Posts tagged ‘Europe’

February 23, 2019

Cathedral St Etienne , Saint Brieuc

So I am back in my beloved Brittany,and why not keep you in the north of the peninsula! We have visited Saint Brieuc, can be considered an off the beaten path here, but worth the visit for its Cathedral at least me think.

Therefore, other than my general posts on Saint Brieuc, decided worth it to tell you a bit more on the St Stephen’s Cathedral of Saint Brieuc (Cathédrale St Etienne).

The Cathedral St Stephen of Saint-Brieuc (St Etienne) is in the Côtes-d’Armor dept 22 of my beloved Brittany.  It is one of the nine historic cathedrals of Brittany. It is currently the seat of the Diocese of Saint-Brieuc and Tréguier, known by this name since 1852.

Saint Brieuc

Saint Brieuc

A bit of history I like

The Gothic-style contemporary Cathedral St Etienne was built from the 13C to the 18C. Some relics of Saint Brieuc itself, dating from the 6C, are preserved there. It was built on a swamp with wooden pillars. It is one of the few fortified churches in Brittany. The “Grande Dame de Pierre” or the Big Lady of Stone, thus reflects the history of the city. Besieged, burned, the Cathedral will experience many avatars during the 14C, during the wars of succession that hit Brittany. Its restoration and extension spread throughout the 15C. The Cathedral was looted again during the Wars of Religions, and the League from 1589 to 1598.

 Saint Brieuc

A bit of chronological history is as follows: 1220, the planning of the western pediment of the Cathedral after the Cathedral of Noyon, in the Oise. Construction of the North tower. It becomes the Episcopal dungeon. By 1431-1436, construction of the South tower following the generous gift of Duke Jean V. In the 17C construction of corbelets supporting the balustrade, and completion of the nave rosette in 1728. By the time of the French revolution 1789-1794, the Cathedral serves as a warehouse and shed. In 1853, construction of a wooden hourd topped by a pyramidion. The corbelets are transformed into machicolations consoles.  The six portraits of the north side door known as the Gate of the Martray were made around 1860. Four of these portraits were sawn to allow the opening of two small doors.  in 1889, construction of the central porch.

Saint Brieuc

Some of the wonderful description of this Cathedral of St Stephen (St Etienne) to follow.

From its two towers, both with deadly features, the Brieuc tower is the lowest and the highest is the Marie tower. A century separates the construction of the two towers, 14C and 15C.  The Brieuc tower is the lowest and the Marie tower the highest. The towers are equipped with slits for archers.

Inside, do not miss the baptismal font Basin ,15C, as well as the altarpiece of the Annunciation, in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, masterpiece of Baroque Art ,18C. The Chapel of the Annunciation, this altarpiece is considered a masterpiece of rock aesthetics in Brittany. It is one of the most beautiful wooden retables of the Côtes d’Armor, it is surmounted by a glory illustrating God the Father and the Holy Spirit. The central table of the altarpiece represents Christ alongside the angel Gabriel making the announcement to Mary.

Saint Brieuc

The great organ of the Cathedral St Etienne is a great Cavaillon of 1848, takes place in a magnificent buffet dating back to 1540. Several recumbents and tombs of the 17C and 18C are spread around. A few stations of the contemporary Way of the Cross made by the school of Fine Arts of Rennes are shown around the walls.

Saint Brieuc

Since 2009, the Cathedral St Etienne has enjoyed an important programme of works, which must be completed running 2019 with the nave. The stones are cleaned to restore their whiteness and the cement joints are replaced by traditional lime joints. The axial chapel was restored as it was in the nineteenth century: very colorful. The starry blue vaults are surrounded by repainted pillars of flowering or spiral motifs. Like the choir, it is certainly accessible to the public.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Tourist office of the Bay of St Brieuc on the Cathedral

Official dept 22 Côte d’Armor tourism on the Cathedral

City of Saint Brieuc on heritage

There you go another nice stop in my lovely Brittany and up north in the sea coast as Côte d’Armor means  côtes as coasts and ar mor is “the sea” in the Breton language. And of course, the wonderful fortified Cathedral of St Stephen is a must stop while in town. Enjoy it

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



February 22, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXV

So coming back at you at my beloved Spain , everything under the sun. Well it is sunny now with temps of 64F or about 18C, just fine , I have similar in my neck of the woods !!!

It is time tell you the latest and traditions of my Spain, this time with an emphasis on gastronomy and wines, what else, the country is loaded; I say the best component. And enough conversation topics to heal the troubles of my today’s Spain.

Do we say Pizzas? yes the cuisine of the world, and Spain is nothing to be left behind. My lovely Madrid has plenty, and will give you some good ones of my own.

Grosso Napoletano. The Neapolitan pizzas in this house are already spread over five sites in Madrid. In the menu, classic creations such as the Margherita or the piquant Diavola share protagonism with the Borghese (with truffle and speck) or the Cantabrian (with anchovies and sauce with San Marzano, cherry, olive oil and garlic).  My take was at Paseo de La Habana, 27, the original: more here: Grosso Napoletano Madrid

Luna Rossa , visited at Calle San Bernardo 24. Opened a quarter of a century ago, it has been in the hands of Ana Zucchini (daughter of the founder) for two decades. Its raison d’être is Neapolitan cuisine, especially pizzas made in a wood-fired oven (such as Arrabiata, with hot sobrasada and fennel seeds, or Tonno, with tuna, olives, basil and onions). The space, recently restored, preserves the rustic charm of yesteryear. More here: Luna Rossa MadridLuna Rossa Madrid

Of course, if you want your regular eat in take out delivery place then no one better in Madrid than TelePizza, doing it for years!!! Several locations all over the city, I have in my old neighborhood of Quintana (Ciudad Lineal): Telepizza Quintana Madrid

And why not alone,no way, we need to have a good beer with them and Madrid has plenty of this too. My favorites amongt many are

Cervecería Santa Bárbara .Although it has several branches in Madrid, the one that occupies us in these lines is the original (opened in the year 1815). It is a reference to the time of the appetizer: for its beautiful bar of marble rods fly  and the doubles, with cream instead of foam, of soft bitter taste and uniform. Do not leave without tasting the prawns of Huelva, the canned cockle and the anchovies in vinegar with french fries of Churrería . The original at Plaza de Santa Barbara 8:More here: Cerveceria Santa Barbara

