Posts tagged ‘Europe’

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.


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.



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.





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!


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.


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.


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 8, 2018

Some news from Spain LXXII

So back for a little nostalgic look at my beloved Spain. And in preparation for my next trip abroad to Asia this Sunday.  Cloudy and about 12C or 54F but no rain, and in my wonderful Madrid is sunny as sun and same temps at mid-day time.

Let me go into my Spain latest news that took my attention

The new local of the Mercado de la Reina (Queen’s Market Group such as Diurno , Mercado de la Reina, Museo Chicote, Terraza de la Reina) , and now the Taberna de la Reina, located at Gran Via, 10, is a different gastronomic space. Castizo, original and Spanish cuisine that recovers the spirit of the old taverns and traditional food houses. The large bar with table area and high chairs where tapas is the perfect place for snack time. The restaurant offers two independent rooms: a large lounge of chairs and colorful tables  ideal for an informal lunch or dinner in a relaxed atmosphere where you enjoy and share classic recipes presented with pleasure , and the room that overlooks the Calle de la Reina, with windows of more than eight meters of height and a roof that is a nod to the Spanish Dehesa, with a family of pigs in real size grazing under a holm oak. Classic stews like the bull’s tail(delicious), the Madrid callos, the Iberian ham 100% Acorn of D. O Guijuelo, etc Grand. More here:

Group Mercado de la Reina here:

Hoyo de Monterrey (something to enjoy in Spain from Cuba, I do not smoke but know how to make them from grandparents teaching) . It presents its first Reserva, in its iconic model: Epicure No. 2, one of the symbols of the brand and one of the most popular Habanos  (cigars) vitolas in the world. It is, without a doubt, one of the robust ones most appreciated by the cigar smoker. The selection of the 2012 harvest leaves for this epicure No. 2 Reserva has been subjected to a long and careful aging process for 3 years. The selected mix has been produced by expert blenders, and has been evaluated in joint tastings organized by the Institute of Tobacco made with more than 50 experts tasters: members of the National Tasting Commission from the most prestigious factories of Cuba, and experts of the Cuban industry and of Habanos S.A., in which evaluate all the organoleptic conditions of the blend  proposals to be selected. It consists of a unique world production of 5,000 numbered boxes, representing the brand’s absolute excellence. Each box contains 20 cigars. They come with a ring that accompanies the traditional ring of the brand with the name of the brand and vitolas.

A bit on the essence of wine and especially that of my beloved Spain. It’s been a long time since the wine stopped being just food. We seek  the experience , a wine that knows how to tell something and transmit its particular history. Everything goes to look for a tipicity, an expression of the origin of where it is born and done. You have to differentiate, because there are no bad wines. The future of wine is not to lose sight of the past, with everything we already know today. The highest degree of differentiation comes from grapes and soil. This is why autochthonous grape varieties are also being chased and rescued. The grape with which a wine is made will be more and more watched. The mark will be the name but the variety will be his surname. Or who knows if vice versa. A new classification of vineyards will also be entered as a result of the intention of rearranging the wine-growing territory of many appellations of origin. In fact, this zoning is already underway in Campo de Borja, in Priorat, La Rioja and Bierzo, to point out those that have more advanced their projects.

Wine tourism has a lot to say in the experience  of wine culture and it will not be rare to finally rescue the wine routes beyond the simple walk through neighboring wineries. The neighborhoods of Bodegas; the underground caves where the wine was made until recently, such as those of La Rioja, Campo de Borja, areas of  Galicia or Castilla y León; The changing landscape during the vine cycle and everything that accompanies the wine from the characters to the gastronomy, contributes to enrich a product with soul that will be exploited by tourism. And they will definitively break the traditional concepts of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva and special attention shall be paid to subtitles relating to the elaboration and viticulture as “grain to grain”, “fermented in cask”, “Teardrop Wine”, “on Lees”, “by Bleeding “… The ratings will become more complex but more accurate. The result will be an even greater increase in brands that, contrary to what can be thought, benefit the  lifelong  by representing a safe value. A vibrant world full of novelties, with a dizzying figure close to the 20,000 references looking for a perhaps smaller audience, but definitely more select. Wine is presented as an increasingly richer, more varied, more complex and much more numerous world. Translation by me from El Confidencial newspaper. And Wine/Food from Spain official webpage here: Food and Wine from Spain

The prestigious Maison de Champagne Louis Roederer announces its alliance with Martín Berasategui, the most Michelin-starred chef in Spain, for which the 3-star Michelin restaurant Martín Berasategui de Lasarte (Guipuzcoa) becomes the official ambassador of Louis Roederer in Spain. Louis Roederer, for many the most prestigious Champagne house that today remains independent. Louis Roederer made history also this 2018 being the first champagne of the world to receive 100 points of the prestigious publication Robert Parker. In addition, Louis Roederer Brut Premier was awarded in 2018 as the best champagne in the world by the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships (CSWWC), the most prestigious competition in the sector, known as “the Oscars of champagne and sparkling wines”. The restaurant here:

The Champagne Louis Roederer here:

About 400 years ago came to the world Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, one of the most universal painters of history although his date of birth is not known exactly and only consists in the records that was baptized on January 1 1708 in Sevilla, with the experience of an early orphan and the plague at the gates of the great metropolis of the 17C, became expert in scenes customs as young beggars  or  children eating grapes and melon’.

But it is sure that he did not spend long periods of time away from his hometown. On one of these occasions he traveled to Madrid to meet his countryman Velázquez, already seated as a chamber painter at the service of king Felipe IV. His connection with royalty gave him a status of great Baroque genius. Four centuries later, the art historian Pablo Hereza deserts the idea through his documentary review ‘ Corpus Murillo ‘, which draws the figure of a teacher with enough creative freedom  to reach quotes above his counterparts in the Court. The launch of the book was part of the events with which the city council reinforce the genius of the artist. As a great climax, this past Thursday opened  to the public the first exhibition anthological in the Museum of Fine Arts, composed of almost 70 works of Murillo from the UK, France, Germany, Mexico or the United States that the public can enjoy until March 17, 2019. The exhibition is entitled  ‘ Murillo IV Centenario ‘, with the aim of making the figure of the great Baroque name in Sevilla better known. More here: Fine Arts museum of Sevilla

More in the city of Sevilla on Murillo 400 anniversary are:

This is the exhibition of  Aplicación Murillo: Materialismo, charitas, populismo or  Application Murillo: Materialism, Charites, populism, an exhibition with five spaces that demonstrate the validity of the work of the painter in the 21C. More than 600 works of artists make up a sample in which you can see works by Picasso, Man Ray, David Hockney, Jean Luc Godard, Víctor Erice and Patti Smith, among others. Given the breadth of the exhibition, this can be visited in five permanent spaces in Sevilla such as in the Santa Clara space, the exhibition hall Atín Aya, CICUS, the Hospital de la Caridad and the Hospital de los Venerable de Sevilla. In addition, there will also be specific points of the city dedicated to this exhibition such as the Patio, the Cultural Factory Center or the co-working room of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

The musical innovations that were being lived in the Europe of the 17C. The Turina space is the place chosen for the performances and where the orchestra Capella Cracoviensis will parade with the program ‘ Seven Deadly Sins ‘, the formation  Marco Beasly ‘ which brings to Seville its program ‘ Odi et amo ‘ as well as the grouping Alternative history. That the figure of Murillo again has the relevance of the one that was enjoyed in life, back in the 17C, when he became the most celebrated painters of the Spanish Baroque. More here: Espacio Turina Sevilla

A bit of philosophical thought here as I do try to bring me back to Earth. Franz Kafka: “No escribo como hablo, no hablo como pienso, no pienso como debería pensar…”or in English would be something like “I don’t write as I speak, I don’t speak as I think, I don’t think how I should think… ” Think about it in today’s world.

