

I did not use but for information only , Schaerbeek train station is one of the largest Belgian railway stations located on the territories of the towns of Schaerbeek (passenger building) and Brussels-City.  Also, the Bruxelles-Nord train station is located on the territory of the town of Schaerbeek.  While there walked all over but got to use a lot of public transport leaving our car in the hotel parking which was inexpensive, We took the metro line 1,5,and 6. As well taken the tramways 25 and 92, and the bus 66. We prefer the trams very nice clean efficient and see it all.

Brussels tram 25 by Schaerbeek feb13

Brussels bus 65 et 66 Schaerbeek stop jan13

We were here choosing at random a hotel that was nice ,well place, and inexpensive such as the Hôtel Bentley, avenue Rogier 51. This is a small hotel in a lively area, with parking and very close to public transport, it is really easy to access. The rooms are quite nice and well maintained. Recently renovated , and really cheap to spend a night here. It has 30 rooms equipped with a bathroom or a shower, a television and a telephone. hotel parking ,not bad at all. We love the fact you leave the key at front desk and just take off walking was nice even all the way to the Botanical garden center (see post); and then taking the public transport as above was fun for a change did not drove in the city!  webpage on the Hotels finder site : https://www.hotels.com/ho467234/?q-rooms=1&q-room-0-adults=2&q-room-0-children=0&f-hotel-id=467234&sort-order=BEST_SELLER&ZSX=0&SYE=3

Schaerbeek has some remarkable sites such as Josaphat Park (1904), the City/Town Hall built in 1887 at Place Colignon ; the Royal Sainte-Marie Church,(see post) the Maison des Arts, as well as many Art Nouveau and Art Deco houses particularly well preserved by example the Autrique House. It is also the birthplace of singer Jacques Brel , one of the best in the French language. The Halles de Schaerbeek is a Brussels cultural center located in Schaerbeek, 22 rue Royale Sainte-Marie ; in the former Sainte-Marie covered market built in 1865 and destroyed by fire in 1898. The renovation project, which began in 1984, is finished in 1997 and Les Halles became a cultural center. It has excellent museums such as the Musée Schaerbeekois de la Biére (beer museum) at 33-35 avenue Louis Bertrand, the musée de l’Horloge en Faïence or Clockarium museum at 163 boulevard Reyers, the before mention Autrique house or Maison Autrique, first home of Victor Horta in Brussels, at 266 Chausée de Haecht, and the Train World at Place Princesse Elizabeth.

The city of Schaerbeek on its heritagehttps://www.1030.be/fr/patrimoine-tourisme

The Brussels tourist office on Schaerbeekhttps://visit.brussels/fr/article/promenade-quartiers-schaerbeek

If you are handy with public transport, this is an area to stay to see all of Brussels inexpensively with a large family. We never fell any problems walking the streets here and sure will be back when possible. Schaerbeek was a pleasant find indeed. Hope you enjoy this post which again know have pictures,  but can’t find them in my huge vaults of over 50K photos! sorry. Ironic the ones I found were on public transports !!

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

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September 17, 2021

Some news from Spain CX

And back to sunny everything under the sun, and my series of some news from Spain! Things are picking up and my Santiago Bernabeu stadium is almost done already we beat Celta de Vigo there and next is Mallorca. I am looking forward to the official opening and going there for sure! For now, let me tell you about Spain ok

Dabid Muñoz, from Madrid, the chef of DiverXo, has been chosen as the “best chef in the world” by having achieved first place in the world Top 100 of the ‘The Best Chef Awards 2021‘, in a gala that was held this past Wednesday September 8 2021 in Amsterdam, In third place, in addition, the chef Andoni Luis Aduriz of San Sebastián and from the Mugaritz restaurant has been awarded, Yes!

Some nice artsy events coming up and long into next year worth the detour if in Madrid, I will be there soon,,,

La máquina Magritte at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza ,(see post) Retrospective of René Magritte , the great Belgian surrealist painter, whose work is characterized by its repetitive and combinatorial component: when he became obsessed with a theme, he repeated them with innumerable variations. The exhibition brings together more than 90 paintings and includes an installation and a selection of photographs and domestic films made by the author. From September 14 2021.

Sorolla. Tormento y devoción or Sorolla. Torment and Devotion at the Sorolla Museum (see post) until January 9, 2022 you can see a selection of the early years of the Valencian painter’s work, when he entered popular and devout manners, a genre that became fashionable during the last quarter of the 19C. Among his pieces, you can see those with scenes in sacred interiors and Valencian baroque churches, with episodes of folkloric religious devotion.

El Hijo Pródigo de Murillo y el arte de narrar en el barroco andaluz or The Prodigal Son of Murillo and the art of narrating in the Andalusian Baroque in the Prado Museum (see post). Exhibition dedicated to some of the main protagonists of the Andalusian pictorial baroque such as Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Antonio del Castillo, Juan Valdés Leal and Alonso Cano, They carried out their works in the 17C, works that have in common being organized in series, being mostly medium in size and having been commissioned by particular characters for domestic or oratory interiors. Among the selection you can see The Dissipation of the Prodigal Son (1660), by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo , or the series on the history of José, made by Antonio del Castillo. Will be on from September 29 2021.

El Jardín de las delicias or the Garden of Earthly Delights in the Matadero Madrid (see post), About fifteen artists from around the world contribute their multiple views on The Garden of Earthly Delights, Bosco’s masterpiece, in various formats, ranging from artificial intelligence or sound art to 3D animation, painting, sculpture or installation. The exhibition, curated by the SOLO Collection and co-produced by Matadero Madrid, can be seen from October 7 2021.

Another wonderful tour , I have been in sections over a period by car, recommended, The route of the Holy Grail in Spain, which traveled from Huesca to Valencia. The Jubilee Year of the Holy Chalice, which ends on October 28 2021, is an opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Valencia or to travel the route that the historic cup followed. To enter the Cathedral of Valencia, you have to pay 8 euros, not counting the climb to the Miguelete (two euros more). There are usually no queues, even in high season. It takes a few minutes to be in front of the maybe Holy Grail, the cup used at the Last Supper, from which Saint Peter and the first Popes later drank, This year, until the end of October, Valencia celebrates its Jubilee Year, a good reason to approach the cathedral or even to do the complete route that the Holy Chalice could follow since its arrival in Spain, through Huesca, to its current location in Valencia. They are just over 500 km (about 310 miles) in which some pilgrims have already been seen.