La Ardosa. Although it started as a wine tavern where it was sold in the region of Toledo from which it takes the name, when Gregorio Monge (father of Angel, current owner) was made with the business transformed it into a brewery, a pioneer in outside brands such as Guinness or Pilsner. Now, this passion is preserved (European labels are always served in double glass) and is complemented by a good vermouth of Reus. To accompany, salmorejo, potato tortilla, salted and pickled. As a curiosity to add that in this address you will find the first tap of Guinness of Madrid . Calle  Colon 13.More here; La Ardosa Madrid

Bar Martín. Martín Jiménez is the third generation that directs this bar devoted to the appetizer first opened in 1940. Besides calluses, Banderillas and Russian steaks, to drink the rods triumph, pulled with a lot of grace from Madrid (not in vain, our host is Master marksman of Mahou, the beer that is very local ). At Avenida de Menendez Pelayo 17. No webpage but a reference in my favorite YELP: Yelp on Bar Martin Madrid

La Dolores. Inaugurated in 1908, this centennial house is one of the most traditional bars in Madrid. Easily recognizable by its beautiful tile façade, inside an army of duly uniformed waiters is struggling to serve the reeds, doubles and muds (earthenware jars) of beer served as ordered by the canons of Madrid: Up to half, blow to up and up. They always go with a snack of bucket, but if you want something more it has an incredible collection of canapés and rations to match (boquerones and anchovies) served with olives, piparra and french fries .At Plaza de Jesus 4. A wonderful bar and great area for walks before or after: no webpage but my favorite YELP here: Yelp on La Dolores Madrid

Cerveceria Cruz Blanca, Calle Doctor Esquerdo, 157  or Ave Menendez Pelayo, 47 both locations are great and my hangout in Madrid for the last few years. Great service, good food, prices to match and great cold beers, the terraces are superb! These are setup as franchises so are you up for it? try them you will love them. More here: Cerveceria Cruz Blanca Madrid

Then I take you to something typical of Galicia and Madrid, hard to tell I like them both even if grew up eating the Madrid style; talking about the stews or Cocidos. Here are some where to eat them well in both places. No carnival without stew. At least in Galicia. With just similarities with the Spaniard (coincide in being a mix of meat, vegetables and carbohydrate and to have the soup as an entrée), the Galician is a hearty recipe that is enjoyed in Galicia, but also in cities like Madrid. In Madrid, Casa Gallega, where it is served with cabbage (instead of grelos or Nabizas), and Sanxenxo.  Meanwhile, Sal Negra dispatches both Madrid and Galician stew styles

At Coruña or Puxigo (as Pontes), which incorporates Grelos de Villalba, and Cabana (Bergondo), classic overlooking the estuary that prefers cured and non-smoked pieces. Sarria is Roma, restaurant-hotel of the Fontal family with 44 years where they serve the stew or also only the horn. And the recipe includes that piece almost wild as a star: the head of the pig (Cacheira, or hat), tasty and cartilaginous that, if you like, derives in a real enjoyment and can be of Celtic pork (salted and cured before their cooking, they sell it in Carnicas and Teijeiro) or Galician pork without this marking. More on hotel restaurant Roma here: Hotel Restaurant Rome in Sarrià

Time for Carnivals in Orense province,Galicia and more celebrations!!

The carnivals (from March 1 to 6), many of the municipalities of the province of Orense have been celebrating one of the most festive and expected moments of the year for several days. The Entroidos, popular name for which in Galician lands are known the carnivals, of the oldest in Spain, are characterized by the presence of picturesque masked characters of ancestral origin, denominated in different way according to the locality ( cigars, barbers, screens…), which take over the streets forming part of lively and colorful parades and troupes. This tradition is a special claim for the towns of Laza, Manzaneda, Verín, Viana do Bolo and Ginzo de Limia,  which lasts up to five weeks in some cases. Putting Orense capital as a starting point, I propose a route to live three of these most popular carnivals in Galicia: Ginzo de Limia, Verín and Laza, to the south of the province, make up the “magic triangle” of the Entroidos.

Ginzo de Limia. The most durable, since it takes place over five weekends, in which charangas, parades and musical acts do not cease. The main protagonists are the screens, some characters in white suit, a peculiar mask and red cloak with colorful ribbons and bells chasing, cow bladder in hand, to those who are not disguised. Once reached, they take them in twinkling to a bar, where they will have to pay glass of white wine and gather in the Plaza Mayor and then start their characteristic dances and jumps through the streets of the town. See program here:

Verín.  At 35 km, this town next to the Portuguese border, protected from the top by the castle of Monterrey ,a fortress of the 10C perfectly preserved. It starts its carnival on February 21 with the traditional Thursday of Compadres, a parade predominantly Male that runs through the streets of the village to the Plaza Mayor. Sunday 24 February by 11h is the day for the cigars, which flood the streets with their characteristic wooden masks, their colorful costumes, which hang the legendary clashes of cowbells and a crop called Zamarra, the rhythm of brass bands and the clink of their bells. On Saturday and Sunday March 2-3 are the big days of the carnival, in which the whole city turns over. Plaza de la Merced welcomes the baptism of the Cigarrón on Saturday,16h30, while at Av. de Castilla is the place for the Grand Parade ,Sunday at 12h, with the participation of cigars, floats and troupes that parody politicians and society in general. More info here:

Laza. It is obligatory to move to the central Plaza de la Picota and to the adjoining bars of this town  60 km from Orense. Although it will officially begin on February 28th, with the thursday of Comadres, the carnival has already several weeks of celebration, with the four Fridays of Folión ,street party from 23h. The main protagonists of this celebration are the Peliqueiros, characters armed with their officer sheepskin coats, their clashes at the waist and their demonic animal masks that roam the streets imposing their law. These accompany the leaflets, groups of 30 to 40 people with different instruments, whose mission is to scare away evil spirits. This ancestral celebration continues until Tuesday of Carnival ,March 5, the farewell day with the Peliqueiros, the parade of floats, the will of the donkey and the Queima do Arangaño. More here:

Orense. It is also worth the festivities that mainly fill the historic center of Orense, the city bathed by the Miño river. The celebrations in the capital start on Thursday of Comadres ,February 28, a night traditionally reserved for women. From there, there are five days of uninterrupted festivities in which everyone goes out into the street in disguise or with a mask. More information and program in

Let’s talk about wine stores; sure we like to go to the source, but sometimes little time so what to do to grab the beauty of Spanish wines? Well heads for these wonderful wine stores of my trail.  You know the best known ones are all based in Madrid and Barcelona, where abound, and those reference addresses that are for offer and service. Asking in Madrid, there are many that I will recommend Lavinia, Santa Cecilia, Viuda de Cuenllas, or Mantequerías Bravo come to mind.  And there, in Barcelona, as many others as Celler de Gelida, Lafuente,  La Carta de Vinos, or Enoteca Divins. But the wine stores continues beyond these big cities and it is in those other wine stores in which today I will take you with my favorites over the years.

La Vinatería Yáñez ,calle Padre Sacramento 11. Zaragoza. They have since 1953 focused on the sale of wines apart from those dedicated to the diffusion of their culture. It gathers several thousand references among which the representation of foreign labels stands out. Good offer of malts, Armagnacs, brandies… Conditioned rooms for tastings and conferences, and good library of consultation. More here: La Vinateria Yanez Zaragoza

Vinoteca El Lagar, Calle San Lesmes 14 bajo. Burgos . A small space that houses labels of very different nationalities, since they have great relevance the foreign, especially those of French origin. It has a part destined to distillates and various gadgets useful for wine. More here: Vinoteca El Lagar Burgos

Vino Cutanda La Bolsa de los Licores, Avenida Ramón y Cajal 14, Albacete. Family business located in the center of the city, opened since 1982, and with more than 2,500 references; Wines from all the processing areas of the world as they gather a thousand foreign labels. They complete the wine offer, with spirits, accessories, gourmet foods, and various activities.   More here: Vinos Cutanda Albacete

Valentín Moreno e Hijos ,Calle Méjico 8, Guadalajara. Dedicated to wine since it opened in the mid-sixties, it responds to the name of its founder. Now the third generation owns it and among its more than 700 references there are wines from all over the world, although the protagonists have the patriotic, with special attention to the Manchegos. They include distillates and miscellaneous wine accessories.  More here: Valentin Moreno e Hijos Guadalajara

The Palacio de los Licores, Calle Correhuela 24, Salamanca. A neighbor of the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, this large wine market brings together more than 1,500 selected wines, liquors that surpass the five hundred brands, specialized publications and accessories. More here: Palacio de los Licores Salamanca

Casa Claudio , Rúa San Andrés,  A Coruña. With two points of sale in the city, this was the first, inaugurated in 1889 and therefore emblematic store in terms of the sale of oenological and gastronomic products: wines (on 3,500 references), liquors, distillates, canned, sausages, spices, etc. They also schedule tastings.   More here: Casa Claudio A Coruna

La Licoreria De Cuenca,  Avenida de la cruz roja Española, S/N,warehouse and store open to the public where we purchased last in Spain, at Cuenca of course. This last address is off the A-40 ,Autovia de Castilla La Mancha. A place to visit. They have a store in city center at Calle Doctor Alonso Chirino, 9-Bajo ,where you can make your purchases as well. In it you can find a great variety of wines, liquors and delicatessen products. They have 21 years of experience. The webpage is here:

Hope you enjoy the ride in my beloved Spain, the second most visited country in the world by UN WTO standards.

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


February 22, 2019

Palladium Prague of course!

So moving right along to my wonderful travel spots of the world. I have been several times to Prague in the Czech Republic and enjoyed it very much. However, after seeing so much monuments me like to do some shopping too lol!

Well not the crazy shopping guy, and which guy is it? However, I do like to go to the quant stores as well as the big shopping center/Malls in the cities I visit and see the difference in display, store names, and prices. This was no difference once into Prague daytime.

I came by chance as was close to my hotel, the Palladium shopping center and was pleasantly surprise. Immediately set in to my territory and explore it all on a couple of visits. Their main webpage is here: The Palladium shopping center in English

So here is a bit of a difference from my travel blog posts!

Palladium is a shopping mall in Prague. Opened in 2007, at the site of the former barracks, the site where Palladium stands was under control of the Army for more than two hundred years (1780s — 1996). until being sold in 1996.


The Palladium that mixes ancient and modern architecture with five-level center, which houses 180 shops and 20 restaurants, is located in the Nové Město district at Namesti Republiky. The Metro station Náměstí Republiky on line B  or the tram stop Náměstí Republiky for overground public transport. I did not came by car but good to know! The 24-hour Palladium parking garage, the largest parking garage in Prague (district center 1), is located under the popular Palladium shopping mall. This safe and pleasant parking garage boasts 900 parking spaces on three underground floors; the parking garage is conveniently accessed by ramp from Revoluční Street.

It is one of the biggest shopping centers in the Czech Republic. It is directly opposite another shopping center, the Kotva Department Store. It also has a market right in front in Republic square.


It is also possible to make a lunch break at the Palladium; the top floor of the shopping center is entirely dedicated to catering. A wide choice is available: juice bars, fast food, traditional Czech cuisine, Italian cuisine, Asian cuisine… There are also many banks and telephone operators. Some of my favorites when stopping by are the Costa Coffee shop and Pizza Hut !  as well as for the boys JRC Gamecentrum and Comics Point, and my Samsung. As to clothing I go for Lacoste, Hugo Boss, C&A, Bata shoes, and Adidas. All in very nice surroundings.


All in a glamorous Republic square or Náměstí Republiky in nice Prague. A different visit from the loaded places to see there,see my previous posts on Prague.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Prague on Palladium

Yelp on tips by visitors to Palladium

There you go again a nice reprive from the sightseeings in Prague and good for the whole family. Enjoy shopping in Prague!

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


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February 21, 2019

St Castor’s Basilica, Koblenz of course!

So let me moved on in my travels east to the neighboring Germany and to a wonderful town call Koblenz. I have written on it before in my blog , however, I need to do justice to a wonderful building there.