And now for the season to be merrier , Merry Christmas to all my readers and friends, family that looks at my blog.

From last Friday November 23rd Madrid Lights up for Christmas. The lighting, for which more than 7 million LED lamps have been used, has counted with the creativity of different Spanish architects and designers. Streets like those of Jorge Juan, Marcelo Usero, Pedro Laborde, Boltaña or Gran via (whose luminaries emulate a starry sky, with a cat trying to catch the Stars), premiere design. In addition to the traditional lights and chain, the firs and cherry blossoms will illuminate spaces in the center and in the districts such as the Glorieta Carlos V( roundabout), the Matadero ( slaughterhouse)  or the Plaza de Oriente.

From November 29 to January 6 2019, the bus transports of Madrid (EMT) and the City Council of Madrid make available to the citizens a special service of tourist buses discovered to enjoy the illumination and the Christmas decoration of the capital. The route of the already traditional Naviluz, which lasts 40 minutes approximately, has a unique stop of access and descent in the Plaza de Colón (in front of 30 Calle Serrano) and an optional stop only of descent in the Gran via, to the area of No 49. The traject is done by going to the following streets Calle Serrano, Puerta de Alcalá, Cibeles, Calle de Alcalá, Gran Vía, Callao, Jacometrezo, Santo Domingo, San Bernardo, Gran Vía, Calle de Alcalá, Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá, Calle Velázquez, Calle Ortega y Gasset y Calle Serrano.This runs are done between 18h to 23h (last trip at 22h) every day except Dec 24,31 and Jan 5. More on the bus ride here:.

And if planning for 2019 in my beloved Spain is not too late, here are some suggestion for something off the beaten path in Spain, everything under the Sun.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is one of the most charming places on the peninsula. Thanks for that , it became the home of the Game of Throne. Its success is due to its composition: An island beaten by the Cantabrian, a narrow bridge and a beautiful hermitage. More info:

The gorge of the Gaitanes is a canyon dug by the river Guadalhorce in the municipality of Alora, famous for the path that runs past it from the heights. This road, in its beginnings, allowed the maintenance of the water channel. The path of the king, inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, is 400 meters high and requires prior reservation to be able to access it. More info:

Brihuega has been known for a long time with the addition of Jardin de la Alcarria, thanks among other things to the lilac color of those fields in which lavender is cultivated. In the middle of July is celebrated in the city the Festival of the lavender. The rest of the year can also be visited for only 2 euros.More info in Spanish:

More than 300 meters of free fall where the water fades to collide with the rock of the mountain, that is what awaits you in the waterfall of the Nervión. The beauty of the place lies in the impetus of the flow, so it is recommended to visit after a period of heavy rain or thaw. Otherwise we will find a dry gorge, since most of the river Nervión passes through the interior of the mountain.More info:

Considered the Versailles of the Middle Ages, Medina Azahara, this summer, also as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The place is the perfect complement for your visit to Cordóba. Tickets to the place are free for residents of the European Union and 1.50 euros for the rest of the visitors.More info:

To enjoy some salt mines is the Cultural Park of the Mountain of Salt (parque cultural de la montana de sal), in the municipality of Cardona, Barcelona province. After closing the mining site in 1990, it ended up becoming the park that is now since  2003. In it you can see the history of the industrial exploitation of the valley and visit the interior of the galleries of the mountain of salt in a guided tour to 86 meters of depth. The price of the ticket is around 21 euros. More info:

Fervenza do Toxa is a spectacle of water, light and sound, formed by a waterfall of the river Toxa between the parishes of Pazos and Martixe, in Silleda (Pontevedra), considered the highest in Galicia in freefall. The route to this waterfall allows some detour as the one that leads to the Pazo de Oca. An idyllic place in summer (inviting to the bath) and in winter, when the waterfall flows full of water. More info:

Enjoy Spain, everything under the sun. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!


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December 8, 2018

Alma, has a name in Paris, Pont de l’Alma and Place de l’Alma!

And here I come to you with another street, bridge ,square of my eternal Paris. Well, I told you there are so many, impossible to name them all,and all beautiful in their own way… However, to me , there are only a few all around the 16éme, most of them.

Let me tell you about the gorgeous combination of the bridge or Pont de l’Alma,and the square or Place de l’Alma. Paris of course!!! I have given metro and bus connections but the best is to walk it from wherever you are, Paris is walkable indeed,and once inside is the best way to see the city of lights!

The Pont de l’Alma is a bridge that connects the Quay Branly (7éme arrondissement, on the left bank) to Avenue de New York (in the 8éme and 16éme arrondissements, on the right bank). On the right bank, it separates the ports of the Conference and Debilly, and on the left bank, those of the Gros-Caillou and the La Bourbonnais ,connecting the Quai d’Orsay with the end of Avenue Bosquet and Avenue Rapp , in place de l’Alma.  Its name commemorates the Battle of  Alma (1854) during the Crimean War. Its name recalls the victory of the French and English won over the Russians on September 20, 1854, on the banks of the River Alma (Crimea).  The north end of the bridge is served by the Alma-Marceau metro line 9 and the south end, by the train station of the RER C pont de l’Alma as well as bus lines  42, 63, 72, 80 and 92.


A bit of history I like

The bridge was built from 1854 to 1856 and was inaugurated by Napoleon III on 2 April 1856. For the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the bridge was doubled upstream by a footbridge, known as the Passarelle de l’Alma . From 1970 to 1974, the bridge is completely replaced, due to its narrowness and compaction.

The Pont de l’Alma is located near the tunnel where the Princess of Wales (Lady Diana) was mortally wounded in August 1997. This tunnel, often referred to as the pont de l’Alma tunnel, is actually between the bridge and the Place de l’Alma. At the overhang of this tunnel stands the flame of freedom, a real size replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty. This monument, offered by the International Herald Tribune in 1989, commemorates the Franco-American friendship and thanks France for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty. It was diverted from its initial function and spontaneously became a place of contemplation for the admirers of the deceased princess.


On the old bridge, each of the two piers was decorated, upstream and downstream, by a statue representing one of the four regiments that had bravely fought during the Crimean War: a Zouave and a grenadier, a hunter on foot and a gunner.  The bridge rebuilt between 1970 and 1974 with only one pile, 142 meters long for a 42 meters wide, only the Zouave was retained (but not on the same side), and the other three statues were moved.

The Hunter on foot is visible from the A4 highway against the south wall of Gravelle in the Bois de Vincennes; the Grenadier is in Dijon, birthplace of its sculptor, on the avenue du Premier-Consul,, facing Lake Kir; the Gunner was offered and transferred to the La Fére (Department of Aisne 02),  dear to the heart of the Gunners, where, until 1993, the 41st Naval Artillery Regiment was based.

The statue of the Zouave serves as a popular instrument for measuring the floods of the Seine river. When the level of the Seine reaches the feet of this Zouave, the lanes on the banks are usually closed. When the water rises to the thighs of the Zouave, the Seine is no longer navigable. During the historic flood of 1910, the water rose to the shoulders. As a result of its replacement in 1970, the Zouave now appears to be lower than originally, contrary to what is commonly accepted. At the same point, the floods it reports are less severe. The administration measures the level of the floods at the pont de la Tournelle.