It is believed that this story began in the time of Sixtus II, who was executed in 258 in full persecution against the Church. His deacon, Saint Lawrence, then took care to safeguard the Holy Chalice that Saint Peter had brought from the Holy Land to Rome. Saint Lawrence, as is known, was roasted alive on a grill. But the current patron of Huesca would have managed to send the chalice to his hometown before that unbearable martyrdom. They say that in 553 the Grail was transferred to the Church of San Pedro el Viejo in Huesca, built by Bishop Vicencio precisely to contain the sacred relic, and where it could have been until the year 711. During the Muslim invasion, the chalice would have been passed through different refuges such as the Cave-Hermitage of Yebra de Basa, in the Alto Gállego region; the monastery of San Pedro de Siresa, where it is said that he was from 815 to 831; or, already in the 11C, San Pedro de la Sede del Real de Bailo, the Cathedral of Jaca and, of course, the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, (see posts) where it would have remained until 1399, before being transferred to Zaragoza, Barcelona and Valencia, where it would have arrived in 1424 from the hand of King Alfonso the Magnanimous. The Chapel of the Holy Chalice, (see post) where it can be seen now, has exhibited this piece since 1916. The Valencian Holy Chalice is made up of a glass 7 centimeters high and 9.5 centimeters in diameter, made of agate, which could correspond to the time, the beginning of the Christian era; and a foot with handles added later, A must to see in Valencia.

And bring you some news of my roots and my dear Tenerife (see post). Let’s do some traveling ok,

Tenerife has a surface area is 2,034 square kilometers, its maximum length is 87 kilometers and its maximum width is 45 km. It has two airports: the north and the south. But not only airplanes divide the island, so does its landscape and even the weather. In the north you can breathe a more tropical, leafy climate with black sand beaches. On the other hand, the south stands out for its drier heat and its endless beaches. The first thing is that the proximity to Teide, the visit par excellence, will not define anything, because it is located in the center of the island.

The most typical option, especially if you go with children or as a family is the southern area full of resorts with all-inclusive options, various amenities and many on the beachfront or just a few minutes walk. It is also understood by the climate, hotter and drier than in the north, so you will have guaranteed beach and pool days. In the South, you also have attractions such as Siam Park, the largest water park in Europe and the best in the world.

The northern area offers a quieter vacation. Of course, you must take the weather into account, because it is more likely that you have cold, cloudy and even rainy days. In the north are many of the island’s must-see spots, such as La Laguna (World Heritage Site), La Orotava or Garachico. Nor can you miss the natural pools of Bajamar or the famous Teresitas beach, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife with golden sand (brought from the Sahara in the 60s), turquoise water and usually) calm, it is considered the Caribbean of Tenerife. The gastronomic options of the north are more attractive thanks to its guachinches, simple food houses that are mainly concentrated in the La Corujera area, in the town of Santa Úrsula, these are spaces within farmers’ houses that, to give way to their wine production, they gave it to taste and accompanied it with something to eat. Thus, you will not find great menus or many pretensions, but food typical of the island (grilled meats, stews …) and the best wine. Yes do enjoy it as I!

This is the dam where Doctor Zhivago was filmed, the most spectacular in Spain, The Salto de Aldeadávila, in the province of Salamanca, is 139.5 meters high and is located in the amazing gorge of the Duero River, La Presa de Aldeadávila, (a dam) also known as the Salto de Aldeadávila, is not the highest in Spain, but perhaps the most spectacular. It is located in the amazing gorge of the Duero River, in a granitic canyon, the largest natural canyon on the Iberian Peninsula, which extends for almost a hundred kilometers, with walls of more 400 meters high, and serves as the natural border between Spain and Portugal in the Arribes del Duero Natural Park. It is located 7 km. from the Salamanca province town of Aldeadávila de la Ribera, In 1965 it rose to world fame as it appeared in the opening and ending scenes of David Lean’s film Doctor Zhivago, which received five Oscars. Also, Tim Miller shot some scenes from the sixth installment of Terminator, Dark Fate movie. Impressive!

A long but worthy me think tribute to Francesco Sabatini of Palermo, Sicily Italy! And his contribution to my Madrid!

Three hundred years ago, one of the most contributor to creating the image of Madrid as a great European capital was born in Palermo in 1721 Francesco Sabatini. He was the architect responsible for some of the most representative monuments, palaces and corners of the regeneration of the city during the reign of its great patron, King Carlos III.
I like to start at the Puerta de Alcalá. It may not be the only Sabatini construction to which a song has been dedicated, (very famous in Spain) but it is certainly the best known and most symbolic. And Alcalá’s was not even the only gate that he designed for Madrid. Also his is the one in San Vicente, on the Paseo de la Florida (although the one designed by Sabatini was dismantled at the end of the 19C and the current one is a copy inaugurated in 1995. And we could also add the Royal Gate through which the Botanical Garden was entered, (see posts).


His direct source of inspiration was not the architecture of ancient Rome and ancient Greece, but that of the Italian Renaissance. This can be seen very well in the building of the Real Casa de la Aduana (current headquarters of the Ministry of Finance, almost at the beginning of Calle de Alcalá), with that air of a 16C Italian palace created by its façade of padded granite and brick and the pediments alternating curved and triangular of the first-floor windows.

The Paseo del Prado (then known as the Salón del Prado) was one of the great projects of the reign of Carlos III, a place for walking and recreation for the people of Madrid, with roundabouts and fountains, where several spaces dedicated to science would also be located such as the Astronomical Observatory, the Cabinet of Natural History (today the Prado Museum) and the Royal Botanical Garden. (see posts) Sabatini was commissioned to design the latter, to move from its previous location next to the Manzanares river the more than two thousand plants that the botanist José Quer had collected in his travels through Europe. However, the garden that can be visited today has little to do with Sabatini’s design, since it was finished by Juan de Villanueva, the brain behind most of the Prado project who would modify it by creating the current layout divided into square barracks,


The architectural history of the General and Passion Hospital (which you will know better as the Reina Sofía Museum) is complicated, since delays, financing problems, deaths, invasions and other difficulties caused the project to go through several hands, The current building, has inspiration and work from José de Hermosilla, Sabatini, Ventura Rodríguez, Juan de Villanueva and others such as Jean Nouvel and his famous extension are mixed, without the project ever being fully completed . However, it is to Sabatini that we owe the current image of the building was the Italian who added to the project the monumental facade open towards Atocha.

