Posts tagged ‘Food and Wine’

January 17, 2021

My first encounter with Brazil!

This is an old update that love to tell you again with updated links and refreshing text! This was my first encounter with Brazil! Thereafter, I have come several times and have written several blog posts on Brazil and you can do search to find a plethora of information on the country in my blog.

Many years ago, in my working life in Florida USA, my boss asked me to do some business traveling. The year was around 1999 or so, do not recall exactly and did not dated my photos. My boss a CFO was a very busy men and we have even become friends over the years and still in touch. He was doing all the traveling and I stayed behind handling the battleship (office) of a multi billion dollars corp traded in the NYSE.  Finally, one day he sat with me and told me I need to travel. I try to evade it claiming have small children and do not wanted to be away so much from home. However, he insisted and touch a nerve on me when he told me that he trusted my decisions and was sure I would do a good job doing these travels. That was it, confidence and self acknowledgement are men’s best friend , could not refuse anymore.

The trip that I needed to do for two weeks! included Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Now to most this would be like a dream trip, but at that time I was sad to go leaving my little boys ( ages 7 and 5 ,5) behind for the longest period as of that time in 1999. The rest is history, memories, souvenirs , the best experience of my life up to that point, the trip went beyond my expectations ,the job was done well but what I saw and the friends I met have stayed with me even today. Yes, today, still have friends from that trip from Brazil in touch with me in social media!!! And of course, my travels took off !

Previously to this trip i had played football/soccer with the Portuguese community clubs and was aware of the language to a basic level. This trip push me to learned the language which now I do fluently and improved each time with subsequent trips. A Vida É Bela!!!  What can I say more than to tell you again a bit more on these 3 cities.

I  came first to Porto Alegre with a stop at Sao Paulo airport.  Porto Alegre is the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, located between the Rio Guaíba and its many islands. The city is decorated with parks (nine large urban parks) and tree-lined streets, especially in the ancient districts of the Cidade Baixa (lower town). In addition, the city has a biological reserve, around the beach of the district of Latif, on the river, which it is known to have one of the largest urban concentrations of birds of the country. The city has many hills, the Morros, which can reach up to 311 meters in altitude.

The port of Porto Alegre is the southernmost of Brazil. A river system that unites the regional producer center on streams that flow into the Lagoa dos Patos with the largest seaport of Mercosul, the port of Rio Grande, 300 km south, on the South Atlantic Ocean. Its old entrance portico was built in an iron structure decorated with stained glass, commissioned in Paris in 1919. The latter is a tourist attraction point of the city, from where the cruises on the Rio Guaíba leave.

Here my HQ have been the Ceasar Hotel, since then it has gone thru some changes first to Blue Tree Towers Hotels, and lately Hotel Radisson Porto Alegre located at Coronel Lucas de Oliveira, 995 – Bela Vista. they had a japanese resto there very good, then, Becco churrasquerias, and now Don Pallesi Restaurant-Italian style. It has been with mixed emotion seeing all the changes here, I still sentimental for the Ceasar! The new webpage for reference is at https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-porto-alegre  

In Brazil, it is managed by Atlantica Hotels webpage here: https://www.atlanticahotels.com.br/hotel/radisson-porto-alegre/

The area is known for the gaucho tradition, very horse oriented with great shows for eating and entertainement not to be missed. The Mercado Publico is great now housing many shops of local flavor and tradition centered around the gaucho heritage. Many restos and pubs around Bela Vista and Centro typical of European cities. Galpao Crioulo is an excellent place to see the gauchos in action and eat well very well,its located at Avenida Loureiro da Silva s/n – Centro. I was able to get a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/galpaocrioulochurrascaria/

Porto Alegre friends at gaucho show Churrascaria Galpao Crioulo 1999

For the traditional dish Feijoada, try Panapanà Bistro,Rua Demétrio Ribeiro, 174 – Centro. This has now closed but for the memories a local site that talks of it in Portuguese: http://www.mochilinhagaucha.com.br/2015/06/panapana-bistro-porto-alegre-rs.html

 Another is the great football/soccer team Internacional de Porto Alegre at river banks of  river/Rio Guaíba,in Avenida Padre Cacique, 891, at shopping  Gigante da Beira-Rio. I could not attend a game but did walk by it as consolation. Locally is a giant forever! Webpage:  https://www.internacional.com.br/beira-rio/gigante-para-sempre

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The official tourist office of Porto Alegre has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/portoalegre.travel/

The Rio Grande do Sul tourist office on Porto Alegre: https://www.turismo.rs.gov.br/cidade/1/porto-alegre

Many memories here of a family who would read this having white wine in her restaurant that kept her cellars loaded with wine bottles!! right in old city center. Unfortunately, forgot the name of the restaurant and no pictures just my early travel flops…Always nice memories thus, always remember.

And then I went to São Paulo ,the largest city in Brazil and South America. On the plateau of Piratininga at 760 meters above sea level, the city is crossed by two rivers, the Rio Tietê and the Rio Pinheiros which confluent before crossing the whole State of São Paulo and to throw themselves in the Rio Paraná. Founded in 1554 by Portuguese Jesuits, the city developed thanks to the gold of the surrounding mines until the end of the 18C, and then became prosperous thanks to the cultivation of coffee and sugar. In the last century, it has gradually become the economic heart of Brazil, with its business district around Avenue Paulista , hosting the São Paulo Stock Exchange and seats of large Brazilian and international companies. The city is known for its unpredictable climate, its architecture-and in particular its skyscrapers-, its gastronomy, its gigantic traffic jams and the number of helicopters flying over the city (biggest in Latin America).