There is some additional info on the tourist office of Paris below for the bridge

Tourist office of Paris on the Pont de l’Alma

The place de l’Alma is a square of the 8éme and 16éme arrondissements or district of Paris. It is about 110 meters long and is located at the meeting of Avenue de New York and ,Avenue du Président-Wilson, Avenue George-V, Avenue Montaigne and the cours Albert-Ier.  It takes its name from its vicinity with the pont de l’Alma(see above), which commemorates the Battle of Alma (1854) during the Crimean War. This site is served by the Alma-Marceau Metro station  line 9  and the pont de l’Alma RER C station  as well as by the Alma-Marceau bus Lines 42, 63, 72, 80 and 92.


shot from the pont de l’Alma

The square was created by the decree of March 6, 1858 and aligned, between the avenues of New York and President-Wilson, by a decree of March 9, 1897.

The square is famous for its flame of freedom, replica of the flame of the Statue of liberty. This flame, offered by the International Herald Tribune in 1989, is installed between the square and the beginning of the bridge, overhanging the tunnel where Princess Diana died on 31 August 1997 in a car accident. It serves as a monument to the memory for many admirers of the princess.

Some of the things to see here are :

At No. 3 by the corner of the Avenue du  President-Wilson was the Café le Yacht Club Français, held by the photographer Eugène Druet and which he abandoned in 1903 to open an art gallery at 114, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré.

At the west entrance of the Cours Albert 1er , the Polish poet and patriot Adam Mickiewicz was sculpted by Antoine Bourdelle.

The Place de la Reine-Astrid is located at the corner of Avenue Montaigne and Rue Jean Goujon. The Monument of the recognition of Belgium to France was inaugurated in 1923. A sculpture representing the Seine  was placed in 1962.

Beautiful area on the side of Avenue Bosquet and Avenue Rapp,near the Tour Eiffel. Where I have spent many times and love it. Hope you do too when visiting the eternal Paris.


shot from avenue Rapp


avenue Bosquets

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

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December 7, 2018

Avenue de Suffren ,Paris of course!

No,no ,no do not think I am beginning to recite all the streets of Paris; no way. It would be a monumental task, there are books about it and they do not tell you all either, trust me. However, I like to dare tell you about some streets, squares and whatnot that are special to me.

These are streets that I and my family spent many times and in some I still do. So they have become sort of like a second home to me each time I visit Paris; again will be next week and so on…

Let me tell you about Avenue de Suffren.  This one is right along the Eiffel tower, Champ de Mars and école militaire fame with wonderful architecture finds in it and some nice history to it. Let me start shall we…

The Avenue de Suffren is an avenue that delimits the 7éme and 15éme arrondissements of Paris. It goes this way, numbers 1-143bis are in the 7éme and numbers 145-to end and even are in the 15éme; get it…Because of the vicinity of the military school (école militaire), this avenue has since 1867 the name of the Bailiff and Vice-Admiral Pierre André de Suffren .

The Avenue de Suffren begins at the Quai Branly and continues to the boulevard Garibaldi at the level of the place de la République de Panama. It crosses the Avenue de La Motte-Picquet, avenue de Lowendal, Avenue de Ségur and Rue Perignon. Also, the Rue de Buenos-Aires, Avenue Octave-Gréard, rue Jean-Rey, rue du General-Lambert, Rue Desaix, Avenue Joseph-Bouvard, rue Jean-Pierre-Bloch, rue Champfleury, rue de Presles, avenue du General-Detrie, rue de la Fédération (near one of my current offices), rue Jean-Carriès, Rue Dupleix, the Avenue de Champaubert, the Rue du Laos, the rue de Abbé-Roger-Derry, the rue Mario-Nikis, the rue Chasseloup-Laubat, the rue Valentin-Haüy, the Rue Bellart, the rue Rosa-Bonheur, rue Barthélemy begin or end the Avenue de Suffren.


A bit of history

The Avenue de Suffren was formed between the current Quai Branly and Avenue de Lowendal during the formation of the Champs-de-Mars around 1770. In 1867, the extension of the avenue until the meeting of rue Barthélémy and Boulevard de Grenelle (current boulevard Garibaldi) is declared to be of public utility. However, the avenue comes to end at the slaughterhouses of Grenelle. After the destruction of this property, it is extended beyond no 155 between rue Bellart and boulevard Garibaldi.

Some things you will surely would like to see in my opinion are at No 78, the Village Suisse!

Here from the end of WWI, the Village Suisse was already a distant memory. After dismantling the 103 meters Big wheel that adjoined it, some tailoring dealers set up their shops in their wagons. Until the mid-50’s of the last century, clothing and leather merchants predominated. Then, little by little, antique dealers supplanted them. The Village Suisse consists in our days in up to 100 shops of antiques, objects of art and decoration. It can be reached by 4 Avenue Paul Déroulède, the 78 Avenue de Suffren or the 54 Avenue de la Motte Picquet. You can reach here on the   Metro: La Motte-Piquet Grenelle, line 6, 8, and 10. The Village is open from Thursdays to Mondays inclusive from 10h30 to 19h. More info. Official Village Suisse

No 106 : Formerly, the address of a brothel. frequented under the occupation by the nazis military, the establishment was ravaged in 1942 by a bomb attack, committed under the direction of Pierre Georges (future “Colonel Fabien”), with Georges Tondelier,   Gaultier and another member of the Youth Battalions which is known only under the pseudonym of Paul. The location of this brothel is now occupied by a modern building.

No 125  Entrance to the Conference center of the UNESCO House, where the UNESCO General conferences are held.

One of the delights of this area near the école militaire on this side of it is to have a drink and see the world at the Brasserie Suffren at no 84: lovely place here is more on comments on it from my blog roll site Yelp.

And parking above ground as I do each time there is at Parc Joffre-Suffren facing 2 place Joffre. More on it here:


The closest metro station is Ségur on the line 10 located right on the Avenue de Suffren corner with rue Pérignon.

Well here the webpages do not work. This is a wonderful area of Paris , great architecture work all around to walk it fully. I do, and do take bus 82 a lovely ride from Montparnasse here right in front of the  park and rue Desaix. Indeed eternal Paris!

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


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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 .

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:

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 :

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 :

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:

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 :

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 :

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 :

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 :

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 6, 2018

Mona Bismarck, an American in Paris!

Back to my off the beaten paths sites in my eternal Paris. One building went several times on private function as an American in Paris was the Fondation Mona Bismarck where many American clubs and institution held their home thanks to the generosity of the foundation. Beautiful surrounding, and marvelous terrace garden and many souvenirs of friendship for many years. The Fondation decided to turn all its efforts towards the arts ,and the clubs/Institutions there left elsewhere in Paris. I left too out to Brittany so several years not there, but still the memories. Time to have it paste to my blog for old time’s sake. Hope you enjoy it and do come and see the exhibitions.


Let me tell you a bit on the now Mona Bismarck American Center in Paris.

The Mona Bismarck American Center, founded by Mona Bismarck, aims to offer the public a wide variety of American artistic and cultural experiences through innovative programming choices, in the heart of Paris. The new Mona Bismarck American Center was launched in 2011, building on the foundations of the former Mona Bismarck Foundation whose public activities began in 1986 following the death of its founder and patron. Philanthropist Mona Bismarck has made many donations, including the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace. In order to perpetuate her work, she bequeathed her mansion and the majority of her property to the Mona Bismarck Foundation, with the aim of reinforcing the Franco-American friendship and understanding through art and culture. It is located at 34 Avenue de New-York in the 16éme arrondissement or district of Paris, overlooking the Seine river. You get there on the metro Iéna or Alma-Marceau of line 9. Also, bus lines 72, 63, 92, 32, and  82. I do came here by car so parked at  Alma George V entrance by avenue George V.