King Carlos III who, at that time was still Carlos VII of Naples discovered Sabatini when he helped his father-in-law, Luigi Vanvitelli, in the construction of the Royal Palace of Caserta. So it is not surprising that, when Carlos unexpectedly acceded to the Spanish throne after the deaths of his half-brothers Luis I and Fernando VI, he turned to Sabatini to reform Madrid’s Royal Palace to his liking. for example in the Hall of Halberdiers and in the Hall of Columns and projected an extension of which only a part was carried out, the one known as San Gil wing, in the palace complex, which later served as private rooms of Isabel II, Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII. He also modified, already by order of Carlos IV, the main staircase of the palace, changing its orientation.

And the famous Sabatini Gardens, (see post) next to the palace? Well, curiously, they have very little to do with the Italian architect, since they were created long after his death, during the Second Republic (1931-1939). The name apart from being an appropriate tribute, since it is a neoclassical style garden is mainly due to the fact that they occupy the place where the royal stables designed by him used to be.

The Royal Palace is not the only one where Sabatini worked in Madrid. That of the Marquis de Grimaldi (adjacent to the Senate and which today houses the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies) is less imposing, but is entirely the work of the Sicilian, The Genoese Jerónimo Grimaldi, Secretary of State of Carlos III ; despite the fact that the palace has kept his name, Grimaldi never lived in it, since he resigned from his position even before it began to be built. For this reason, his first tenant was the Count of Floridablanca, Grimaldi’s successor. After him it was occupied by Manuel Godoy, who had it expanded and luxuriously redecorated and who took there his large collection of paintings, including Velázquez’s “The Venus of the Mirror” and the two majas -nude and dressed by ​​Goya. Later it was the residence of the marshal Murat during the French Napeolonic occupation, the Royal Library, headquarters of several ministries, the Admiralty Palace and the Museum of the Spanish People.

The magnificent Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is known for the spectacular dome, the largest in Spain and only surpassed in the world by those of Saint Peter in the Vatican, the Roman Pantheon and Santa Maria del Fiore , It is not his work, but that of Francisco Cabezas and Antonio Plo. Sabatini’s contribution was the main façade of the basilica, which overlooks the Plaza de San Francisco, at the crossroads of Calle de Bailén, Carrera de San Francisco and Gran Vía de San Francisco. What is unique about Sabatini’s work here is that, instead of joining a straight façade to the basilica’s circular plan, he made the façade itself convex, an ingenious solution that also made him set back the two towers. between which the dome protrudes.

The Convent of the Comendadoras de Santiago, This old convent gives its name to the Plaza de las Comendadoras, where some of the most lively terraces in the University neighborhood are located. Again, Sabatini shares the limelight with other architects, such as Manuel and José del Olmo (who designed the church) and Francisco Moradillo (courtyard and Sacristy of the Knights, among other rooms). In fact, the part designed by Sabatini is the latest, which closes the block and unifies all the rooms of the convent, which until then were divided into different houses.

Proof that Sabatini was not only an architect of palaces and monuments, but that he knew how to give practical solutions to very different spaces are the many works he did in the Casa de Campo, all of them very functional in nature, It was he who restored and completed the wall that closes the enclosure and it was he who (with the help of the engineer José de la Ballina) was in charge of channeling all the waters of the Royal Site, with a set of measures that include the small aqueduct still known as Sabatini or de la Partida and an ingenious set of oscillating bars that allowed the various streams that ran through the place to save the wall, preventing floods. Sabatini also built five bridges over the Meaques stream, a small tributary of the Manzanares river. Of two of them, no remains are preserved and two others are partially blinded and their structure covered with cement. But the most beautiful and original of them can still be seen in good condition, the Culebra Bridge, originally called Narrow Bridge and now known by that name due to the meandering granite parapets that crown its brick arches.

The Convent of San Pascual , Sabatini not only worked for king Carlos III in Madrid, but also in other places linked to the royal court, such as Aranjuez. His most important work there was the facade of the Church of the Convent of San Pascual, in front of the Old Hospital of San Carlos, built at the same time. It is a very classicist facade, although with some touches of Italian Baroque, especially in the two towers. On its main altar there is a painting by Antonio Rafael Mengs, but perhaps the most curious thing was that both on the altar and in other parts of the church there were initially works by Tiepolo, However, after his death his style went out of style and his paintings were badly withdrawn and discarded. Those that survived are now in the Prado Museum.

Hope you enjoy this tour of Sabatini’s Madrid, a great walk idea indeed, I have done on foot on various trips and its wonderful, One reason we say Madrid to Heaven and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day !

There you go folks, plenty of news and this time more tips to enjoy my dear Spain! Hope you find it useful and be prepare, times are improving and travel is back with the health pass and the mask…

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

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September 17, 2021

Arsenal Naval Base of Brest!

Ok so once again going to tell something different, it can be a tourist destination more of a military naval base but can be visited with prior arrangement of the tourist office of Brest and will be the highlight of your trip here me think. Of course, I have mentioned in previous posts, but will like to update the post on the  Naval Base of Brest.