As mentioned above, this was my first entry point to Brazil, the airport international at Guarulhos, and the country main airport . However, now I came back to see the city! Now traffic here is big and if you are planning to head out by car, I did; better get your bearing on the traffic before leaving home. Not perfect but better than go out blind. Of course, it helps if speaks Portuguese (I do) .CET Webpage http://www.cetsp.com.br/

And of course , more firepower in Portuguese but the AutoBan of Brazil expressways (rodovias), I take from here the Anhanguera (330) and Bandeirantes (348). More on the webpage: http://www.autoban.com.br/

Of course if scary there is the metro or taxi (i have taken the taxi never the metro) ,for info Metro of Sao Paulo webpage, and here they have an English version: http://www.metro.sp.gov.br/en/your-trip/index.aspx

My old time favorite here for stays has been the Maksoud plaza althought lately family feuds has kept renovations from been done until lately, was and is still a grand hotel, done by the architect owner Maksoud tire of staying on other hotels, the one and only Maksoud plaza. . It has wonderful places to eat inside like the Atrium lobby cafe and the Arlanza Grill. Ibirapuera park is nearby for a nice jogging and conferences were held every year for the business traveler in those times . The close by Ave Paulista is the grand avenue for stores ,shopping in the area. Webpage: https://www.maksoud.com.br/en

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For eating out do not missed the Famiglia Mancini, a tradition restaurant not to far from the hotel, and of great renown amongst locals who took me there for dinner ,try the all you can eat choice, awesome, and lately totally renovated. Webpage : http://www.famigliamancini.com.br/?page_id=3418

And for a nice bar go to Bar Original ,there since 1996 near the big park  a taxi ride from hotel. Located at Rua Card Arcoverde, 1265 – Ibirapuera. Webpage: https://www.baroriginal.com.br/

Many things to see here, my favorites are:

The city has many monuments, parks and museums such as the Latin American Memorial, the Ibirapuera Park (big park and many business conventions attended there) and its flag monument, the Municipal Theater b. 1911; The Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP); The Cathedral of the Sé, the Botanical Garden ; the Trianon park, the Zoological Park , Rua 25 de Março ,the largest outdoors market place of Latin America, with over three thousand stores, the wonderful Sao Bento monastery , the Benedictines arrived in São Paulo in 1598, but only in 1634 was created the Abbey and the Chapel was dedicated to St. Benedict. The site, which hosted Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Brazil, home to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption and the monastery. Avenida Paulista; the most popular avenue of the city  (yes) concentrates all that is best in São Paulo. It is possible to visit museums and cultural centers, find a park amid great skyscrapers, check book launchings, enjoy the happy hour in one of its many bars, enjoy the evening at nightclubs, watch theatrical performances and movie sessions of the most diverse productions, and go shopping: all in one place!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Metro area of Sao Paulo tourist office in Portuguese: http://www.capital.sp.gov.br/turista

The tourist office of Sao Paulo in English: http://cidadedesaopaulo.com/v2/?lang=en

And again many memories of good cheers and still good friends, who would read this page. Thank you all for reading me! Sao Paulo is big but lucky to have been afterward.

And as it happened, left Brazil by Rio de Janeiro, last on the trip and again many nice memories. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the State of Rio de Janeiro.Originally designated the Bay of Guanabara, discovered on 1 January 1502 by Gaspar de Lemos and Gonçalo Coelho, captains of the fleet of the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, discoverer of Brazil. On March 1, 1565, marks the foundation of the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (“St. Sebastian of the River of January”) in honor of King Sebastian I of Portugal and the celebrated Saint on the day of his birth. San Sebastian who remains the patron of the city is celebrated every year. The capital of the Portuguese kingdom was thus transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, which became the only European capital located outside the European continent. It was the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, following the escape of the Portuguese court during the invasion of the Napoleonic troops (1808-1821), then of the Empire of Brazil (1822-1889), of the República Velha (1889-1930), of the Estado Novo (1937-1945) and the beginning of the Second Republic until 1960.

The Bay of Guanabara is 30 km into the landside. Its entrance is guarded by two forts of the 17C and 19C. It is easy to cross the Bay of Guanabara to get to Niterói or the islands, from where you discover a magnificent view of the city of Rio and the lush mountains that crimp it. The most interesting stage is the island of Paquetá, one of the 84 islands of the bay, where the landscape has not changed since the 19C. In this island, cars are not allowed. The largest of the islands is the island of the governor (Ilha do Governador), where is located the international Airport Antônio Carlos Jobim. From where I left this time and have come in later.

Many memories at Rio, the anecdote is that upon ariving at the airport, my buddy call to verify the hotel reservation, the company had cancelled it because he booked the Palace Copacabana!!! very expensive place; in the haze to change the reservation the company made a booking at another hotel in Copacabana beach, the Othon Palace, but booked it for two nights instead of one, so we took advantage lol!! Located at Avenida Atlantica, just marvelous again , the views,the service the food all is sublime,and the Skylab bar fantastic!

Rio de Janeiro Othon Palace Hotel fr Copacabana beach 1988

Rio de Janeiro view from othon palace hotel window over copacabana beach Brazil 1988

Many things to see here me think , my favorites are:

Pao de açucar (Sugar Loaf) is a rocky peak at the altitude of 395 meters and the so singular form that has always been the symbol of Rio. The famous statue of Christ the Redeemer , a cross-arm, stands on the peak of the Corcovado with a height of 710 meters and can be seen from all areas of Rio. Copacabana beach  ; and its extension to the north, the Leme, with its six kilometers of length that describe a perfect curve is certainly the preferred beach of foreigners. The local friend took me to Niteroi for a nice view of the bay and hang gliding!!!