Do not know why more is not written on it but this is an impressive Basilica on an equally impressive corner of two rivers, Rhine and Moselle. The Basilica is intact and a wonderful place to visit for its history and architecture alone. Again, more should be written about it and visits too, I am on the list to go back.

Let me tell you a bit more on the St Castor’s Basilica of Koblenz.

St. Castor Basilica is the oldest church in Koblenz. It is located behind the Deutsches Eck, the name of a headland in Koblenz, where the Moselle joins the Rhine rivers. On the forecourt of the Basilica is the Beaver Fountain of the Napoleonic era. The Church stems from the sanctuary where the conclusion of the Treaty of Verdun was celebrated, establishing the sharing of the Empire of Charlemagne. On July 30, 1991, Pope John Paul II raised the basilica to the rank of minor Basilica. This Church is a rather rare Romanesque edifice because it is completely preserved, and it should be visited, it is awesome!


Saint Castor of Karden 5C, evangelist of the Moselle Valley, patron of Koblenz, celebrated on 13 February. Born probably from Aquitaine (France), Castor became disciple of Maximinus of Trier who ordained him a priest. He was buried in Karden and built on his tomb one of the first churches of the countryside of the region. On November 12, 837, his relics were transferred to Koblenz, where he became the patron Saint.



The St Castor’s Church was built between 817 and 836 by Hetto, the Archbishop of Trier with the support of Emperor Louis the Pious, just outside the city of Koblenz and dedicated on 12 November 836. In the 12C the Church was significantly enlarged, with the addition of the 2 spires, a choir and a miniature gallery, flanked by 2 smaller spires, all in the Romanesque style.



The St Castor’s Basilica is a three-aisled vaulted basilica with two towers , transept , choir and apse , flanked by two smaller towers. The free-standing Church of pale tuff is surrounded by greenery. The steep gables with the pilasters articulated towers consist of diamond roofs. The choir, which was built around 1160, with a round, three-story apse flanked on both sides by a five-story tower. The third floor of the apse is a dwarf gallery with 21 arches. Some of the columns around the windows carry a lion as a symbol of Christ. The Church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture on the Middle Rhine.



Another stunning sight to see in beautiful Koblenz. Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official St Castor’s basilica in German

Tourist office of Koblenz on St Castor’s Basilica in English

The area is wonderful to walk and plenty to eat just along the two rivers point, again see my previous posts. As for the St Castor’s Basilica is one of the sights to see while visiting the city for sure.

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


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February 21, 2019

The districts or arrondissements of Paris!

So I come back to you, early on my blog writing days I wrote a piece on the districts or arrondissements of Paris. And then much later wrote another one on the neighborhoods or quartiers of Paris.  I like to come back to this explanation that will help many visitors to the eternal city of lights, Paris.

Briefly, by 1860, Paris was divided into 20 arrondissements or districts of which each was further divided by fours into a total of 80 quartiers or neighborhoods. Therefore, four neighborhoods per district. This is the administrative division today. There are, also, a mayor’s office in each district or arrondissement and then a superior council of Paris with a overall mayor of Paris, currently the Spaniard Anne (Ana) Hidalgo, a native of Cadiz, I like to point out.


Further, the arrondissements or districts starts with the Paris city postal code which is also for the region as it is both as 75, then the first arrondissement will be 001 ,therefore all the addresses in the first district will have the zip /postal code as 75001. The quartiers or neighborhood, also have names and numbers starting in the 1éme arrondissement with quartier 01 all the way to 80. Example, on the 1 district (1éme arrondissement) the four quartiers or neighborhoods of which all will have the zip/postal code 75001 will be Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois quartier no 1,  Halles quartier no 2, Palais-Royal quartier no 3, and Place-Vendôme as quartier no 4. Its very simple really ::)


A bit more into the history I like

Paris was not always like you see today in fact, it was pretty sad and dirty not too long ago.  When Napoleon III came to power, he found a city in waste ,dirty ,and not sufficient to be considered a grand capital of Europe. He took it upon himself to enlarge it, modernise it, and beautify it. This been try before in 1840 to make Paris well defended and increase the fluid of traffic started by Thiers  under the 3rd Republic was adopted to give a circular road but also defensive around the city. Napoleon III continue by in around 1860 ordering Baron Haussmann, the big work ahead. This is the story of the arrondissements or districts of Paris and what you see today.

What many people do not know is that it was Napoleon I  who had the idea of a Grand Paris reaching as far as St Cloud in Hauts de Seine dept 92 today. After a risk of France and Paris being invaded again around 1840 that the prefet Rambuteau (the same street now around centre pompidou) desired to begin this expansion.  A wall was done in 1844 to defend Paris if attacked; several communities became IN Paris if not officially yet such as Grenelle,Vaugirard, Bercy, Charonne, Belleville, La Villette, La Chapelle, Montmartre, les Batignolles, Passy and Auteuil. On orders of Napoleon III a public order is done in February 2, 1859 to debate on annexing propertly these communities to give a physical rounder to Paris. After this public consultation it was voted to annexed the communities and enlarge Paris on June 16 1859, becoming effective law of the nation on January 1, 1860.  Paris immediately went from 3438 hectares to 7802 hectares,with the administrative repartition passing from 12 to 20 arrondissements or districts. Each arrondissement has it mayors office or city hall giving localise govt support to the community. It has been 159 years and the concept of Grand Paris is still in the air for public debate today.

Webpage: Societe du grand Paris bringing Parisiens closer to each other each day, and making our visitors more at ease in their travel needs in the area.