The Brest arsenal or military port of Brest is a naval base of the French Navy consisting of a set of military and naval installations located in the Penfeld River in Brest, dept 29 of Finistère in the region of Bretagne. This is the second French naval base, after that of Toulon. In the popular workers’ language the local Brestois, call it the “arsouil” (do not want to say the meaning here but soldiers needs). It is right in city center after the castle naval museum of course!

brest-base-navale-port-nov12

The Penfeld, in the confines of the military port, is almost entirely bordered by wharves, which however present the major drawback of not being attached directly because of the level of the rock that in many places are seen at low tide. There are also positions, mainly on the left bank, by means of overflowing, in order to allow some small units to moor in Penfeld, and to use some facilities such as the great crane. There four spikes were to be attached to the south pier of the military harbor, parallel to each other, arranged in an angle to the pier and rooted every 250 meters, the first spur being rooted at about 600 meters from the rooting of the pier. Their common length of 270 meters and the depth available to their right would allow accommodating the largest boats of the Allied Marines, especially the aircraft carriers, hence their name. This basin, located in the so-called Troulan Cove, on the left bank of the Penfeld, is currently named pool no. 1. It is the oldest of them, so called Basin No. 1 and was built in 1683, modified in 1745 and 1864. Its dimensions are 115 meters in length for 25 meters width at the level of the docks.

brest-base-naval-complete-nov13

Until 1966, France was part of NATO’s integrated command. As such, France had to have facilities for the reception of Allied marine boats, including American aircraft carriers. For the arsenal of Brest, this obligation was done by the creation of four pitches, the ears of aircraft carriers. The two basins of Pontaniou are located in the Cove of Pontaniou, at the confluence of the Penfeld and the Valley housing the rue Saint-Malo, now crossed by the building of the Salou an area located upstream of the current Pont de L’Harteloire, where currently are basins 4, 6 and 7 of the arsenal.

Not much used upstream of the pont de Recouvrance,(see post) these stations welcome however downstream of this bridge the old naval rigging, the port’s skippers and the trans rades providing services between Brest and the Crozon peninsula (see post) . Bordered by eight lines of pontoons launched perpendicularly to the wharf, this wharf is the privileged area for the docking of the units of the National Navy based in Brest, in particular for the minehunters, the avisos, or the buildings-school. Two parallel pontoon lines are embossed in front of the underwater base and have a similar role. One of the most spectacular workshops is certainly the cordage (Corderie), if only because of its length.  In Brest, there were two cordages, after the oldest one, installed along the Brest basin, burned down: the low cordage and the high cordage stretched under the prison and the maritime hospital. The Madeleine building, or Pontaniou prison, was built during the first decade of the 19C. Originally intended for the sailors and workers of the arsenal (and not the convicts), it was a model prison, with a certain comfort whose flagship point were the individual cells. Located just beyond the lift of Pontaniou and the building to the Lions,( bâtiment aux Lions) it was outside the confines of the arsenal.  Transferred to civilian use in 1952 the building is still standing today.

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The building to the Lions, the name given comes from the ten lead lion heads that serve as gargoyles. It is also referred to as the lifting of Pontaniou.  This building, located at the bottom of Pontaniou Cove, had a double objective: to close the Pontaniou Cove , and to promote communication between the plateau of the Cayenne ,where was the second depot of the crews of the fleet, and that of the Capuchin.  The lifting of Pontaniou is a four-story dike bridge, 58 meters long, 10.5 meters wide and 20 meters high. The site successively housed the convent of the order of the Capuchin, a hospital, a barracks and in the 19C, large industrial workshops.  Retrofitted to the community in 2010, the workshop buildings were conserved and rearranged to accommodate commercial and cultural activities (e.g. Media Library and Cinema). The mole of the viaduct allows to ensure the connection between the workshops of the Capuchin plateau and the docks. This imposing construction is elevated to the north of the plateau to which it is connected by a 30 meters long arch. This is one of the most representative monuments of the naval arsenal steam period.

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In all an impressive naval base right up to the city center of Brest! Some webpages to help you plan your trip are:

The Brest metro tourist office on the naval base: https://www.brest-metropole-tourisme.fr/sortir-bouger/activites-culturelles-et-patrimoine/patrimoine-culturel-brest/base-navale-de-brest-15284

The Bretagne region tourist board on Brest: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/brest-terres-oceanes/brest/

The FInistére dept 29 tourist office on the Capucins shops of Penfeld: https://www.toutcommenceenfinistere.com/ateliers-des-capucins-brest

There you go folks ,something different off the beaten path and well worth the visit; the Naval Base of Brest is unique for a visit. Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

September 16, 2021

La Villette, that other park of Paris!

This is an anormaly for me right off the bat; this is one of my first areas visited in Paris as came by it with my then girlfriend in 1990 and later wife and many more times by here. I have come by here more often than I can remember and saw the transformation of this area from  a low unknown to a vibrant lively area and up and coming real estate values.  I am talking about the La Villette and its park complex in the 19éme arrondissement of Paris. I could not find my pictures for this place darn it, even if look several times in my vault, therefore, will need to do the post as my black and white series, no pictures.

I used to drive into it from the old N3 now D603 road direction Meaux. It covers the northeast quadrant of Paris bordering the boulevard periphérique, the first mention of La Villette goes back to 1198, and the area was like many annexed to Paris proper in 1860.  It is divided into four quartiers or neighborhood such as La Villette, Pont de Flanders, Amérique, and Combat. The Grande Halle de la Villette, metal structures built in 1865-1867, it was the site of one of the biggest slaugherhouses in Paris and today it serve for cultural events and concerts.

The parc de la Villette, is located on the quartier Pont de Flandre  is one of the biggest park and the biggest green area of Paris. It was built on the slaughterhouse of the Villette that were demolished in 1867 under orders of emperor Napoléon III and the prefect Haussmann , and finally raze in 1974. It has 55 hectares of which 33 are green areas so making it the biggest in Paris, larger than the Jardin des Tuileries with 25,5 hectares, parc des Buttes Chaumont with 25 hectares and the Jardin du Luxembourg with 23 hectares. It has the Porte de la Villette on the north, the porte de Pantin on the south and the Canal de l’Ourcq crosses it in the middle. Two pedestrian passarelles connect the canal with the north and south section, and also there is a floating mobile bridge half way between the two passeralles that allow walkers and bikers and mobility impaired persons to cross it. There is a passages garden inspired from the exposition planetary gardens in the grande halle on a site of an old lamb corral; this island of green has 3000 sq meters with an ecosystem of forest, and dry stones.  It is a space of culture and teaching around ecological themes.

The things to see here in my opinion are:

The Grande halle de la Villette, with a nave of 9000 sq meters, the space Charlie Parker  with 4 000 sq meters, four studies and 8 balconies on the room Boris Vian.