Along Copacabana beach try the bar Boteco da Garrafa, great pints of beers ,Belgians, Germans you name it ;located at Rua Bolívar, 27, Copacabana.  See it on Restaurant Guru: https://restaurantguru.com/Boteco-da-Garrafa-Rio-de-Janeiro-2

Restaurante Quinta da Boa Vista in Sao Cristovao, inside park same name, open from 1822 when it serves the royal Portuguese family. webpage : http://www.restaurantequintaboavista.com.br/

 Ipanema Beach is located in the most exclusive residential area of the city.  Ipanema Beach, less extensive than that of Copacabana, is the venue for the golden youth of Rio and the homosexual community. Less lively and less noisy than Copacabana, Ipanema is arguably the most romantic of the twenty-five beaches in Rio. The São Conrado beach is located in a cove surrounded by mountains covered with dense vegetation. There rises the Pedra da Gávea, a huge block of granite much more impressive in its shape and size, with its 842 meters, the mountain of Pedra da Gávea overlooks the long beaches of fine sand. You can access it after the Botanical garden . Each of the 141 hectares of the Botanical garden hosts specimens of the Brazilian and World Flora.

The fame jewerlers H Stern store in Niteroi or Copacabana is another great place to shop, webpage :https://www.hstern.net/

The Church of Nossa Senhora da Glória do Outeiro ,white and graceful, the Church of Glória dominates from its height the bay of Guanabara. Built in 1739, this Chapel was intimately linked to the life of the imperial family. In his arms, Joao VI carried his granddaughter, Princess Maria da Glória, to present her at the altar, and Don Pedro I made the same with the future Emperor Pedro II. The decoration is made of carved wood and azulejos (colourful ceramic tiles).  National Historical Museum was only converted into a museum in 1922. Its collections, spread over fourteen halls, retrace the history of Imperial Brazil (19C). It has a library of 70 000 volumes. One of the things to see in this city is the museum Carmen Miranda, the great Brazilian actress of Hollywood fame.

Case apart for this beauty and the errors of incapables governments. National Museum, located in the park of Quinta de Boa Vista, the Sunday promenade of the Cariocas (natives of Rio are call) of the suburbs, this former palace was once the home of Joao VI and the imperial family, until the proclamation of the Republic in 1889. It contains the largest scientific collection of zoology, mineralogy, archaeology, ethnology in Brazil. Unfortunately for lack of funds and proper fire system ,on September 2, 2018, the museum is ravaged by a fire that has burned hundreds of rooms and destroys all historical archives!! This museum webpage:http://www.museunacional.ufrj.br/

The tourist office of Rio de Janeiro: http://visit.rio/en/welcome/

And so famous I give you the Carnival of Rio webpage: http://www.rio-carnival.net/

There you go, a nice 1 2 3 punch in Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo,and Rio de Janeiro to enhance all the beauty of Brazil. Hope you enjoy it as I always will.

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

January 14, 2021

Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA

And I am going deep back in my life to remember dear places of my life’s existance. This is a memorable post I had hidden in my blog and needs update, refresh text and links. I have it in my black and white series as pictures are in individual posts in my blog. Hope you enjoy my life in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA!

The name is not on anyones travel page, nor in the main news, nor in most people’s mind. The name is of a small central New Jersey town of about 50K inhabitants right off the Raritan river,and the bay to New York city; the main corridor tri state area. However, this is where my life in the United States began as a young teenager.

I had no English, no money, and only the clothings on my back. Arriving from Madrid, Spain with my mother in 1974 to reunite with my father who was already there. Quickly I went to school at McGinnis Middle School on State Street, and she went to work; within a month we were all on our way to a completely new life in a new country. The country embraces us very nicely, Perth Amboy nurtured us, feed us, taught us how nice it is to live in a democracy , learn the English language, and play baseball and soccer/football in summer leagues.

The years went by and my English improved a lot as like a native! My parents went into small businesses such as a grocery store, restaurant, fine mens clothing store, nightclub ,and misc sundries line throughtout New Jersey and into Philadelphia ,PA. I graduated from Middle school and went on to High School, Perth Amboy Panthers !!!! I had my varsity soccer/football story,and the sneak out days, the girls, and the trips to Florida. I graduated there in June 1977 from high school. I became an American citizen in December 1980 at New Brunswick municipal courthouse, Middlesex county . Finally leaving the city for good in 1985 heading to my next step in life ,at Florida.

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin,who was a royalist. The Propietary House (see post) in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independance movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancras old Church Cementary. The Propietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy.

The City Hall (see post) is the oldest continues in use city hall government building in the United States, built during 1714-1717 or 1718.  It burn down several times and rebuilt while for a time it serves as the  Provincial Assembly . It  was in City Hall that the State of New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights. Many sections still dates from 1717 today.

The city once had a ferry service to New York city that is in the works to re established again.  You can read in my posts  some of the historical things that was done or happenned in Perth Amboy. It is now a major marina with pleasure and fishing boats docking.

The Rudyk Park complex underneath the Outerbridge bridge to Staten Island, NYC was used by many to play summer league soccer/football sometimes with as many as 40 nationalities playing!  The wonderful tennis courts by the waterfront was entertaining, and with great views of the bay of NY all in Bayview Park. It has a vibrant downtown or city center area around the Five Corners as five avenues coincide at this junction. The roads are very easy as it is at the crossroads of the NJ Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and the Routes 1-9, 35, and 440.

The Newark Liberty Internatinal airport is only about a 30 minute car ride. There is a train station to take you to New York city Penn station from the airport call AirTran. Amtrak train site for train travel in the US and train station in Perth Amboy at trains now stop at Iselin.  For bus connections NJTransit No 116 takes you to New York City. These needs to be verify at time of travel as with the virus they may have change.