Located on the banks of the Seine river, opposite the Eiffel Tower, the mansion was built at the end of the 19C. At the end of the 1950’s, the house was adapted to the needs of the Bismarck couple. The hotel was featured in an edition of Vogue fashion magazine in 1928. The hotel was built in 1890 by the architect Jules Guichard. It is inspired by the classical French architecture. On the avenue, the stone façade is punctuated by ionic pilasters. At the back, the house overlooks a terrace and a pleasant private garden. Inside, the hotel retains beautiful lounges decorated with antique woodwork or rooms decorated with Chinese wallpapers with colorful and intricate motifs, with its chandeliers and terrace opening onto a private garden, the estate welcomes the cultural events offered by the Center.

The Mona Bismarck American Center usually organizes an exhibition annually, in collaboration with renowned cultural institutions, be they French, American or world . The exhibitions focus on a particular artist or theme, and cover a wide spectrum of contemporary artistic styles and movements.

Who was this lady well a bit more on just her.

Mona von Bismarck (also known as Mona Bismarck), was born Margaret Edmona Travis Strader on February 5, 1897 in Louisville, Kentucky and died on July 10, 1983 in Paris, is an American socialite, fashion icon and member of the Cafe Society. In 1933, she was voted “the most elegant woman in the World” by Chanel, Molineux, Vionnet, Lelong and Lanvin. Throughout her life, Mona Bismarck maintained privileged relationships with large public figures such as President Roosevelt, President Eisenhower, the Duke of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, and personalities of the Arts such as Greta Garbo, Cristobal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Paul Newman, etc. As a philanthropist and patron, she founded the Mona Bismarck American Center in Paris.  Mona von Bismarck bears the name of the fourth of her five husbands, Count Édouard von Bismarck, grandson of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck of Germany. She is sometimes dubbed the “Countess of Kentucky”. In the field of art history, she is known as “Mrs. Harrison Williams”, named after her third husband, because of the portrait that Salvador Dalí made of her under this title in 1943.  She became Countess Mona von Bismarck. The couple lived mainly in Paris in their apartment at the Hôtel Lambert and later in the mansion of 34, New York Avenue and in Capri, Italy.

Some webpages to plan your trip here and for the arts concious and the views on the Seine is a must.

Official Mona Bismarck American Center

Tourist office of Paris on heritage of Mona Bismarck

There you a lovely walk from Trocadéro down Avenue de New York facing the Seine river,love it. Hope you can enjoy it too. Mona Bismarck American Center of Paris.

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



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December 5, 2018

Palais de Tokyo, Paris of course!

So to continue with the mood to showcase seldom asked place of Paris or as once site once said, off the beaten path venues; let me bring you to my fav 16éme arrondissement again. The weather here is the same cloudy rainy cool 13C and calm at least until next weekend! I will be off to Asia again ::)

Let me tell you about a nice museum palace of great grandeur and beauty that I passed many times by it,and seen it before the renovation. It is a nice place to see indeed. Of course I will be telling you a bit about the Palais de Tokyo!

The Palais de Tokyo, whose original name is “Palais des Musées d’art Moderne” or the palace of modern arts museum, designates a building dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It is located at 13, Avenue du President-Wilson in the 16éme arrondissement or district of Paris. The building in question is referred to as the “Palais de Tokyo”, the name of the quai de Tokio (the present Avenue de New York) with its southern façade, a wharf on the edge of the Seine river. Composed of two wings, the palace houses in the west wing a center of contemporary art, the Palais de Tokyo, while the east wing, owned by the city of Paris, houses the Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris. The outer shell of the building is completely built in marble. The exhibition area is one of the greatest for contemporary art on the international stage.   You can reach it by metro stations Alma – Marceau and Iéna on line 9. Also, Bus lines 32, 42, 63, 72, 80, 82, and 92 as well as RER C Station Pont de l’Alma.


A bit of history I like

In 1932, faced with the smallness of the Luxembourg Museum, and after the abandonment of the project for a city of museums at the site of the Trocadéro, the idea of building a museum of modern Art of the city of Paris was thought of. In 1934, the State decided to build a museum of modern art as well. The city of Paris, owner of the land, committed to guarantee the loan for the financing of the International Exhibition of 1937, in return, the State finally accepts to assume the construction of two museums of modern art, while committing to hand over one of them to the city of Paris to relieve the Museum of the Petit Palais . Therefore,  that of the State to the west and that of the city of Paris to the east.

The land chosen includes part of the site of the former carpet factory of the Savonnerie so named because it had settled in 1627 in an orphanage whose residents made soap. The factory was transferred in 1826 in the premises of the Gobelins factory and the site was used by military handling or depot of military supplies in buildings rebuilt in 1836. These buildings burned down in 1855 and during WWI were rebuilt on two occasions.

On 24 May 1937, President Lebrun inaugurated the “Palais des Museums d’art Moderne”, replacing the Luxembourg Museum, which was then closed. During the exhibition, the palace houses a retrospective of French art since the Middle Ages, bringing together more than 1300 works from provincial and foreign museums. The collections of the city of Paris are presented tentatively in the East Wing from 1940, while the National Museum of Modern Art opens its doors for a few months in the West Wing on August 6, 1942, with a third of the collection brought back from the deposits of the occupied area, the real inauguration taking place however only on June 9th, 1947. The building later took the name “Palais de Tokyo” in reference to the wharf of the same name.

In 1948, it was inaugurated a monument in memory of the fighters of free France on the forecourt of the Palais de Tokyo. This one consists of a bronze statue, work of Antoine Bourdelle, representing “France”, at the foot of which is engraved a verse of Charles Péguy “Mother behold your sons who fought so much” and lower, on the cross of Lorraine the dedication “To the volunteers of the Free French Forces dead/for the honor and freedom of France/June 18, 1940-May 8, 1945”.

During, WWII, the basements were used to store Jewish assets under receivership. In the 1950’s, the East wing was the object of important works which allowed the opening in 1961 of the Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris, made up of works of the Petit Palais. In 1977, with the inauguration of the Centre Georges-Pompidou, the collections of the National Museum of Modern Art leave the West wing of the Palais de Tokyo, leaving on the spot the post-impressionist works of the artists born before 1870, who will join in 1986 the Musée d’Orsay.

A bit of description from my amateur view.

Among the 128 proposals of the architectural competition, attended by the most renowned architects of the time.The laureates firm built a building of sober and monumental style, consisting of two symmetrical wings linked together by a large peristyle, on either side of an axis perpendicular to the Seine river, on which is located the mirror of water. This one takes place on the terrace dominating the river, below the monumental staircase leaning on the hill, which is decorated with bas-reliefs entitled “Allegory to the glory of the Arts” by Alfred Janniot and summoned to the statue representing “France” of Antoine Bourdelle. The building opens with high windows giving to the south on the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. The glass ceilings allow to illuminate most parts in a overhead way with natural light. The important exterior decoration of Art Deco style is complemented by the metopes Centaur and Eros of Marcel Gaumont on the west side, Sirens and Hercules of Leon Baudry  on the east side, the bronze doors of the ironworker Szabo with reliefs of Andre Bizette-Lindet  on the side of the Avenue du président Wilson, by Raymond Subes with reliefs by Louis Dideron on the Avenue de New York side. Many isolated statues were placed on the terraces of the water mirror of which only the lying nymphs of Louis Dejean, Léon-Ernest Drivier and Auguste Guénot are left.