The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie opened in 1986. The Géode , a large dome shape building of 36 meters (119 ft)  in diameter housing a cinema IMAX cinema on a  geodesies dome opened  in 1985. The Cité de la Musique , concert hall opened in 1995 and music museum opened in 1996.  The conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris opened in 1990.  The little Villette the old pavilion Paul Delouvrier. The Zénith de Paris, opened in 1984 and stayed concert hall. The Philharmonic de Paris created in 2015. The space Chapiteaux with Chapithôtel opened in 2013 to house the artists. The submarine ArgonauteCinaxe , this is a cinema made like a flight simulator ,very good! you play the movie with the same movements lol! The Trabendo opened in 1994 under Hot Brass spectacles hall . The wonderful Cabaret Sauvage concerts spectacles since 1997. The theater Paris Villette opened in 1986 in the old pavilion de la Bourse aux cuirs (leather stock exchange) . The Hall de la  Chanson in the pavilion of Charolais behind the Grande Halle.

Others are the WIP Villette opened in 1987 first as the Maison de la Villette. The  beltway spaces for residence of artists , an equestrian center, Pavillon Janvier, Cité Administrative, and the thematic gardens such as the  jardins passagers, jardin des bambous, jardin des frayeurs enfantines, jardin de la treille, jardin des équilibres, jardin des îles, jardin des miroirs, jardin des dunes et des vents, jardin des voltiges, jardin du dragon, jardin des ombres, and jardin des dessins. It has an equetrian center, sculptures, and music kiosques all around, great place to spend a day in a different Paris.

It has gorgeous walks along the Canal de la VilletteCanal Saint Denis,and Canal de l’Ourcq all meeting here going into a great esplanade to the Rotonda de la Villette ,the old tax authority now been converted into a Brasserie restaurant ,and very popular. The luminous cinema MK2  overlooking the canal is romantic ,beautiful cinema house.

All around these canals you have the bassin de la Villette, the biggest body of water in Paris with 700 meters long( 2310 ft) .  The aforementioned Rotonde de la Villette  is one of 54 buildings done in 1784 to received the taxes on products entering Paris; it faces the Bassin de la Villette.  For difference there is a nice church St Jacques et St Chritophe de la Villette at place Bitche a nice small park in front will do good for a rest and some snack/drink to recharge your walk, I know I did ! Here you can get to many peniche boat and cruise boat on the canals and bassin the most famous is the Canauxrama firm right on quai de la Loire. Also, the newer Paris Canal same side of the quais .(see posts).

To have a quick drink spend a lovely time here other than inside the Parc de la Villette, you have a wonderful cafe MK2 inside the MK2 cinema overlooking the bassin de la Villette, Belushi’s at rue Crimée is wonderful and youthful with good prices, and great views. For a heartier meal I suggest the Au Boeuf Couronné, for great beef and the signature of Gerard Joulie restaurants in Paris, located at 188 ave Jean Jaurés, metro porte de Pantin ,line 5 . There is a hostal St Christopher’s (inside is Belushi’s) next to it with lively ambiance, great prices, and very easy located on metro Crimée line 7.

In all a labyrinth of good ambiance always guarantee

The Paris tourist office on the Grande Halle: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71597/Grande-Halle-de-La-Villette

The Paris tourist office on the general parc de la Villette: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71469/Parc-de-La-Villette-Plein-Air

The Official parc de la Villette with a map is better: https://lavillette.com/plan-du-parc?view=overall

The concerts hall Zenith with programming: http://www.le-zenith.com/fr/programme/programmation.html

The official Cité de la Musique on programming: https://philharmoniedeparis.fr/fr

The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie webpage: https://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/home/

The Géode webpage; https://www.lageode.fr/?lang=en

There you go folks, a wonderful parck for all to enjoy the parc de la Villette is awesome. Hope you enjoy the black and white post on it as I. You will do good to visit this off the beaten path area of Paris, it is very nice. And, remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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September 16, 2021

Place Charles de Gaulle or Etoile of Paris!!!

Ok so in my rounds of updating older posts in my blog during these times of ours I came across new finds! One of them was on this very famous square where I had concentrated on the  Arc de Triomphe but not on the Place de l’étoile as it is better known even if officially now is Place Charles de Gaulle. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on it; hope you enjoy it as I.

The Place Charles-de-Gaulle, formerly Place de l’Étoile is an important roundabout, in the center of which is the Arc de Triomphe, (see posts) and which constitutes one end of Avenue des Champs- Elysees (see post). Place de l’Étoile, as well as the Arc de Triomphe itself, is shared like a cake between the 8éme, 16éme and 17éme arrondissements of Paris with the 8éme bounded by avenue de Wagram and the ‘avenue Marceau; the16éme bounded by avenue Marceau and avenue de la Grande-Armée; and the 17éme bounded by avenue de la Grande-Armée and avenue de Wagram. It has a diameter of 241 meters, which gives it an area of ​​approximately 4.55 hectares.

The Charles de Gaulle square is one of the prestigious squares in Paris. Although it was renamed in 1970, its old name of “Place de l’Étoile” is still the most common in use. The square is surrounded by two streets forming a circle around it: the rue de Presbourg and the rue de Tilsitt which perpetuate two diplomatic successes of Napoleon and are the names given in 1864 to the circular street. Taking place between avenue Kléber and avenue Victor-Hugo, rue Lauriston constitutes a thirteenth lane radiating around the square but it stops at rue de Presbourg and therefore does not disturb the harmony of the square itself, Another underground passage, the Passage du Souvenir, is reserved for pedestrians, and connects the median where the Arc de Triomphe is located to the sidewalks of Avenue des Champs-Élysées and Avenue de la Grande-Armée.

The Charles de Gaulle square is serve by the RER A and metro lines 1, 2 and 6 under the square, serving it from the Charles de Gaulle – Étoile station. On the surface, the RATP bus lines 22, 30, 31, 52, 73, 92 and 341 run all or part of the square and serve it through stops on the various avenues leading to it. At night, the square is served by the Noctilien lines N11, N24, N53, N151 and N153. OF course , me only use the metro line 1 and 6 as well as the RER A here, The others are for information only,

A bit of history I like, This square was created around 1670 at the top of the old butte temoin or witness hill in the northern part of the Chaillot hill. The mound was called the Butte de l’Étoile from 1730 or more commonly the Étoile de Chaillot, because of the alleys which intersect there and give the shape of a star. The architect builder of the King who gave this shape was Ange Gabriel, and he made sure that the path was of an equal slope from the place Louis XV to the Neuilly bridge, was carried out from 1768 to 1774, The mound was lowered by 5 meters and the land removed was used to backfill the Champs-Élysées and to form the slopes of the current rue Balzac and rue Washington. In 1787, during the construction of the wall of the Fermiers généraux or general farmers was created the barrier of the Etoile ,also called barrier of Neuilly, The square was at the limit of the territories of the towns, created in 1790, of Passy which extended to the south of the avenue de la Grande Armée and of Neuilly to the north of this avenue. The town of Passy was annexed to the city of Paris in 1860 forming the 16éme arrondissement as well as the part of the territory of the town of Neuilly corresponding to the Ternes neighborhood of the 17éme arrondissement.