The mairies or city/town hall govt building in each arrondissement are done in touch with the local architecture of each. The Paris 1 has it after the church Saint Germain l’Auxerrois next to the end of the Louvre. Paris 2, is done in 1847 after opening the rue de la Banque, inside a mariage hall done in 1879 decorated with the 3rd Republic emblems. Paris 3 was the first done with an initial space virgin, looking more like a renaissance castle with doric columns and clock evoking Chambord. Paris 4 done with column first realized for the Chateau des Tuileries (today gone extension of the Louvre), Paris 5  was done to accompany the silhouette of the Pantheon in the center of a big plaza ,rue Soufflot with two monumental columns holding a massive fronton one is entering an university the other the mairie or mayor’s office. Paris 6 facing the facade of the church Saint Sulpice practically shown behind the church and as a second stage to it. Paris 7 is in a mansion of the 17C built between 1645-1647, acquired in 1710 then Robert de Cotte,then Laroux,finally in 1862 the city of Paris buys it and put the mairie or city hall there. Paris 8 at rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and integrated in 1926 to the hotel Cail or mansion cail;built during the Second Empire between 1865-1867. Paris 9 design and built between 1846-1848 with an entry of an old cour de service or domestic entrance. The city acquired it in 1848 keeping the municipal services of the 2nd arrondissement de Paris, lateral wings are added in 1860 it is kept and became the mairie for the 9th district. Paris 10  began built in 1892 making it look like a renaissance castle with facades similar to those of Chambord with the uniqueness of having its main structure of metal attached to the facade just like the Grand Palais years later. Paris 11 supporting the boulevard Voltaire and rue Parmentier it was built between 1862-1865. Paris 12 built in 1876 in a classical composition following other similar buildings with a woman statue on top meaning the city of Paris. Paris 13  facade design and built between 1864-1867 similar to those typical buildings of mairies or city halls. Paris 14 built between 1852-1858 for the town of Montrouge, after annexation it is at the centre of the 14 district so name its mairie. Paris 15 built  between 1876-1876 with extensions designed  in 1913 but finally done between 1925-1928. Paris 16 the towns of Passy and Auteuil could have done it by rue Francklin and pl Jean Lorain but not in agreement the mairie was finally done behind rue Henri Martin built between 1875-1877. Paris 17 an exception as it is built in 1971! replacing the old mairie of Batignolles, indeed very modern looking. Paris 18 it was for a while at place des Abbesses but the admin imposed its will in 1882  to have a new one done at the same spot, done in a renaissance style. Paris 19 facing the park parc des Buttes Chaumont  with five arcades similar to renaissance castles built between 1876-1878. Paris 20 place gambetta and built between 1887-1897.  I will list the sites webpages for each Mairie numerically,now

Paris 1 This is the forum les Halles,Arc du Carrousel,church of Saint Eustache,Jeu de Paume,Louvre,Orangerie, Conciergerie, Sainte Chapelle, Palais Royal, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Place Vendôme.


Paris 2 ; this is Bibliothéque Nationale, Bourse,tour Jean Sans Peur.

Paris 3 ; this is the Archives Nationales, Arts et Métiers,Carnavalet museum,Picasso museum,amongst others.

Paris 4 This is the Arsenal,Centre Pompidou, Crypte de Notre Dame,church saint louis saint paul,hotel de ville,memorial de la shoah, Cathedral of Notre Dame, and tour Saint Jacques.

Paris 5 This is Arénes de Lutéce,church Saint Etienne du MOnt, Church Saint Julien le Pauvre,Mosquée de Paris, Panthéon, Sorbonne, Cluny, and church Val de Grâce

Paris 6 This is the church of Saint Germain des Prés,church of Saint Sulpice,Delacroix museum, palais and museum of Luxembourg,gardens of Luxembourg amongst others.


Paris 7  This is  the Army museum,Assamblée Nationale, Ecole Militaire,Egouts or sewers of Paris,Invalides, Legion of Honor museum, Orsay museum,Rodin museum, UNESCO,and the Tour Eiffel.


Paris 8 This is the Arc de Triomphe,Chapelle Expiatoire,pl de la Concorde,church of the Madeleine,Palais d’Elysées, Grand and Petit Palais,Jacquemart museum,NIssim de Camondo museum, and palais de la Decouverte.


Paris 9 This is the Grévin wax museum,Opéra Garnier,and Vie Romantique museum ,and Gare Saint Lazare, amongst others.

Paris 10 This is the Pinacothéque de Paris. Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est.

Paris 11  this is the Bastille  bordering also Republique and Nation.

Paris 12 This is the Cinémathéque Française,Palais de la porte Dorée,Opéra Bastille, and Palais omnisport de Paris Bercy Gare de Lyon, Gare de Bercy as well as Bercy VIllage.

Paris 13 This is the Bibliothéque Nationale Fraçois Mitterrand, Manufacture des Gobelins ,with its Place d’Italie.

Paris 14 This is the Catacombs de Paris,and the Observatoire de Paris, and the Cimetiére de Montparnasse.

Paris 15 This is the Bourdelle museum,Institut Pasteur,Jean Moulin memorial, Tour Montparnasse , Gare de Montparnasse, and the post office museum

Paris 16 This is Arc de Triomphe,Palais de Tokyo,Baccarat museum,Palais de Chaillot, Guimet museum,museum of man,navy museum or marine, marmottan-Monet museum,Parc des Princes, wine or vin museum , Bismarck Foundation,amongst others.

Paris 17 This is part of Arc de Triomphe, porte Maillot,and lingering with Place de Clichy.

Paris 18 This is the Espace Montmartre,Halle Saint Pierre, church of Sacre Coeur,Church of Saint Pierre, Place du Tertre, cimétiere de Montmartre, vinyards of montmartre by rue Saint Vincent, and the cabaret Lapin Agile.

Paris 19 this is the cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Parc de la Villette, La Géode,La Grande Halle, Zénith cabaret, Cité et musée de la musique, and Rotonde de la Villette.

Paris 20 This is the cimétiere Pére Lachaise,  and the Eurolines Gallieni bus terminal just outside it, Chinatown by Belleville area.

Some additional tidbits on some of the districts from yours truly

The 12éme is the rendez-vous point for all Parisiens around place de la Bastille and place de la Nation. The fame Marché d’Aligre, and the cours de Vincennes the old entry point for the king Louis XIV and Maria Teresa. Faubourg Saint Antoine the art of the wood/furniture is still present today from times of long ago. Not long ago the cementary of Picpus is located past avenue de Saint-Mandé, you go there by 35 rue de Picpus. Here the bodies of 1306 persons guillotine are located and it is today private, the only one in Paris, but you can visit in the afternoons.