And a bit on today’s look

The Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris or MAMVP, opened in 1961 in the eastern wing of the palace, presents the municipal collection of modern and contemporary art since the fauvism, rich of more than 10 000 works, mainly focused on the movements related to the capital and more recently on the European art scene.  In 1999, it was decided to partially reopen the West wing of the building by setting up a Center for Contemporary Art, with an emphasis on the emerging stage, notably French and European. The Palais de Tokyo/Site of contemporary creation, was inaugurated on January 21, 2002 and opened on January 22, 2002, to the general public, and enlarged  in 2012 to 22 000 m2. It is an interdisciplinary place dedicated to contemporary creation in all its forms: painting, sculpture, design, fashion, video, cinema, literature, and dance.

The building has a very nice library open every day except Tuesdays. The wonderful restaurants Les Grands Verres , Le Readymade, and Monsieur Bleu are open every day.  Walther König & Cahiers d’art, two flagship brands in the art world, unite to create in the Palais de Tokyo one of the largest art bookstores in Paris.  On 450 m2, the bookstore of the Palais de Tokyo offers an international selection of books and magazines, as well as stationery, gift articles and objects related to the exhibitions of the Palais de Tokyo. I have tried couple months back the Monsieur Bleu and it is great with good food and wonderful views: see more here: Restaurant Monsieur Bleu at the Palais de Tokyo

And here are some webpages as usual to help you plan your visit here, and I say it is worth the detour.

Official Palais de Tokyo

Tourist office of Paris on the Palais de Tokyo

Official museum of modern art of Paris

There you go , you are set to go. And a lovely area of Paris for walks and wonderful Haussmannien architecture. Enjoy the whole complex of the Palais de Tokyo.

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

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December 5, 2018

Palais de l’Elysée, Paris of course!

So going along with history , and this post will be long on history. To many it will remind of the things going on today all over France; years change but the bottom line story is always the same; people need to have it better. I am going to tell you a bit reduced history of the Elysee Palace, the Presidential palace of France. Oh wait, it is a Republic but we have the President/king living in a palace!!! So does the Senate and the National Assembly, go figure my loving French.

Anyway, here is my take on the Palais de l’Elysée. Bear with me please, and thank you for reading it.

The Palais de l’Elysée  (Palace) is located at No 55, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in the 8éme arrondissement or district of Paris. It is the seat of the Presidency of the French Republic and the official residence of the President of the Republic since the Second Republic.  A fine example of classical French architecture. It changes ownership many times.  It knows several owners, such as Napoleon I and various vocations, such as that of Café-concert, place of pleasures of good society, before becoming  National in 1816 and decreed residence of the President of the Republic.  The Palais de l’Élysée has 365 rooms, ceremonial rooms on the ground floor of the main building, where visitors are received, the Salon Doré (Golden Lounge), the president’s office, on the first floor as well as the offices of its collaborators and reception rooms. Attics are arranged in an apartment. It is in the east wing that the apartments where the presidential couple resides, when they choose to live at the Elysée.  The palace is surrounded by a 1.5 ha park with one of the sycamore trees measuring 40 meters high. It is open to the public only on the occasion of the heritage Days (journées de patrimoine). You reach it on Metro: Concorde station (lines 1, 8 and 12) or Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau (lines 1 and 13). And the RER C Invalides.

It is a place visited on heritage days with long lines that I made once in 2006 ,and then just walk around it. I like to tell you about the French residency of the Republic and the many changes of it so tell you a bit about the tumultuous history of France.  It will be long but shortened as much as possible, bear with me. Its history I like!


A bit of history I like

Built by the architect Armand-Claude Mollet in 1720 for Louis-Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, Count of Evreux, the palace of the Élysée has an illustrious history: it was offered by Louis XV to his favorite, the Marquise de Pompadour, in 1753, then became the princely palace of Joachim Murat, brother-in-law of Napoleon I. The latter made in 1805 his imperial residence. His nephew, Napoleon III, also lived there. After the death of king Louis XIV, in 1715, whose end of reign rhymed with a certain austerity, the regent of the kingdom, Philippe d’Orléans, left Versailles for the benefit of Paris, bringing with him the court, which therefore was built there as members of the bourgeoisie with various palaces and private hotels.

The former owner of the land, the architect and Controller of the buildings of the King Armand-Claude Mollet (future architect of Louis XV ), provides in the contract of sale that he be responsible for building a hotel for the residence of the Earl of Evreux. Built between 1718 and 1720 and decorated between 1720 and 1722, the hotel of Evreux, remains imposing in the midst of the modest shops of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré,  arranged according to the principles of architecture in vogue at the time. There is a two-story building body, raised on a vast basement. It remains one of the best examples of the classic model; It starts with a vestibule on the axis of a courtyard of honor, a central building double in depth and three levels and two wings in square side and another in single ground floor. The large courtyard is lined with two blind walls with high arcades surmounted by a balustrade and opens onto a monumental portal with four Ionic columns supporting the owner’s coat of arms. The interior decorations, in Regency style, are made in 1720. They offer a number of woodworks, florets, rosettes, top-of-doors or rinses. The décor of the reception rooms, although modified over the centuries, retains most of its original appearance.

In 1753, King Louis XV bought the hotel to make it the Parisian residence of the Marquise de Pompadour, one of his favorites living at that time in Versailles and charmed by the building. There were many transformations, the walls are covered with woodwork and gold characteristic of the Pompadour style, the facade of the Cour d’honneur is inspired by that of her castle of Champs-sur-Marne. The one who has had for some years the Marquisate of Pompadour follows its motto “My pleasure is not to contemplate the gold of my coffers, but to spread it” the Marquise takes care to select fabrics, marquetry, marbles, tapestries of the goblins, Bohemian crystal chandeliers, crockery and pendulums of great quality. High tapestries adorn the walls. The gardens are decorated with porticoes, charmilles, a vegetable garden and even waterfalls, a labyrinth and a golden grotto for her daughter.  The king decides at the death of the marquise that the hotel of Evreux will now be devolved to house the extraordinary ambassadors, at the place of the Hotel des Pontchartrain, located on Rue des Petites-Champs. The hotel of extraordinary ambassadors thus becomes a property of the crown. During the rehabilitation of the hotel, the garden is removed and the area of the park is reduced to the Promenade des Champs-Elysées. Serves as a place of exhibition for curious people and amateurs of fine arts.  In all the lounges and even huts built on the outskirts are deposited armor and tapestries. During this time, and until 1773, the people of Paris can come to stroll in the gardens, among the old decorum’s of the Marquise, the waterfall and the grotto in particular.