A bit on the arch even if plenty of posts on it, The construction of a triumphal arch in the center of the square, begun in 1806 by order of Napoleon I, and was completed in 1836 under the reign of Louis-Philippe I. The Place Charles de Gaulle in its current appearance was built under the Second Empire on the initiative of Baron Haussmann and Napoleon III. From 1854 and around the Arc de Triomphe,were completed in 1836, twelve avenues in the shape of a Star. The “Hôtels des Maréchaux” or marshall’s hotels , who were twelve in number, they are bordered by the twelve avenues starting in a star around the square. These U-shaped constructions on the rear facade have their entrances on a circular street such as the rue de Tilsit and the rue de Presbourg. The motifs of the facades are common with Greek friezes, pilasters, garlands, balcony with balusters, cornice with modillions decorated with palmettes, etc.

The twelve avenues clockwise are:

The Avenue de Wagram named after the Battle of Wagram won by Napoleon in 1809 in Austria. Formerly boulevard de l’Étoile or boulevard Bezons. The Avenue Hoche named after Lazare Hoche French General. Formerly avenue de la Reine-Hortense under the Second Empire and boulevard Monceau before. The Avenue de Friedland named after the Battle of Friedland won by Napoleon in 1809 in East Prussia since the Second Empire. Formerly boulevard Beaujon, The Avenue des Champs-Élysées, named after the Champs-Élysées, the place of the Underworld where virtuous souls stayed in Greek mythology. The Avenue Marceau named after François Séverin Marceau French General. Formerly avenue Joséphine, The Avenue d’Iéna, named after the Battle of Jena won by Napoleon in 1806 over the Prussians. The Avenue Kléber named after Jean-Baptiste Kléber French General. Formerly avenue du Roi-de-Rome and boulevard de Passy previously. The Avenue Victor-Hugo named after Victor Hugo French writer. Formerly avenue d’Eylau and avenue de Saint-Cloud, The Avenue Foch named after Ferdinand Foch Maréchal de France. Formerly avenue du Bois (de Boulogne) under the Third Republic and avenue de l’Impératrice under the Second Empire, The Avenue de la Grande Armée named after Napoleon I’s army Formerly avenue de Neuilly. The Avenue Carnot named after Lazare Carnot, Member of Parliament and Minister. Formerly avenue d’Essling under the Second Empire named after the lost defeat in 1809, and the Avenue Mac-Mahon named after Edme Patrice Mac-Mahon Marshal of France. Formerly avenue du Prince-Jérôme.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After all the above ,you have these twelve avenues forming six axes: The axis avenue Mac-Mahon and avenue d’Iéna, the axis avenue de Wagram and avenue Kléber, the axis avenue Hoche and avenue Victor-Hugo, the axis avenue de Friedland and avenue Foch, the axis avenue des Champs-Élysées and avenue de la Grande-Armée. And the axis avenue Marceau and avenue Carnot, All ridden by yours truly awesome !!

Paris arc de triomphe on C-E jan12

Some of the grand events on this Place Charles de Gaulle or Etoile in my opinion were : On June 25, 1792 around 21h, the royal family (Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette) entered Paris by the Etoile barrier returning from the flight from Varennes after having bypassed Paris by the outer boulevards. The carriage surrounded by two hedges of National Guards and a silent crowd then descends the Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Tuileries Palace ( now gone facing the Jardin des Tuileries see post), Also, on April 2, 1810, the day after the civil marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie-Louise at the castle of Saint-Cloud (now gone just the gardens remain), the imperial procession heading towards the Tuileries Palace where the religious marriage was to be celebrated passed under the Arc de Triomphe under construction covered by a dummy monument with a frame covered with canvas and between the buildings there are lavishly decorated barriers. On December 2, 1852, the day of the proclamation of the Empire, Napoleon III left on horseback from the Château de Saint-Cloud and entered Paris via the Arc-de-Triomphe to reach the Palais des Tuileries, On November 11, 1920, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier was installed.

The Paris tourist office on the squarehttps://en.parisinfo.com/transport/90841/Place-Charles-de-Gaulle

The Champs-Elysées webpage on the squarehttp://www.champselysees-paris.com/en/sightseeing-details/place-de-l-039-etoile/208

There you go folks, a wonderful spot in my eternal Paris. You must have been by there ,now you know a bit of the history, next try a ride by car around it!!!Awesome! The place Charles de Gaulle is one heck of a square to be around while in beautiful Paris. Oh by the way the text is new in my blog, the picture is old . Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

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September 16, 2021

Inner Paris transports !!!

This is a subject of many questions over the years by visitors unknown ,closed friends and family members. Paris been a nice side city has a huge choice of local transports that can be confusing to many. However, as I tell my contacts/friends/family coming from big cities , getting public transports in Paris should not be a problem. For me learning the rope of public transports in the NJ/NY metro area, coming to the Paris metro area was a breeze.

I have several posts on transports in Paris on all modes. However, i like to provide more information and remind you of the one mode most ask me questions about, the metro:subway:tube of Paris! Therefore, here is my take on them briefly, if detail questions you can ask me.

One of my biggest affirmation is that once in Paris, walking is the best and sublime way to see the beauty of the most beautiful city in the world above ground. By far, walking is the main mode of travel in Paris, it provides 40% of all daily journeys, whether internal to Paris or between Paris and the suburbs. On the surface, it represents 75% of trips, while sidewalks cover only 40% of the road network. The public transport network in the Paris area is particularly developed. The metro, which provides 20% of Parisian travel (whether internal to Paris or between Paris and the suburbs), which makes it the second most important mode of travel after walking, is its most emblematic representative. Yes and for some reasons beyond me the one that gets more questions and confusion.