In the 13éme the mansion or hôtel queen Blanche its at 17 rue des Gobelins, here Marguerite the wife of king Louis IX (Saint Louis) came to guard silence, as well as in the 14C Blanche of Bourgogne wife of king Charles IV lived. At 73 rue des Gobelins you will have a building with a loggia around columns and pillastres, in it there are two statues(1869)  work of a young sculptor name Auguste Rodin.

In the 14éme, you have the Observatoire de Paris ,the oldest in the world.1667. the astronomic cupola dates from 1845. Coming out of the observatoire you turn left and see the Maison du Fontainer, distribution of water from Rungis, and store in the aqueduct of Medicis, from here it provided water to the Palais de Luxemburg and Parisiens with 14 fountains!

In the 15éme done around the village of Vaugirard and old agricultural land in sand and construction materials. Near the metro Javel old Citroen car factory today no longer and nice walks alone the Seine.

In the 16éme, the villages of Passy and Auteuil were annexed to neighborhood of Chaillot to create the 16 arrondissement! on June 16 1859! becoming the biggest district in Paris ! OF course, 52% of it is the Bois de Boulogne!  Here was the hunting area of the locals at the time. Napoleon I wanted to have a triumphant arch build in this area to link a great avenue Bastille to the Louvre, he never saw it done, but the successor king Louis-Philippe completed. The body of Napoleon I was finally able to pass it under in 1840. Here you have the Maison de Balzac with the writers memoirs, it still has vinyards around it.Now it is a museum Balzac. Here the musée du vin or wine museum is located at rue des Eaux (street of water ::)) on the old fortification from the middle ages that serves as cellars to the brothers of the order of Minimes (Passy) producing a wine very much like by king Louis XIII. It became the cellars of the wines serve in the Tour Eiffel until becoming today the museum.

In the 17éme  is the union of Ternes (lordship from 1318) to those of Monceau (lordship from 1549) under the village of Batignolles. You can see an area rich in theaters because inside Paris at the time only 8 theaters were allow! you go to 78 boulevard des Batignolles the theater of Batignolles was built in 1838 in an Italian salon with 630 seats, then it takes the name of theatre des Arts in 1906 and finally the name of  Théatre Jacques Hébertot that leds it until 1840 as director. At the place Villiers (now name place Prospére-Parfait Goubaux, but locals still call it place villiers) at the center of the plaza you have a bust of actor Henri Becque, the bust has no signature of its makers but it is no doubt Auguste Rodin the maker !

In the 18éme  officially born on january 1 ,1860, this is the commonly call Montmartre a union of the neighborhoods of La Chapelle and Montmartre plus a small section of Batignolles. It is history since the passing of Saint Denis giving an equal footing with the city below, something that symbolically still carries today as Montmartre has a mayor as the Free City of Montmartre. At rue Lepic you will find one of the remaining windmills in Paris today power by electricity. Many painters from Renoir to Van Gogh describe them in their paintings.

In the 19éme, the village of La Villette and portions of Pantin,Belleville,and Aubervilliers were added to create this arrondissement. The famous parc Des Buttes Chaumont is here. The water to supply Paris started from here and the Parisiens finally could taste clean pure water in 1822! here you have the Rotonde de la Villette, a barrier to pay your taxes to come into Paris built in 1785 When the are joined Paris this was abolished,and it became a depot for salt then the seat of the commission for old Paris from 1959.

In the 20éme ,was the union of the villages of Belleville,Menilmontant, and Charonne.  Even in 1871 they fought for Paris during the uprising of the commune that gave them the name of the red hill or colline rouge. Here the Cementary Pére Lachaise (name François d’Aix de la Chaise, confessor to king Louis XIV) is omnipresent.  It is 58 hectares big ( 143.2 acres).

And what about that big beltway that defines inner Paris today?  The BP=boulevard périphérique .Yours truly takes it regularly and again recently.  It came from the idea of protecting Paris from invaders! The decision was taken in 1840 and the idea of Adolphe Thiers was chosen. A new defensive wall attached to fortresses towers was built in four years, it was composed of 94 towers with a lenght of 34 kms. the fortifications took about a strip of 140 meters with a zone of about 250 meters where no construction was allowed all around it!  Taken into account villages that eventually were annexed to Paris in 1860 such as La Villette, Vaugirard, Auteuil, Passy, Bercy and Montmartre amongst others.

After the construction it was decided under Baron Haussmann that the wall was obsolete as the artillery of the times had improved!!! It was a difficult task on what to use of 1400 hectares ! About 3458 acres. The first towers were destroyed in 1919 ,the final concept presented to the municipal govt of Paris calls for the destruction of the towers only but what about the land in between? It was decided to build low income housing or HBM (the equivalent of today’s HLM); the other was given to private investors such as those who built the Cité universitaire de Paris from 1923.  After WWII, the ministry of reconstruction tries to improve the highway system in France, it is under this idea that the land became the boulevard péripherique or BP that we see today. Remember speed limit is 70 km per hour Lol!!!!and they have speed radars all over !!!

There you go now you should know what is proper Paris and be on the lookout for it as I have seen some hotels property that tells you the zip/postal code of Paris but are actually outside the BP so not in Paris proper. Enjoy Paris at its best WALK IT!!! And some photos!

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




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February 20, 2019

St Michael’s Church, Luxembourg!

And continuing with our wonderful quant Luxembourg and doing our usual walks in the city we come again to another often off the beaten path site in the city. We love to walk it.

The église St Michel or St Michael’s Church is another perfect example of nice historical, architecture to boot and on a nice quant section of the city.



a bit on the history I like

In 987, Archbishop Egbert of Trier consecrated the St-Sauveur Church in the Old town. It is probably not the first high sanctuary in this place. The title of St-Michel appears in the 13C, probably after a reconstruction which still bears witness to the walled side portal and some windows in full hanger. It is one of the oldest places of worship in the city.

Most of the current late Gothic-style building dates from 1519. The Dominicans who served the parish from the 17C added two bays to connect the church to their convent. Many times destroyed and rebuilt, modified and enlarged, the Saint-Michael Church knows its present appearance only since 1688.