Nine years after the death of the Marquise, in 1773, the hotel became the property of the banker Nicolas Beaujon. It thus proceeds to enlargements, especially for the West Wing which included the small apartments which is extended to the Champs-Elysées: This replaces the antechamber, the bedroom and the cabinet by a living room, a large closet, a large gallery, a library, a back-office, another living room, a bedroom and a boudoir. The most famous paintings are however the gypsy of Frans Hals and the ambassadors of Hans Holbein the Younger, a collection that Nicolas Beaujon likes to show to his visitors. Statues are also installed, including an antique Diane under the guise of the Marquise de Pompadour. His room, copiously decorated, is adorned with several windows in the eye-of-the-ox, ice and pleated drapes. The kitchens of the hotel are moved from the West Wing to the East Wing (where they are still today), in order to be able to install the offices of its bank. In the body of the building, it separates in two the festive hall of the Count of Evreux and has an English billiard room installed. Madame de Pompadour’s music room is preserved. A bathroom is arranged. Also arranged the French garden  which becomes English with  a lake with a fountain, terraces and walkways are thus created, also built a greenhouse, connected to the hotel by a gallery of Trellises as well as a menagerie.  Nevertheless, he has five to six mistresses, nicknamed “Lullabies”, who over time become hostesses of the palace. Until August 1786, when he sold it as a life annuity to King Louis XVI; the King wishes to house, like his predecessor, the extraordinary ambassadors as well as the foreign sovereigns passing through Paris. Nicolas Beaujon died there on December 21, 1786 and was buried in great pomp. In 1787, all furniture and decor items are sold at auction after two days of opening to the public.

The last occupant of the hotel before the French revolution was Louise-Marie-Bathilde d’Orléans, Duchess of Bourbon, who settled there in 1787, Louis XVI having finally abandoned his project. Daughter of the Duke of Orléans, sister of Philippe Equality, aunt of Louis-Philippe I, mother of the Duke of Enghien, daughter-in-law of the Prince de Condé, who previously occupied the premises, her husband, the Duke of Bourbon, abandoned her soon enough after their marriage: their separation is official in 1781. Because of its many connections, it is no longer welcome to the court. In 1781, she bought Louis XVI, his cousin, the hotel Beaujon. The Hotel Beaujon is renamed “The Hotel of the Élysée” because of its garden whose trees mingle with those of the Élysée garden of the Avenue of the Champs-Elysées ( also called the “Élysée Bourbon”) , because of the name of its owner. Very whimsical, passionate about palmistry, astrology and occult sciences, she devoted herself to the salons of the palace in the company of personalities.

During the French Revolution, Bathilde d’Orléans was dubbed the “true citizen” because of her Republican spirit. It thus offers money to the Directoire board of the Capucins neighborhood of  Saint-Honoré to ensure public tranquility, as well as a building serving as a guard, located at the junction of the Avenue de Marigny and the place Beauvau. Nevertheless, she suffered reprisals for the fleeing of her nephew Louis-Philippe d’Orléans in Austria in April 1793: All members of the Bourbon family were imprisoned by the Convention. The Duchess was imprisoned at the Fort Saint-Jean Prison in Marseille for a year and a half and survived only miraculously the reign of terror;released in 1795, she rediscovers her Parisian palace. Nevertheless, after the death of his brother guillotined, she had offered to the Convention her hotel, her castle of the Petit Bourg and other property, in order to be liberated from her prison. The Convention had passed,taking by force her properties. However, the Palace of the Élysée suffered a lot during these troubled years. The estate has successively welcomed the Commission for the dispatch of laws and printing of the Bulletin of laws and then the national deposit of furniture from seizures of emigrants or convicts. The gardens are open to the people.

In January 1797, the Directoire board officially made the Duchess of Bourbon possession of the hotel. However, she can no longer maintain this large house and is obliged to rent the ground floor. The renters make a pleasure establishment and organize popular dances, games, lectures and concerts. The Directoire board then sells the hotel as a national property; the rental is cancelled. In 1797, the new establishment opened its doors that year with  entrance costs 3 pounds. The inauguration is lavish: a montgolfière hot air ballon laid in the gardens takes a sheep into the air and the dropped with a parachute. The owners opens up shops on the side of the Faubourg Saint-Honoré and divide the first floor of the hotel into fifteen apartments, rented eight rooms on two levels and giving them the right to access the gardens. The parents and the young and future writer Alfred de Vigny, lodge on the first floor on the left, on the side of the courtyard; Guillaume Bonnecarrère, future minister and diplomat, is their neighbor. The ancient hamlet of Bathilde d’Orléans is transformed into a rustic restaurant.

The consulate, in 1799, ends these years of madness. The brother-in-law of Emperor Napoleon I, the Marshal of the Empire Joachim Murat, bought the property in 1805 and undertook enormous work. He settled there with his wife Caroline Bonaparte and made it one of his many luxurious mansions. The hotel then takes on the status of Palace. When Murat became king of Naples, in 1808 he had to give up his palace at the Élysée, his castle in Neuilly, as well as his stables of Roule and other lands. Having to give up all the furniture in it, the new queen consort of Naples goes against the official request and moves a large part of the furniture of the palace to Naples.

Napoleon I occupied the mansion, until the French campaign, after a short occupation by Josephine de Beauharnais. He worked in the old salon of the Muses and stayed in the small apartments while the empress lived, before the divorce, on the first floor. The Emperor thus recovers the Palace in 1812 and offers the former Empress in exchange for the Château de Laeken. For the new Empress, Marie-Louise of Austria, are installed on the first floor a chapel as well as private apartments for her young son, the king of Rome. The emperor returns to the palace in 1813. Marie Louise becomes in the meantime regent of the Empire. In 1814, after the defeat, Tsar Alexander I of Russia, the Emperor’s great adversary, took possession of the building; at the palace, he received Chateaubriand, who told him of his hatred for Napoleon I and arranged dinners to make him hear the nobility of Empire and nobility of costumes.

Bathilde d’Orléans took advantage of the turbulence of these years to go and ask King Louis XVIII the Palace of the Élysée; he refuses, but offers her the hotel Matignon. The Tsar then left the Duke of Wellington, the winner of the Battle of Waterloo, to dispose of the building. Finally, in 1815, Napoleon I dictated to his brother his surrender in the Salon d’Argent  (silver parlor): “I offer myself as a sacrifice to the hatred of the enemies of France. My political life is over and I proclaim my son, under the name Napoleon II, the emperor of the French”. He leaves the palace for Malmaison, through the back door of the garden, overlooking the Champs-Elysées, after having burned various papers and received former high dignitaries.

The new regime, the restoration, brings king Louis XVIII to the throne of France which recovers the deprived property by the various regimes. The Duke of Berry in December 1815 come to lived here and  moved there with his wife Marie-Caroline in 1816. The furniture remains unchanged, if not the motifs of the imperial bees that are removed. The Duke has a Érard piano installed for his wife. This one has eleven ladies of honor. In 1820, Marie-Caroline is pregnant. She then submits to a draconian regime that prohibits her from leaving or receiving. But on February 13th, bypassing the rule, they go out to the opera (where it was played  the nightingale, the Carnival of Venice and the wedding of Gamache). There, the Duke of Berry was assassinated by the worker Louvel, who decided to extinguish the Bourbon dynasty. The Duke de Berry’s wife returns to the palace in a blood-stained dress. After a few days of depression, she cuts her hair and puts them in her husband’s coffin, moves to the Tuileries where she gives birth to the future Count of Chambord on September 29, 1820 (thus perpetuating the dynasty as would be Henri V), which, by his fidelity to the Royal white flag and His refusal to renounce it between 1871 and 1873 (“I do not wear a new flag, I maintain that of France”, stressed the claimant on January 25, 1872), failed to persuade Orleanais’s members not to contribute to the definitive installation of the Republic at the Élysée. And the chance for the Bourbon to regain the monarchy is over.

The palace of the Élysée remains overall empty between 1820 and 1848, except exceptions, Louis XVIII and Charles X first to welcome foreign monarchs or princes passing through Paris. During the provisional Government of the 2nd Republic, the Palace takes the name of “Élysée national”. The gardens are open to the public; concerts are given, a carnival is set up and fireworks are shot up. The National Assembly assigns the palace as the residence of the President of the Republic. Article 62 of the Constitution of 1848 provided that the president is “housed at the expense of the Republic” and resides “at the place where the National Assembly sits”, thus in Paris.