I have written many posts on the metro and its lines so rather than redo here is a link to all those posts:Have a good reading folks, and hope it helps. The specific webpage in Paris is the RATP: https://www.ratp.fr/en/plan-metro

Line 1: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/04/metro-de-paris-line-1/

Line 2: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/05/metro-de-paris-line-2/

Line 3: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/05/metro-de-paris-line-3/

Line 4: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/05/metro-de-paris-line-4/

Line 5: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/06/metro-de-paris-line-5/

Line 6: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/06/metro-de-paris-line-6/

Line 7: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/06/metro-de-paris-line-7/

Line 8: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/07/metro-de-paris-line-8/

Line 9: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/07/metro-de-paris-line-9/

Line 10: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/07/metro-de-paris-line-10/

Line 11: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/08/metro-de-paris-line-11/

Line 12: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/08/metro-de-paris-line-12/

Line 13: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/08/metro-de-paris-line-13/

Line 14: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/09/metro-de-paris-line-14/

Other lines: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2020/03/09/and-yes-other-metro-lines-of-paris/

The tramway appeared, during the 2000s, as an ideal mode of transport to ensure the transversal service which is lacking in the suburbs (the Transilien lines being rather radial), The Paris area has a large network of bus lines operated in part by the RATP (Paris and inner suburbs), in part by transport companies grouped together within the Optile group under the authority of Île-de- France Mobilitiés.

Paris has six major terminus railway stations (Gare du Nord, Gare Saint-Lazare, Gare de l’Est, Gare Montparnasse, Gare de Lyon and Gare d’Austerlitz) providing both main line traffic and commuter traffic. Main line traffic has grown considerably with the TGVs which leave from the Gare de Lyon (to Lyon, Marseille etc), from the Montparnasse station (to Rennes, Nantes, Bordeaux etc), Gare du Nord (towards Lille London etc) and, Gare de l’Est (towards Strasbourg, Meaux etc). The Saint-Lazare station is the first station for the number of departing trains (suburbs and main lines) while the Gare du Nord is the first for trafic, Seven of the eight suburban railway lines (Transilien) end in the large Parisian stations in cul-de-sac and complete the heavy service to the suburbs provided by the regional express network of Île-de-France (RER) . The five RER lines (A B C D E ) are rail gauge lines serving both the suburbs and the center of Paris.

More info on the Paris train stations in French: https://www.oui.sncf/gares/paris

Paris has had a constantly growing network of cycle paths since 1996 ,The market was taken over in 2018 by the Smoovengo consortium, which offers 30% of electrically assisted bicycles, There are about 17000 taxis in Paris, with Taxi ranks organized into three categories: 28 large stations are located near the main tourist sites or major city squares with taxis available 24/7; 90 neighborhood stations located near the main traffic axes and 316 local stations located near public buildings (hospitals, hotels, theaters, etc.) and intended for the removal and collection of users. They provide 0.5% of Parisian trips.

Find your Vélib station here: https://www.velib-metropole.fr/en/map#/

Find your Taxi stand here: https://www.taxis-paris.fr/plan-stations.htm

The road network includes about 800 km of highways in Île-de-France. There are about ten radials, the main ones being the Autoroute du Soleil (Dijon, Lyon, Marseille), the Autoroute du Nord (Lille), the autoroute de Normandie (Rouen, Caen, Le Havre), Autoroute de l’Est (Reims, Metz, Strasbourg), Autoroute d’Aquitaine (Orléans, Bordeaux) and Autoroute de l’Océane (Le Mans, Nantes) as well as three circular ring road surrounding historic Paris, the A 86 motorway, completely encircled in 2008, located in the inner suburbs and the Francilienne traced about ten km further outside. The average speed is 15.2 km / h, but 17.3 km / h after 20h and 17.8 km / h before 7h (even if the mayor of Paris impose a 70 kph limit! in the BP boulevard périphérique) Electronic sensors are placed in the roadway of the main Parisian axes and almost all of the region’s highways. From August 30 2021 Paris has enforced the 30 kph limit inside Paris proper. The data make it possible to determine the flow of traffic and to indicate traffic jams and estimated travell times between different characteristic points handle by the SYTADIN system. webpage: http://www.sytadin.fr/

The old STIF is today the Ïle de France Mobilités for all transports even in English : https://www.iledefrance-mobilites.fr/en

There you go folks, a condense information post on the inner transports of Paris with heavey emphasis on the metro/subway/tube as per popular demand. Hope it helps you travel smoothly thru and in Paris in your future travels to the capital of my belle France.

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

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September 15, 2021

The Beaubourg of Paris !!

Ok while in Paris passed by several times and visited once, the area ambiance was my main motive to stop by over the years. I admit contemporary arts is not my forte, I am from an older era ::) However, this is one of the monuments to see while in Paris, a must. Therefore, let me give you an introduction to the Centre Pompidou or as we call it  the Beaubourg! 

The Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture (CNAC), commonly known as the Georges Pompidou Center, or Centre Pompidou or the Centre Beaubourg or simply the Beaubourg is a polycultural institution born from the will of the President. Georges Pompidou, a great lover of modern art, created in the heart of Paris an original cultural institution entirely devoted to modern and contemporary creation, where visual arts would be associated with books, design, music and cinema. It is located in the Saint-Merri neighborhood or quartier, in 4éme arrondissement or district of Paris, between the neighborhoods of Les Halles, in the west, and the Marais, in the east.  On January 31, 1977, the Georges Pompidou National Center for Art and Culture was inaugurated by President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in the presence of Prime Minister Raymond Barre, Mrs. Claude Pompidou and numerous personalities. Later on February 2, it was opened to the public.

paris-centre-beaubourg-front-nov19

Within the National Museum of Modern Art / Center for Industrial Creation (MNAM / CCI), it has one of the world’s three largest collections of modern and contemporary art and the first in Europe. It also houses major galleries of temporary exhibitions, theaters and cinemas, and the BPI, the first public reading library in Europe. On either side of the square, two annexes house the IRCAM and the Brancusi workshop. 