The city is ,also, the gateway to the Jersey Shore area, full of beaches and history like the Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen areas etc, lots of beautiful beaches such as Asbury Park, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, Atlantic City, Ocean City, the Wildwoods; that were my favorites while living there. 

For lodging in the area I have used the Holiday Inn Express Woodbridge-Avenel, 874 Rt 1 north in my last visit there in 2007. Very nice clean residential and close to all roads. webpage: https://www.hiexpress.com/hotels/fr/fr/avenel/ewrwb/hoteldetail

The area is full of all types of accommodations but this one I have stayed personally. As for restaurants, the old reliable still there, Portuguese Manor, as I play soccer/football with the Portuguese community there, this was an almost daily routine; and keep coming back as late as 2007.  You will be in Portugal or Europe here ,great food, (last info I have it has closed sadly) ; another old favorite is the The Barge, by the waterfront, just wonderful seafood while overlooking the Arthur Kill bay to New York City, its an institution in the city,  The armory is another jewel of historic significance as class reunions and graduation parties are held here, as well as a restaurant, The Armory Restaurant.

As for shopping, the best is just outside the city in the towns of Edison and Woodbridge, Menlo Park  Mall and Woodbridge Center Mall (one of the biggest in the USA), Downtown area has lots of stores but very difficult parking best head for the malls above.

Hope you enjoy this little bit of historical showcasing of a small city so close to my heart. Go Panthers !!! I came back last in 2007 for my High School 30th reunion but was unfortunately canceled at last minute and I end up going around the city for 3 days alone!!! Flashing back memories of a wonderful landing at last in democracy. Perth Amboy lovely dot in my world map. Hope you have enjoy the story as I.

The city of Perth Amboy webpage: https://www.perthamboynj.org/

The State of New Jersey tourist office on Perth Amboyhttps://www.visitnj.org/nj/perth-amboy/attractions

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

January 12, 2021

Auray : harbor of Saint Goustan!!

And again bringing back older posts to give them a new light and for me nostalgia moments of always; thanks for reading me and our support all these years. Let me tell you about a nice post me think that I will update the links and revise the text a bit. Hope you enjoy as I

Today was a nice weather day ,hot and plenty of tourist from all over the world is the mood here in my coastal breton lands of the Morbihan. We are getting ready to go out in our vacation to the Pyrénées and before visit by the wife’s brother and family from the ch’tis nord 59!

We went out to Saint Goustan not far from where we used to lived in Brec’h  before moving to Pluvigner. Still we are about 14 km from Saint Goustan or less than 9 miles.

What can I say more, it is sublime like an islands in heaven. The only drawback is the climate for most of the year is windy ,cold and rainy, but around June to September very places can compete with any in the world. I have written several posts on Auray in general so lots of info in my blog on this area.   At Saint Goustan, a very steeply area by the Loc’h river  , confluent of the Auray river that ends at the Atlantic ocean. You can get on the little train or petit train in the Place Saint Sauveur for a first look without breaking your knees! the place is very hilly and cobblestones floors.

We went out with the family and the visiting family to our favorite galette place at Saint Goustan , a memorable historical and gorgeous harbor to eat at Créperie Saint Sauveur.  We had our usual galette madrilene, savoyards, goat cheese salads, etc with coco nuts ,banana splits ices and plenty of bottles of the local Coat-Albret brut cider all for about 18 euros per person,  great place, great food, good friends and reasonable prices, heavens. The visitors like it too….  It has become our central foodie place and already know the owners even seen them shopping with us! webpage: https://www.creperie-saint-sauveur-auray.fr/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

As the brother and family were trying out our Interceltique festival in Lorient, all about the Celtic people from France, UK, and Spain with lots of celebration superb but we have been already. It is something to see indeed. webpage: https://www.festival-interceltique.bzh/

We headed back to Vannes to do some last minute shopping for our trip and some tools for the house like a lawnmower machine! and then headed back to Saint Goustan for ice creams at the L’Igloo !!! superb ice cream I had the dark chocolate large cone with five flavors from strawberry ,coconut, mousse de chocolat, chocolate raspberry, and banana wow for 5,70 euros ;great you should try it big cone! Over 150 flavors and branch in Carnac Plage/beach too which we of course have tried too . Tourist office of Carnac webpage: https://www.ot-carnac.fr/fiche/glacier-l-igloo

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I believe I have mentioned this before but here it goes again; who was Saint Goustan? The district bears his name now, the patron Saint of the fisherman and marines. He was born in 974 in Cornouailles and raised by pirates at 18 yrs old, wounded he was left abandon in the island or île d’Houat out from the Gulf of Morbihan  in the Atlantic ocean where he lived by providence that provided him with fish , so he is represented by a fish, and the care of Saint Félix, that will convert him to Christianism.  He became a monk in 1025 and founded a priory on the island or île de Hoëdic  also close to the island above. He now rests with his brother monks in the abbey of Saint-Gildas de Rhuys ,Presqu’île de Rhuys (see post).

Not only Benjamin Franklin has a plaque, and wharf name after him but also a bar, resto, and the auberge with a plaque. We remember Benji a lot!!! As he landed here to ask the king of France for help in the US Independence war inspired by Lafayette!  However, here ,also set sail for Acadia (Canada) “Razilly’s expedition ( brothers Isaac de Razilly  and younger Claude)  of three ships, holding 300 men, perhaps a dozen or so women, and supplies aplenty, all financed by his own trading company, departed Auray in early July 1632 and arrived at La Hève three months later.  He left most of the men and supplies at La Hève (Nova Scotia), until then just another fishing station on the Atlantic shore of Acadia but now his new headquarters, and hurried to Port-Royal ( today Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia ) to take possession of the old post from the surviving Scots, who he returned to Britain via France.  After 18 years of neglect and English interference, French suzerainty in greater Acadia finally was restored.