The portal to the arms of the kings of France refers to the restoration work carried out following the French bombardment of 1683/84. Outside, take time to observe the stone statue of the Archangel Saint Michael but also above the portal, the arms of the flower of lys in memory of the king of France Louis XIV. The latter having actively contributed to the restoration of the Church. In the 19C, the refectory of the former convent was transformed into a lateral nave.


It is a very nice Church again in a very nice area of Luxembourg city, and me think worth a detour.

The interior is a museum of sacred art because of the richness and quality of its furniture gathered here after the revolution. From the original furnishings remains only the altarpiece of Our Lady of the Rosary c. 1717 with its deep niche in perspective and the Virgin of Pity offered in 1690. The painting depicting the Virgin of the Rosary dates from 1672. The master altar,comes from the Trinity. The painting of the assumption was painted an 1642. The 17C organ was at the Church of the Cordeliers (now gone) a remarkable monumental baroque wooden organ . The stained glass windows go back to the 1960’s.


Inside, the intimate atmosphere of the Church is conducive to meditation. Because of its many changes, it brings together elements of various architecture, ranging from Romanesque to Gothic, to Baroque. Located at Rue Sigefroi not far from the Casements du Bock.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Luxembourg on the Church

Tourist office of Luxembourg on the Church

You will enjoy the walks in this area and a nice visit to the St Michael’s Church is in order. Again our cinderalla country and city of Europe , Luxembourg will always bring nice souvenirs to us. Hope you enjoy it.

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

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February 20, 2019

Church of St Alphonse, Luxembourg!

So I am back to my cinderalla country of Europe. We have come here many times can’t count them , making the trip even for lunch from our beloved Versailles! And we have continue to stop by from Brittany. It is a small country but full of charm, history and good things to see. Some of them unique!

Of course, I am talking about  Luxembourg. The city by the same name is awesome we fell in love with it in 1990 and it has not stop; do not know why, don’t ask me why it is just that magical when we set in at the Place d’Armes. I like to tell you a bit more on some of the off the beaten paths of it such as the Church of St Alphonse!


First of all, this is the Church that embraces the English speaking community there and Mass is held in English. It has a wonderful organ with great music concerts as well. It is located in a nice area at Rue Beaumont, corner with rue des Capucins, by the Place du Théatre. 

The Church of Saint-Alphonse is interesting from an external point of view. Inside, a great sobriety reigns… Nevertheless, the impressive height of the nave is worth the peek! Note in passing the monumental organ as well as the various sculptures at the bottom of the right aisle. Saint Alphonse is easily remarkable for its great size, its lacrosse and his gesture of blessing with his left hand. He is accompanied by several saints: Clément, Gérard, Neumann and Onders. The stained-glass windows adorning the collateral, embedded in trefoil arches, are distinguished by their vivid colour. Finally, coming out on your left, do not miss to admire the icon of the Madonna with the child of Byzantine inspiration.



The official webpage is here: Official Catholic Luxembourg on the Church

Official tourist office of Luxembourg on heritage

City of Luxembourg on heritage

It is a nice area to walk and we love to do that, wonderful architecture, quant shops and restos, and always something unique to see like this Church of Saint Alphonse and the English speaking community of Luxembourg. Hope you enjoy it

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


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February 20, 2019

Piazza di Spagna, Rome of course!

Well back to my Rome as could not do justice to it without writing of another of my favorite squares. If you want to know Rome and its most modern look then by no means come to the squares. I have written several posts on Rome as my favorite Italian city, but feel that I need to tell you a bit more on the Piazza di Spagna or Spain’s square of Rome!

The Piazza di Spagna is one of my favorite squares in Rome, located in the luxury shopping district with via Condotti, Via del Corso, via Borgognona, via Frattina and Via del Babuino all around it! This is a very nice area to do your walks and very chic we love it!



A bit of history I like

In 1494 thanks to King Charles VIII of France, Saint Francis de Paul bought a vineyard at the top of the present 18C monumental staircase which dominates the Trinity square to build a monastery for the minimal brethren. Between 1502 and 1519 King Louis XII of France built a first part of the Church of the Trinity-of-the Mounts in Gothic architecture next to the monastery. It was completed in the 16C by a new Church. This Church/Monastery as well as the Church of Saint-Louis-des-Français nearby and as well the Villa Medici have since been administered by France. In 1620 Spain took possession of this square renamed Spain’s square (piazza di Spagna) to establish at No. 63 its embassy to the Holy See in a renaissance building. In 1629 the Barcaccia fountain was created at the request of Pope Urbain VIII. Between 1644 the Palace di Propaganda Fide was built south of the square. Since 1622 it has been the seat of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the peoples of the Roman Curia. At the beginning of the 18C there are many hotels and inns: The District is entirely dedicated to the accommodation of foreigners. And according to the parish registers of all the inhabitants of the holy city, the area of Piazza di Spagna can be considered one of the most cosmopolitan of Europe.



Between 1723 and 1726 the French cardinal Pierre Guérin de Tencin ordered built by France La Scalinata , monumental staircase in marbre of late Baroque style of 138 marches on three levels which was inaugurated by the Pope Benedict XIII on the occasion of the Jubilee (Holy Year) of 1725.


In 1789 the Obelisk of the trinity of the mounts of the Salluste Gardens is placed in front of the Church at the top of the staircase by decision of Pope Pius VI.

In 1854 Pope Pius IX erected the ancient column of the Immaculate Conception in front of the Spanish Embassy on Mignanelli square, which extended the Spain’s square (piazza di Spagna). Every 8th December, the statue of the Virgin is the subject of an annual Marian pilgrimage with the presence of the Pope.

In the 19C the British poet John Keats spent the last days of his life at No. 26 in the Casina Rossa where he disappeared in 1821 (to the right of the monumental staircase looking at the church). In the same house, the Swedish writer Axel Munthe, author of the Book of San Michele, opened his medical practice at the end of the 19C. The house is now a museum dedicated to its two famous inhabitants. In 1834 the Sovereign Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta installed its international headquarters in a palace of 68 via Condotti with an extraterritorial status granted by the Italian state.