paris-centre-beaubourg-side-nov19

At the end of 1997, after having celebrated its twentieth anniversary, the center closes its doors to be renovated in depth. Since its reopening on January 1, 2000, these changes have made it possible to exhibit more works and offer more dance, theater and music performances. The space dedicated to young people is also developed with the new children’s gallery where two exhibitions are presented each year. Since December 2003, Espace 315, located on the first level, south side (just before the south gallery), hosts, on 315 m2, contemporary artists. It is here that the winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize is exhibited every year.

paris-centre-beaubourg-arriving-nov19

The main building, 166 meters long, 45 meters wide (60 counting the exterior escalator) and 42 meters high (52 meters on the square side), consists of eight floors accessible to the public of 7,500 m2 each, including two floors of basement (-1 and 0), the street floor being at level 1 of the mezzanine, a useful floor area of approximately 45,000 m2, given the voids of the first floors of the Forum and the courtyards located at 5th and 6th floors, which roughly correspond to the floor area. Nevertheless, the building actually has a total area of 103,305 m2 on ten floors, taking into account the technical and parking spaces that extend to the square, and not including the 600 m2 Brancusi workshop and IRCAM. The height between each plateau is seven meters under ceiling except that of the Forum which is ten meters. The upper floors offer a wide and wonderful view of Paris. It is reached by the diagonal of the external escalators which, crossing the entire zigzag façade, give the building its visual signature.

The museum is divided into section too long for me to describe fully here but these are ,the National Museum of Modern Art and the Industrial Creation Center, the Public Library Information; the Atelier Brancusi, on the square, and the IRCAM at place Stravinsky square. A specific building houses the Institute for Research and Acoustic Coordination / Music, including a gauge room and variable acoustics, studios, anechoic chamber and a media library. the offices as well as certain activities are distributed in four buildings in the immediate vicinity of the center.

Beyond the controversies aroused by an architecture that appeared daring before finding its place in the landscape and in the urban fabric of Paris, the Centre Pompidou has quickly established itself as an important success in terms of attendance, thanks to an attractive diversified programming and with staggered opening hours. The Centre Georges Pompidou rehabilitated in France the museum concept, which was in a state of collapse at the time of its creation, and its success was at the origin of the proliferation of museum institutions in the 1980s and 1990s. Arts always Paris!

The official Centre Pompidou: https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en

The Paris tourist office on the Centre Pompidou: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71538/Centre-Pompidou

There you go folks another wonder of my Paris, in my belle France open to the world. And even if not my favorite (need to say this) it is a must to visit while in France! Centre Pompidou for what is due.

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

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September 15, 2021

A quick look at Pont L’Evêque!!

This is another of my road warrior trips going back and forth all over my belle France. I have not seen it all but working on it ! This is a find in my vault so the text is a new post, however, will do in my black and white series, no picture! I like to bring into my blog the quant old Pont-L’Evêque. This trip was about 2008. Hope you enjoy the post as it reminds me of former trips.

The town of Pont-l’Evêque is in the department of Calvados no 14 of the region of Normandie,sort of in between Caen and Rouen. We visited it coming down from Deauville on the road D677/D579 on our way to Lisieux. You can see these posts in my blog as well. In Jan 2019 it absorbed the town of Coudray-Rabut to create one town still under the name of Pont-l’Evêque. The new town extends mainly along the road D677/D579 ,which in itself is halfway between Deauville and Lisieux. You can, also, come on the A13 autoroute de Normandie to the A132 towards Deauville. There is a train station gare Pont-l’Evêque on the line Lisieux-Deauville.

A bit of history I like. n the Middle Ages, the town became an important administrative seat of the Viscount of Auge. Occupied by the English during the 15C, then affected by the Wars of Religion, Pont-l’Évêque then experienced an era of calm and prosperity. At the end of WW II, on August 24, 1944, after three days of fighting, the city, 65% destroyed, was liberated by the Allies.

What took our interest as my boys love was the Domaine du Houvre right off the D48 and A13 that takes you on the outside of Lisieux, This conservatory farm raises Norman farm breeds, say a total of 20 breeds of different domestic animals such as cows, goats, sheeps pigs etc. It has a nice nature trail for an interactive passion hike over 3 km, along the Touques river. Also, leisure team and carriage rides. It is seating right at the point of the Lac de Pont-l’Évêque or lake. Right at the lake there is a leisure water park with aquatics activities call Lac Terre d’Auge, All great for the country family in you and us ! There is a nice camping park next to it for fun activities and a nice vacation me think call the Terre d’Auge camping.

The Domaine du Houvre webpage: http://ecodomaineduhouvre.fr/UK/index.php

The lac Terre d’Auge webpage: https://loisirsnormandie.fr/lac-terre-d-auge

The Camping park Terre d’Auge webpage: https://www.terredauge-camping.fr/fr/

Some of the things to see in Pont-l’Evêque are :

The Church Saint Michel 15-16C located on the Place de l’Eglise. The Dominican Convent of Isle, 17C, which has now become the “Dominicans Cultural Space”, located on the Place du Palais-de-Justice. The City/Town Hall, former Hôtel de Brilly, at 58 rue Saint-Michel, Also, the wonderful half-timbered houses of the Vaucelles district , Interesting here since 1972, Pont-l’Évêque cheeses has benefited from a controlled designation of origin (AOC) and has contributed to Normandy’s reputation as a gourmet destination. On the grounds of the oldest Maison de Calvados, a new kind of museum puts visitors’ five senses to the test. Through seven rooms with unexpectedly realistic settings, the Calvados Père Magloire experience promises a fun journey through the centuries, from the Vikings to today, to learn more about the history of the department and the making of eau-de-vie which is the Calvados brandy, It is located at route de Trouville. This is great for a future visit,webpage: https://www.calvados-experience.com/en/

The town of Pont l’Evêque on its heritagehttps://www.pontleveque.fr/ma-ville/patrimoine/

The Terre d’Auge tourist office on Pont l’Evêquehttps://www.terredauge-tourisme.fr/fr/decouvrir/je-decouvre/pont-l-eveque/

There you go folks, another dandy off the beaten path of my belle France, These are road warrior towns because we passed rather quickly, will need to be back for an in depth look, Until then ,hope you enjoy this post on Pont l’Evêque as I

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

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