The Bay of Quiberon area tourist office on Auray/Saint Goustan in English: https://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/the-port-of-saint-goustan-in-auray

The south Morbihan tourist board on the islands in French: https://www.morbihan.com/accueil/cote-mer/les-iles-terres-du-large

The tourist office of Bretagne on Saint Goustan in English: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/southern-brittany-morbihan-gulf/auray-port-of-saint-goustan/

We then did our usual walk around this gorgeous place taking some pictures all seems beautiful to me. Enjoy the Morbihan, and do try Saint Goustan. You will love it as we do!!

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

January 9, 2021

Marche Victor Hugo-Toulouse!

Oh yes need to revise this not so old post, a sentimental one as one took for the first in Toulouse without my dear late wife Martine. Her father’s side of the family is from nearby Lavaur (see posts) and we have come to the market and the city often. I have even had business meetings in restos on it! See my foodie posts on Toulouse.

And why not food in Toulouse, wonderful occitan cuisine rich and hearty for the soul of the mountains and the Garonne. This is a place I have been coming in for years for drinks with friends, and family and for lunch and dinners as well as market and nearby stores shopping galore, this is Toulouse.  I like to tell you more on the marché Victor Hugo at Place Victor Hugo in Toulouse.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Marché Victor-Hugo market is a covered market located in the center of the Place Victor-Hugo, in the Saint-Georges district, in sector 1 of Toulouse. It is one of the main Toulouse food markets. it once stood under a metal hall, dismantled and replaced by a concrete parking market.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Before the opening of the rue d’Alsace-Lorraine, the current Place Victor-Hugo was called Place du Marché-au-Bois. There was a wood market, also known as an old-fashioned market. This market was a vast wooden hall, built in 1825 on the site of the old rampart Villeneuve destroyed. The square was completed in 1832. It received the name of Victor Hugo in 1885, on the occasion of a coronation of the poet by the Floral Games. The Victor-Hugo market was inaugurated on March 20, 1892 and opened on July 1, when the works were not completely finished. They were not completed until the following year.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Victor Hugo market is in the form of a large rectangular building, it consists of a central nave. The building rests on a basement of vaulted cellars. Four entrances are located on the gables of the central nave. Two canopies run along the side elevations, the building rests on cast iron pillars and is covered with a metal frame. The old metal hall is destroyed and replaced by the current parking market, inaugurated on October 17, 1959. It was then the city’s first parking market. Between 2017 and 2019, new renovation and upgrading work was undertaken, while the Place Victor-Hugo was itself rehabilitated.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The beauty of it that each time we go by there is some renovations going on but the businesses remain the same for many years! The city of Toulouse show you this grand opening with a video here: https://www.toulouse.fr/web/projet-urbain/-/amenagement-de-la-place-du-marche-et-du-parking-victor-hugo

We did get some goodies for the apartment rental inside but also around the covered market and the great convenience of a Monop grocery store part of the Monoprix group. Location here: https://www.monoprix.fr/monop-marche-toulouse-toulouse-31000-s

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is an excellent bakery pastry store with branches in other parts of Toulouse. Of course, we got some pastries and baguette here. This is the Le Fournil de Victor Hugo! My reviews fav YELP has more on it here: https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-fournil-de-victor-hugo-toulouse

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

And last we grab our regional wines such as Fronton here at Busquet’s Maison Busquets, and we got some good Fronton local wines here! webpage: https://www.maisonbusquets.com/busquets-et-son-histoire.html

toulouse-le-bousquets-wines-pl-victor-hugo-jan20-e1578862740521

You will be loaded with goodies of my belle France and lovely Toulouse all the very best. Aah if cheese is your way than see Xavier fromagerie right there, no buy this time but worth the stop anytime. Here is their webpage: https://xavier.fr/#

The Tourist office of Toulouse on the Marché Victor Hugo: https://www.toulouse-visit.com/marche-couvert-victor-hugo/toulouse/commid031v5013x5

Official Marché Victor Hugo webpage: https://www.marche-victor-hugo.fr/

As said, this is heaven territory and we stick to it for years, you will be delighted take it from me, diplomé in wines of France by SOPEXA food and wine from France. And the culinary delights of the Haute Garonne, Occitanie, and France!

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

January 8, 2021

The market at Redon!

Ok so this is a revision of text from an older post of 2019. We love markets and any town we go to we need to visit them and many times shop as well. This one is no different the market at Redon is nice. Let me tell you a bit more on it and hope you like it too.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

So lets bring you back to the markets of my belle France and especially those of my lovely Bretagne. This time is a simple market in the dept 35 Ille et Vilaine and the town of Redon.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I passed by here sometimes on my train rides to Paris and of course by car several times. As the market was is and will be one of the highlights of our lives in France,we love them all. This one is brief but worth the detour as well. See my previous posts on the town of Redon in my blog.

The Halles de Redon dates from the 19C, the Halles were renovated in 2012 to offer more brightness and friendliness. They now welcome about thirty traders who sell their local or organic products. Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish (from the ports of the mouth of the Vilaine river ), and cold cuts. As it should be in Gallo country, a good market cannot be complete without the inevitable cake-sausage. Opening hours of the halls: Monday, 8H30 to 13H from October to April and 8H to 14H May to September. Fridays and Saturdays in the covered market in the mornings.

redon-les-halles-left-side-my15-e1575992085211

The city of Redon on its market: https://www.redon.fr/economie/r49-halles-et-march.html

The Redon tourist office on market: https://www.tourisme-pays-redon.com/manger/marches-de-pays

The Ille et Vilaine dept 35 on markets and this one Redon ,nice pictures: https://www.marches35.fr/item/les-halles-de-redon

Do not miss the galettes de Solange in the market black wheat bio delicious.