The Rome tourist office tells you a bit more: Tourist office of Rome on Piazza di Spagna

In all as I have told you in previous posts, for us, the walks in the square ,the food ,shopping is what is grand about Rome, just to do something different than what is usual to see in Europe. You will love the walks around the Piazza di Spagna, just lovely. Enjoy it as we did

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



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February 19, 2019

The strawberry museum of Plougastel-Daoulas!

And here we are in lovely historical Plougastel-Daoulas in the Finistére dept 29 of my beloved Brittany. So much beauty of architecture and history abound us here,and for a change will not repeat the introduction as on the previous two posts and will tell you about something unique and different you can find here.

It is the Musée de la Fraise & du Patrimoine; right in city center.  Sort of the Heritage and Strawberry museum a lovely place right around the main sights in town. The strawberry has a long history here. However, the museum is much recent.

Plougastel Daoulas

The adventure begins in 1980 with the creation of the association “Friends of the heritage of Plougastel”. In December 1985, the municipality acquired the “Nicolle House“. The objectives were initially to conservation action, pedagogical action and tourism action. From 1990, the House of heritage is growing, seeing an extension to be built. Two years later, in 1992, the Museum of Heritage opens in its entirety. In 1995, the museum became the Museum of Strawberry and Heritage as it is today.

Plougastel Daoulas

The heritage of Plougastel is presented through the costumes, its furniture, its architecture and its agricultural history. The strawberry, emblematic and inseparable from the peninsula of Plougastel, is put in the spotlight.  Today, the museum consists of nine showrooms on two levels, presenting the history of the strawberry from the 18C to the present day and all the particularities of the heritage of the peninsula of Plougastel

The first floor tells you the history of the strawberry and the commerce with Europe, especially England. From types of strawberries to harvesting, collecting, and packaging as well as shipping it. It tells you the strawberries here are the local variety and the white strawberry brought all the way from Chile in South America. And yes the strawberries here are the best, we buy them in all kinds of versions yoghurts are great!

Plougastel Daoulas

The second floor or 1er étage here, tells you about the traditions , customs of the local Breton families and paintings/objects of arts depicting the life and time of the area and the strawberry harvesters.

Plougastel Daoulas

You can taste them in the boutique below where you will find very nice objects dedicated to the strawberry. We got our jams and tea flavor strawberry. The welcome is very friendly and informative and the family trip is wonderful; especially as it involves food lol!

The official webpage is here: Strawberry museum of Plougastel-Daoulas

Tourist office of Brittany on the Strawberry museum

Tourist office of Finistére dept 29 on the Strawberry museum

The planting here goes way back . The first variety cultivated on a large scale was the “Strawberry of Chile”, because it was brought from Chile, South America,  later supplanted by new varieties such as the “Pineapple Strawberry”, then the “Royal Princess”, also known as “Strawberry of Angers”, then by the “Strawberry of the Mayenne”. Enjoy it

Another nice different stop in my lovely Brittany at Plougastel-Daoulas. You will do good to stop by indeed.

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

February 19, 2019

Calvary at Plougastel-Daoulas!

So let’s continue our journey in the Finistére dept 29 of my beloved Brittany. And of course, why not sticking to the same town of Plougastel-Daoulas. I like to repeat the introduction to the town from previous post here

Plougastel-Daoulas is in the dept 29 of Finistère in Brittany/Bretagne. It is a town in the Brest harbor, located on a peninsula in the southeast of the city, which is separated by the mouth of the Élorn. The town is part of the former bishopric of Cornouaille. Plougastel-Daoulas remained very isolated, the Élorn being an obstacle to its relations with the Bishopric of Leon and especially with Brest. Before the construction of the Albert-Louppe Bridge in 1930, only one ferry allowed to cross the estuary starting from the place called the Passage to lead to a place of the same name located on the current town of Relecq-Kerhuon. The WWI painfully strikes Plougastel, which accounts for 212 deaths during this conflict. In  1944, a parachute unit of the 3rd Parachute Fighter Regiment, was parachuted into the Plougastel-Daoulas area as part of Operation Derry to open the way to the 8th US Army Corps, commanded by General Troy Middleton, responsible for taking Brest, to support the local resistance and to avoid the destruction of the Plougastel bridge. The Task force  “B ” continued its advance and showing a very high attack power clearing the Plougastel Peninsula on August 30, 1944.

The must to see here is the Calvary one of the seven jewels calvaries of Brittany. It is magnificent,and along worth the detour to this nice town of Plougastel-Daoulas.

Plougastel Daoulas

The calvary of Plougastel-Daoulas dates from 1602-1604 and its about 10 meters high. On a yellow granite base of Logonna-Daoulas, about 182 statues carved in blue Kersanton stone, the larger ones measure one meter and weigh from 100 to 200 kg. They illustrate, in 28 paintings, biblical scenes of the life of Christ or legendary scenes such as Katel Kollet. It is one of the seven great Calvaries of Brittany. The octagon that forms the core of the basement is 1.70 meters apart.  A 14-step staircase near the northwestern foothills provides access to the central platform where the preacher was once installed. It was erected as a result of the plague epidemic of 1598. This is a religious ensemble which is unique of Brittany. This one is one of the best around. The stairs on the northwest side allowing to go inside where the predicator is illuminated.

Plougastel Daoulas

Plougastel Daoulas

This is a tremendous beautiful gorgeous magnificent calvary that is a must see even passing just for it is good. My best in the region simple yet detailing of such love and history of Christ. The original date is under the statue of Christ. There is the Nativity, the flight to Egypt, the Last Supper, and the washing of the feet. The great drama of the passion then unfolds in an army of actors among different groups of statuettes. One is the one depicting the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ in Jérusalem. It is dominated by three large crosses in the center.  Destroyed during the period of the terror (French revolution), it was restored again after the liberation after been damaged during the siege of Brest in WWII.

Plougastel Daoulas

Plougastel Daoulas

Again some webpages to help you plan your trip here and it is a must are

Official 7 calvaries of Brittany on Plougastel

Tourist office of Brest on the Calvary of Plougastel

Tourist office of Brittany on heritage of Plougastel

Tourist office of Finistére dept 29 on calvary of Plougastel

There you go, this one is a must to visit I said… on a wonderful city of the Finistére dept 29 Plougastel-Daoulas.

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

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