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, first President of the Republic elected by universal suffrage in 1848, is assigned not the Tuileries but the palace of the Élysée, souvenir of his uncle who had made his residence of heart but had abdicated. He sets up his personal office in the Cleopatra Lounge and places himself at the helm of the various services of the men of confidence but soon has to reduce the number of employees of the palace, because of their cost and the futility of some. But not being able to represent himself, the president made a coup d’état in the third year of his four-year term: He became Emperor under the name Napoleon III. It is finally a marriage of love that takes place with Eugénie de Montijo, (Spanish) which passes in the small apartments of the palace of the Élysée their last night of maiden, living here from January 22 to 30, 1853. The present structures of the palace come mainly from this period, and all of these works, which ended in 1867, constitute the last major developments. The dependencies are rebuilt, forming the two lateral wings with balustrades that surround the courtyard of honor, the palace is cleared to the west with the piercing of the Rue de Élysée, an additional floor is added to the east wing of the palace housing the small Apartments, a new dining room is built in the extension of the Salon Murat. Finally, the façade overlooking the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré is pierced by windows, while the main entrance, the monumental four-column portal, is replaced by an arch of triumph porch today still used. Terraces adorned with washbasins are created on the floor of buildings surrounding the Cour d’honneur, the lounges on the ground floor are completely reworked. The strangest landscaping is certainly the secret underground passage connecting the hotel number 18 rue à la sacristie de la chapelle du palais. This hotel houses Louise de Mercy-Argenteau, mistress of Napoleon III. Paintings of European sovereigns are hung on the walls of the Eastern salon (Queen Victoria or Pope Pius X). The palace at last habitable, however, never receives the imperial couple although it has kept an apartment in the palace, but becomes the official hotel of the sovereigns visiting Paris where Napoleon III organizes grandiose feasts ,especially in the ballroom built to the west of the palace.

During the war of 1870, it was from the palace that left for the German border the first battalion of French Corps; they are commanded by Col. Lafont . With the fall of the Second Empire, the palace is for a sixth time renamed and becomes the “Élysée National”; it’s being handed over to the state. The fall of Napoleon III in 1870, put an end to the monarchical era of the palace. The new president Patrice de Mac Mahon settled permanently in the palace from September 1874 with his wife and four children. But it was only by the law of January 22, 1879 that the Elysée officially became the residence of the Presidents of the French Republic.

On June 10, 1940, the Palace welcomed the last Council of Parisian ministers in the history of the Third Republic, in which the government decided to leave Paris. On 14 June 1940, at 5h35 ( a.m), the Nazis hoisted their red and black flag  with the swastika. Abandoned between 1940 and 1946, it was not commandeered by the Nazis, Hitler agreeing to leave this symbolic place vacant but refusing that Pétain invests it. A section of Republican guards took over the palace on 24 August 1944 during the liberation of Paris. It is completely renovated and modernized and regain possession of the palace on January 16, 1947: The pediment clock, the adventitious windows of the central body and the canopy used as a cloakroom installed along the north facade of the central building are suppressed which allows to restore the primitive sculptures, to rebuild the windows of the ground floor their balconies wrought iron and to raise the level of the Court of Honor. The cast-iron streetlights of Napoleon III are replaced by wrought steel lanterns applied to the walls. The kitchens and changing rooms are located in the basement.

Charles de Gaulle occupies this place that he hated due to previous history. From 1959, it will define the general organization of the Interior of the palace that lasts until today with  the central building and the West Wing the official functions, on this wing is the private apartments and to the Commons surrounding the Court of Honor the Offices of its technical advisors, responsible for mission and certain technical services. The general will use as an office the old room of the Empress Eugénie, called the Salon Doré (golden lounge). This lounge located in the central axis of the palace, will serve as an office to all Presidents of the Fifth Republic, except Valéry Giscard d’Estaing who chooses as office a room located on the eastern corner of the central building. De Gaulle transformed the private apartments on the first floor of the central building into offices, Georges Pompidou arranged a projection room in the basements and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing installed the PC Jupiter, which runs the nuclear weapon and is in secure contact with command of the air base 921 at Taverny. The palace was first opened to the public on July 14, 1977 by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, but the experience could not be renewed due to the high attendance of visitors. However, every year since 1990, during the Heritage Days (journées de Patrimoine), the Palais de l’Élysée is open to the public, some of the rooms in the apartments of the east wing are also added to the visit from 2007.

Some webpages to help you know more about this palace and plan for the heritage days visit next time in France.

Official visits Palais de l’Elysée

Tourist office of Paris on the Palais de l’Elysée

And the rest is modern as we know. And the trouble history of this house is also the trouble history of my belle France. Again ,the Elysée palace is the central focus in the history of France.  Hope you have enjoy the short history lesson ::)

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


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December 4, 2018

Palais de Chaillot, Paris of course!

And to take you into another area that is somewhat popular I think,but it has so much to offer folks do not take advantage of all it is there. The weather has become rainy and mild temps signs of Autumn and mr Winter is coming fast.

Let me tell you an overview on historical terms of the wonderful Chaillot palace or Palais de Chaillot in my eternal Paris.

The Palais de Chaillot is located on the hill of Chaillot in the 16éme arrondissement or district of Paris. Right in the location of the Place du Trocadéro- and Place 11 novembre. It was realized at the Universal Exhibition of 1937 by the architects and Grand Prix of Rome Léon Azéma, Jacques Carlu and Louis-Hippolyte Boileau, at the site of the old Palais du Trocadéro. It is a great spot to see full view of the Eiffel tower!


A bit of history I like and Paris has plenty.

Several buildings and architectural projects have succeeded in the site where the Palais du Trocadéro rose. A building, the Hermitage or Maison de Beauregard, was acquired in 1583 by Catherine de Medici who plans to build a pleasure house that was to be inspired by the ancient villas. The castle was acquired in 1651 by the nuns of the Convent of the Visitation Sainte-Marie on the initiative of Henriette d’Angleterre, and will be buried there. This convent abandoned at the beginning of the French revolution was destroyed in 1794 by the explosion of the powdery of Grenelle.


In 1811, Emperor Napoleon Ier decided to build on the site a palace of the King of Rome, a building designed to be the residence of his son (a month before the birth of the latter). It was to be the center of an administrative and military imperial City. The name Trocadéro originates from the Fort of Trocadéro, which defended the Spanish port of Cadiz. Indeed, in 1823, it was captured by the French Expeditionary Corps commanded by the Duke of Angoulême, who had been sent by his uncle, the king of France Louis XVIII to reinstate King Fernando VII on the Spanish throne. Therefore, the site of the Trocadéro referred to a French military victory.

Several projects became to be propose including on the hill of Chaillot a military school and obelisk by 1824. Under the July Monarchy, it was proposed to erect in here the tomb of the Emperor, before the ashes found their way to the Invalides. This time by 1839 and again in 1841 with a colossal statue. In 1848 they thought a monument to Liberty. By 1858 another project on a lighthouse or monumental fountain in the center of a circular place hosting the Imperial Palace and the hotels of the ministeries. Also in 1868, a new project envisaging a colossal statue of the intelligent France illuminating the world but none of this was ever realized.   After doing a 3-meters flush and leveling of the hill of Chaillot for the Universal Exhibition of 1867 and then creation of a square and a staircase, the sunken grounds at the site of the current Trocadéro gardens remained unused until 1876.