There you go short and sassy for you, a wonderful side kick to see the bounties of my lovely Bretagne. Enjoy the market or Halles of Redon.

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

January 8, 2021

Plumelec and the Korrigans!!

Ok this is new for a change after updating many older posts in my blog. I have written on the town of Plumelec before on its church but I need to tell you about a foodie escape as the town is near me. This was done before the virus made our lives a bit harder. Hope you enjoy my little Plumelec and the Korrigans!!!

The town of Plumelec is located in the Morbihan department 56 in the region of Bretagne. In Breton language the town is named Pluveleg. And it is at about 33 km from me, along the road D16, then D115 direction Colpo the Saint Jean-Brévelay and reach Plumelec.

A bit of history I like

It is probable that between 460 and 660, Bretons from the island of Brittany (present-day Great Britain), fleeing their island enslaved by the Anglos and the Saxons, arrived one day from the North on the heights of Lanvaux , along the Roman road coming from Carhaix, which passed south of the current territory of Plumelec. A bloody fight would have taken place between Bretons and Vikings near Kervigo at a place called « Mare au sang » or blood pond in Plumelec around the year 938

The priory of Locmaria, which had a magnificent enclosure surrounded by large walls, was sold as national property in 1792, during the French revolution, and the Sisters driven out, and the buyers subsequently demolished the chapel and the convent. The priory of Saint-Julien de Cadoudal was also sold at the same time , and it has also disappeared since.

As an anecdote , many cycling races pass or arrive at Plumelec via the Cadoudal hill, which has an average gradient of 6.2% and a drop that goes from 43 to 154 meters over 1.8 km. This is why the most prestigious races retain Plumelec as a transit or arrival point such as the Tour de France, the French road cycling championships, etc. The town is also the seat of the Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan, a one-day race organized since 1974. An event counting for the French road cycling cup, it has been ranked 1.1 in the UCI Europe Tour since 2005. Cycling fans and I count, will have a field day coming here for the Grand Prix, more info here: http://www.grand-prix-plumelec.com/

Some of the things to see here are the Saint-Maurice Church, (see post). The 17C castle of Callac, located at a place called Callac, part of Plumelec. The 16C manor of La Saudraie, located at a place called La Saudraie, part of Plumelec. The 15C manor of Kerangat: the pleasure garden of the estate was created in 1886. The 17C Cadoudal manor. The Notre-Dame Church in Callac, rebuilt at the end of the 19C, contains a silver chalice, dating from the 17C. And the 16C Touche-Berthelot well, located on the Stations of the Cross in Callac. So close yet so much to see we need to be back for more!!!

The town of Plumelec on its history and heritage in French: http://www.plumelec.org/Un-riche-passe-historique_a_50_c_12.html

The local tourist board of central Morbihan on Plumelec in French : https://www.centre-morbihan-tourisme.bzh/decouvrir/centre-morbihan-communaute/plumelec/

However, the best stopping by on these little traditional towns is the food! and that we love to be here. Let me tell you about a nice lunch experience in Plumelec!

We ate at Plumelec in the Créperie Les Korrigans. In Breton, the korrigans were dwarfs who lived in the forest and perhaps going back to the meaning of Halloween. One site describes them in French, but I give you what is said of them in English: Korrigans are described as druistes who oppose Christianity when the Apostles came to convert Brittany. They hate priests, churches, and  Saints.  They can predict the future, change shape, and move at lightning speed. They sing and comb their long hair, and they haunt fountains and water wells. They have the power of making men fall in love with them, but they then kill the ones who do. In many popular tales, they are eager to deceive the imprudent mortals who see them dancing or looking after a treasure, and fond of stealing human children. On the night of 31 October (All Souls’ Day =Halloween!!), they are said to be lurking near dolmens, waiting for victims! Here is an Arthurian webpage in French on some stories of Korriganshttp://legendes.korrigans.free.fr/?cat=3

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The créperie restaurant Les Korrigans at Plumelec is a country setting full of little figurines or korrigans as well as portraits of them. The food is typical Breton and with many prices from local travel guides like the Le Routard, and name by the Brittany tourist house as part of the designation Créperies Gourmandes. The Brittany tourist board in English on Les Korrigans: https://www.brittanytourism.com/offers/creperie-les-korrigans-plumelec-en-2012369/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The couple owners are fast and courteous and as the time went by more and more talkative. The food is excellent, we had a bottle of Colpo demi sec cider locally done, and the galette of Teuz with the local andouillette sausage and potatoes, and a crêpe of banana, with coconut ice cream, chocolate syrup and flakes of coconuts, express coffee and all came out to less than 20 euros per person! Les Korrigans webpage: http://creperieplumelec.com/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

And we came back home after another nice encounter in my beautiful Morbihan at traditional Plumelec and enchanting créperie Les Korrigans. Hope you enjoy the post and see the other on the town. Thanks for reading me over these years!!

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

January 7, 2021

Wines news of France VIIII !!

And bringing back my series on my other hobby other than travel which actually are complimentary. The wines are in me since 8 yrs old !! and that is a long time folks , believe me. To be brief as plenty in my blog and especially for newcomers, welcome all; I am certified wine expert by France (Sopexa) and Spain (ICEX) and have visited many vineyards all over the world. Of course, after all this experience I too can to believe the best were, are and will be for the forseeable future from France ! Hope you enjoy the post as I do.

Starting with a bang! It is a Champagne that is drunk late at night in Saint-Tropez or Miami, it is a wine for gourmets that knows how to accompany the best meals, from appetizers to dessert, it is a juice created by a Benedictine monk who never tastes better than in the cloister of the Abbey of Hautvillers, where he was born!  The production of Dom Pérignon, both great wine and supermarket, obeys principles that the successive cellar masters of the abbey have refined and applied. One of the first pillars of the house is blending, that is to say the choice of grapes from different plots that will go into the composition of the wine.  Dom Pérignon is releasing the 2010 vintage this year, a very open wine, with notes of pineapple, intense jasmine, a glorious champagne and broad shoulder, almost massive, which stands out from its predecessors. A wine with horses under the hood, sharper than the 2006, which turned out to be fat and nicely viscous. Much less toasted than the 2004, voluminous, airy. 2010 does not have the depth either, the gravitas of 2003. Each vintage finds its audience, and reveals a little of the personality of the one who loves it. YES it is out go for it!!! See my posts on Champagne.

The Roederer wine library, set up in 1999, is for those who have not had the patience to keep their wine in the cellar to enjoy it at the best time. This year, gourmets will discover the 1999 vintage. The vinothéque is between 300 and 500 bottles of rosé and between 700 and 900 bottles of white put on the market each year.  Today, of their 242 ha, 120 ha are certified organic. 122 ha are HVE (high environmental value) certified, of which 10 ha are biodynamic. the first edition of Brut Nature Rosé is breathtaking. The tension of this “bone” wine is even more noticeable on the rosé than on the white. This 100% organic vintage, made from a biodynamic vineyard, with no added sulfur or sugar, co-signed by designer Philippe Starck, has been a great success, especially in Italy.  The Roederer Group is preparing the production of a still red wine and a still white wine. The white will be made from a Chardonnay from Mesnil-sur-Oger. The red will come from a Pinot Noir from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. These two wines, vintage 2018, will be released next February 2021.

It is now possible to produce vintage wines, that is to say that the use of reserve wines is no longer mandatory. This is a great opportunity for Champagne to express its uniqueness and to show once again that these are great wines and a great region. Here is a Champagne with pretty tension, straight in its boots but without stiffness. On the nose, this wine with fine bubbles is an orchard at the end of summer, it scents pear and mirabelle plum, while the palate, of the creamy type, gives way to red fruits. The glacier coast, exposed to the south, as its name does not indicate, and the parcel of Meurtet, exposed south-east. Two unique expressions of Aÿ pinot noir. Barely 6,000 bottles are sold each year. Served as an aperitif, it awakens the taste buds with immense sweetness. Gourmets will keep it at the table where it will happily accompany foie gras, scallops, langoustines, lobster and cheeses. Let us add that this Champagne lends itself to a long guard. Those less in a hurry can wait until 2040.

Already consultant in the wine and spirits sector in New York, Hongkong, and Zurich, and later in charge of exports for a great domaine in the Rhône, Jean-Baptiste Ancelot finished to accomplished his dream as a student. That is, the culmination of a census of each country wine producers in pretty bottles, a project that took him eleven years of worrk. From this adventure, he took out the work of the Wine Explorers. The opening of an e-shop is the next logical step. Already six countries are highlighted in its catalog. In Austria, in the region of Burgenland, they discover the cuvées of the domain Silvia Heinrich and the red grape variety Blaufränkish. Then passing through Bosnia-Herzegovina to taste the wines of the Brkic estate made from the zilavka (white) and blatina (red) grape varieties. Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic are part of the trip, like Malta, with the Meridiana estate. The proposal should quickly be enriched with Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, Italian, Slovenian vintages ..They want to quadruple the supply on the French market from the first half of 2021. The book and concept here:  Wine ExplorersLe 1er tour du monde du vin, (the first world tour of wines) by Jean-Baptiste Ancelot, ed. Omniscience, 234 pgs, here at 35€.

King Louis XIV loved the delicate rosé wine produced in Les Riceys, a small village of 1,500 inhabitants located in the south of Champagne, in the Côte des Bars. The production of rosé is a heroic act, because the village also has the right to produce, from the same grapes, Coteaux-Champenois and especially Champagne. The appellation of origin Rosé-des-Riceys occurs in three communes, Riceys-Haut, Riceys-Haute-Rive and Riceys-Bas, on specific plots, from a short maceration of the skins of the pinot noir grapes with its juice. Maceration is stopped as soon as the famous “taste of Riceys” appears. The wine then passes from the vat into oak barrels where it matures for a year or more.  This rosé is rare. Of the 320 million bottles produced, still wines called Coteaux-Champenois represent less than a million and Rosé-des-Riceys a few tens of thousands. In other  words, nothing for a global market. But it is one of the best rosés in France and its very original taste, more Burgundy than Champagne, is sought after, especially since it can be kept without problem between three and ten years. This rosé is eaten locally on pig’s trotters in Sainte-Ménehould or on a soufflé pie with chaource cheese. Among the fifteen producers, it must be mention Alexandre Bonnet, always very consistent, Olivier Horiot, with a good density, Defrance, quite rustic, and Veuve Devaux, always very elegant. Four interpretations for a unique wine. Indeed to taste!!!