The place which is then again called Place du roi de Rome is connected to the Pont d’Iéna by a granite staircase. The Palais du Trocadéro is built for the Universal Exhibition of 1878 on the plans of Moorish and neo-Byzantine inspirations. During its existence, it hosted the French Museum of monuments created in 1879 and the first Parisian Museum of ethnography ancestor of the Musée de l’homme. The gardens of the Trocadéro were designed by Jean-Charles Alphand. From 1880, a popular observatory, was installed.


The Palais du Trocadéro will finally destroyed, replaced by the Palais de Chaillot built for the specialized exhibition of 1937, which will take over the backbone of the old building, in particular the wings and the canopies and the foundation of colonnades which retained part of the frame and the configuration of two wings in half-circles. Also preserved are the curvilinear metal trusses in the frame, visible in the gallery of the castings of the museum although the general structure becomes in reinforced concrete, the carrying piles being doubled with casting molded stones, the walls being erected in stone rubble, concrete blocks, solid or hollow bricks while they are then covered with plates of Burgundy stone and reconstituted stone (note that behind these plates are still the stone walls of the former Palais du Trocadéro); the floors are made of reinforced concrete slabs while the carpentry is metal. The new project is representative of a sleek and neoclassical style called between the two wars, contrasting with the old building, judged too eclectic or even indefinable.


In choosing to dress the wings of the old palace by doubling them by a new gallery on the Seine river side, but to destroy the theater and the two towers to replace them with a simple esplanade, in the Eiffel Tower-military school axis while a new theater room was set up under this square. The style of the new palace is neo-classical monumental. The area of the new palace is increased to 41 000 m2, compared to 17 000 before; the new esplanade is open on 125 meters by 60 meters wide.

On 23 June 1940, after the nazis invasion, the führer Adolf Hitler and his military entourage roam the esplanade of the Trocadéro. An anti-aircraft gun is installed by the Allied troops the day after the liberation of Paris in the great basin of the fountain of the Jardin du Trocadéro. The United Nations, which had just been established in 1946, held two sessions in the Palais de Chaillot at its General Assembly, the 3rd (September-December 1948) and the 6th (November 1951-February 1952), as almost all UN institutions had no definitive sites yet. The General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948. The palace also welcomes, between 1952 and 1959, the NATO headquarters, which is then moved to the Nato Palace (current centre universitaire Dauphine). In 1954 takes place at the Palace the signing of the Protocol of Accession of West Germany to NATO; On this occasion is created the Union of Western Europe, installed in part of the building, opposite the Paris wing. Which later got the name European Union.

The Palais de Chaillot houses several museums including the Museum of Man, Museum of the Marine/Navy(closed for renovation until 2021) in its West Wing, the National Theater of Chaillot, as well as the City of Architecture and Heritage in its east Wing (French Museum of Monuments, School of Chaillot and Institute of French architecture). The restructuring of the Paris wing was accompanied by the definitive move of the Cinémathèque française to Bercy housed in the palace between 1963 and 2005. Many museums are located in the vicinity such as the National Museum of Asian Arts-Guimet, Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris, Palais Gallia, Fashion Museum of the city of Paris, and Musée Clemenceau.

This site is served by the metro station Trocadéro line 6 and 9. Bus lines no 22,30,32,63,72, and 82 passes by here too. The 72 and 82 are great recommended and see Paris above ground.


my blog main page picture from Chaillot over the Seine to the Eiffel and ecole militaire and tour montparnasse!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and a whole day at least is the minimum.

Tourist office of Paris on the Palais de Chaillot

Official Theater of Chaillot

Official city of Architecture and Heritage museum

Official museum of men

Official Marine Museum

Hope you enjoy your day visiting this wonderful part of Paris, the 16éme is my favorite really. And the Palais de Chaillot  has many good spots and this area is tops for many others.

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


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December 4, 2018

Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs , Versailles!

And back I take you to my beloved dear Versailles.  The de facto Capital of France! The royal and imperial city of France, my home for almost 10 glorious years! I like to take you into another off the beaten path site in my beloved city.

If you move out of the castle and come to know the city a bit more, you will learn not only world history but French history as well. I like to enlighten you into known a bit more on the Hôtel des Menus-Plaisirs.


The Hotel des Menus Plaisirs is located at 22 Avenue de Paris in Versailles (Yvelines 78). It remained famous in the history of France for having welcomed the Assembly of the Notables of 1787, that of 1788 and above all the General Estates of 1789, the last that the former regime had experienced. It is an integral part of the history of France, and a must to visit even if today has other functions.


A bit of history I like

This hotel was built on orders of king Louis XV around 1745, in order to house the decoration workshops and the equipment of the games related to the festivities of the King and the Court called “Menus-plaisirs”. It will include sports accessories (especially for jeu de paume play), theater sets, musical instruments.etc.. There are also workshops for models, costumes, paintings and other sculptures In 1759, the hotel also contains a physics office installed by Abbé Nollet for the instruction of the children of France, starting with the future Louis XVI. The architectural ensemble then revolves around two courses located at different levels. The lower court opens on No. 22, avenue de Paris, while the High Court is located at the level of No. 19 rue des Etats Géneraux. It was at the site of the latter court that a provisional room hosted a meeting of notables in 1787, then end 1788. On the inside, the sovereign is then installed under a canopy, located in front of the covered staircase which currently provides communication between the two courtyards. The three orders (nobles laymen ,and clerby) are seated separately in the stands arranged in horseshoes, while high grandstands greet the public.

It was in this room that the abolition of privileges was voted in 1789 and the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights was made. The Hotel des Menus Plaisirs includes the election of Maximilian Robespierre as president of the District Court. The judges of the Criminal court settled there in 1792, waiting for the former bailiwick to be transformed into a house of justice. Thereafter, the hotel serves as a food store for the army, although many theater props are still kept on reserve, which also stirs up the lust of directors of Parisian halls who regularly come to used them.


Transformed into a barracks for the volunteers of the Gendarmerie (police) Corps, it became a center of distribution of bread for the troops before being finally sold to a certain   Dubusc in 1800. However, the prefect ordered the cancellation of the sale a year later, but already the damage is done: In the meantime, the buyer has unfortunately already demolished a large part of the historic premises including the famous room of the general Estates! . The hotel would then become a cavalry barracks, then be abandoned for more than a century until the city of Versailles installed its technical services in 1942. The State will restore these places as part of the celebrations of the bicentennial of the French revolution in 1989.

Napoleon turned the place into a conservatory of music. Under the restoration, it was tried to return to its first assignment, but without regaining the glow of the pre-revolution festivities. After the revolution of 1830, the Hotel des Menus-Plaisirs became a conservatory of music under the name of Royal School of Music and Declamation. Since 1996, part of the hotel is now home to the Baroque music Center of Versailles.

The remains of the Hall of the General Estates remain in the high courtyard used for the recess of the students of the Centre de Musique Baroque in Versailles. The pavements of the ground expose the layout of the hall, with the Royal Tribune at the bottom, the grandstands for the nobility and the clergy on the sides, the Great Tribune for the third-state in front which can be seen today.

Indeed a must for the lovers of architecture and history of France and the world really a must to see. Just come out of the palace on avenue de Paris and walk up the hotel is on the right hand side of the street and just a few minutes easily accessable. Enjoy it

A webpage to help you plan your trip and more info is here

Baroque music center on the Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs Versailles

Centre de Musique Baroque at the Chateau de Versailles webpage

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

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