Today, some winegrowers proclaim it loud and clear: they are proud to belong to one of the 580 cellars or unions of French cellars (cooperatives). Out of 75,000 harvest declarations in 2019, 43,300 are cooperative members who own small structures of around seven hectares. The geographical development of my selection begins in Alsace where the Cave de Ribeauvillé, created in 1895, is considered to be the oldest of the cooperatives. The Champagne is the region which offers the most beautiful list of enterprising cellars, since the beginning of the century to moment when the Champagne economic network is united between the trade and the winegrowers following the revolts of 1911. In Burgundy, the producers of crémants are efficient, while in still wines, La Chablisienne has long proved its worth, followed by the cellars from the Mâconnais and the Côte Chalonnaise such as Lugny, Buxy and the Vignerons des Terres Secrètes. In the Jura, the village fruit farms have a voice, particularly that of Arbois. In the Rhône Valley, the Cave de Tain-Hermitage is playing in the big league, while some cellars in southern villages are on the rise, with cuvées based on often organic and / or “natural” fruit. The Midi offers a nice group of dynamic cellars. It is true that cooperation has its roots in Hérault, thanks to the alliance in 1901 of a small group of winegrowers from the village of Maraussan, Les Vignerons Libres, whose cellar inaugurated in 1905 during Jaurès’ speech founded the system. 31% of cooperation is concentrated in Languedoc and Roussillon. Finally, on the western front, two large groups dominate the southwest: the dynamic Cave de Plaimont and Vinovalie, the Bordeaux entity Tutiac, which has taken over the marketing of a large part of the region. The Loire, for its part, remains slightly behind …too small to join forces as cooperatives.

The AOP Listrac-Médoc is, with its cousin Moulis, the most “continental” of the town’s appellations of the Médoc. They doesn’t “look” at the estuary like the others. Thus, even if the climate is temperate oceanic, the temperature minima are lower here than in the other communal areas of the peninsula. The Listrac and Moulis area is one of the latest in the Bordeaux vineyards. Listrac is also distinguished by its terroir. The soils of the Médoc depend largely on the six ancient terraces of the Garonne. The wine-growing soils are generally more clayey than in the other Médoc town’s appellations. Hence a higher proportion of Merlot (63%). But there are significant variations between sites …! This was a find for us way back and enjoying ever since.

The French wine and spirits sector is sacrificed for a dispute over aeronautics,yes. The Federation of FEVS exporters denounced  last Thursday, December 31, 2020 after the announcement of extended customs duties by Washington (USA). Three weeks from the end of its mandate, the Trump administration announced on the night of Wednesday, December 30 to Thursday that it was preparing to impose additional customs duties on European products, in particular wines (excluding sparkling wines like champagne) and cognacs. Washington is authorized to do so by the World Trade Organization in the context of its dispute with the EU on aid to aeronautical giants. Since October 2019, the United States has imposed a 25% customs duty on still wines below 14 degrees, sold in containers of less than two liters!! According to information from the FEVS, this 25% tax will now extend to all still wines, including in bulk, as well as to wine-based spirits, such as cognac. The FEVS calls on the EU to take action to finally resolve this conflict between Airbus and Boeing and to compensate the French and European companies which are the collateral damage of this interminable conflict. Indeed trade wars are not good and do not resolve anything.

The Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB) Wine Bar is located on the ground floor of the Hotel Gobineau, a magnificent 18C building reminiscent of the famous Flatiron in New York. The place which also  houses the headquarters of the CIVB is atypical with its neoclassical architecture and its stained glass windows dedicated to the wine world. Lovers of Bordeaux wines flock to it, the queue often overflows into the street! Here, they only serve bordeaux! The menu is regularly updated, and you can permanently taste around thirty wines carefully selected and served by the glass. The prices are between 2 and 8 €. The tasting can be accompanied by platters of cheese, cold cuts, or chocolates. Note on sunny days: the place has a pretty terrace, with a breathtaking view of the Grand Théâtre. Indeed we always stop by when in Bordeaux since 1991!!  Le Bar à Vin du CIVB, 3, cours du 30-juillet, 33000 Bordeaux. Tél. : 05 56 00 43 47. webpage : https://baravin.bordeaux.com/

And last, left for last as it is a sad news indeed, my Lavinia is gone.

It is with great sadness , really no words for it that I read in the LRVF magazine ,the Lavinia wine shops are closing this January 9 2021! This is certainly bad news, which shows the fragility of the wine professions in these times of the Covid19 virus , and which will make a big splash. The Lavinia store, the emblematic wine merchant on Boulevard de la Madeleine, will close its doors on Saturday January 9 in the evening.  One of the most beautiful wine windows in Paris draws the curtain, after twenty years of ambitious work to raise the reputation of the best French and foreign wines in the capital. It rose to nearly 40 million euros in sales in 2015, including 17 million for the Madeleine store alone, its flagship. Opening of a restaurant where you could drink any bottle of the store without corkage duty (yes wonderful after work), development of a very profitable spirits department, distribution of wines to restaurants via the Vins du Monde subsidiary, corporate gifts, gift boxes for individuals, online sales, home deliveries in the West of Paris, store openings in Madrid, (visit here too!!) Barcelona, franchises in Ukraine to Kiev and Odessa, subsidiaries in Hong Kong, establishment in La Défense, specialized distribution with the takeover of the Augé boulevard Haussmann cellar. …The brand innovated every year, with some success. And the high rent in the Madeleine district (more than 1.2 million euros per year! Yes Paris is expensive!) weighs too much when the demonstrations of yellow vests erupt in the beautiful districts then the Covid19 virus, which plummets the attendance of the store. The Covid19  virus , in fact, also cut the taps of foreign tourists visiting Paris and fond of iconic bottles, which represented nearly 5% of turnover. Barcelona have closed, Ukraine has not responded since the Orange Revolution and the situation is tense within the group. Last April, Lavinia sold its Vins du Monde subsidiary and its allocations to prestigious foreign domains such as Vega Sicilia, Harlan Estate or Pingus. After the closure of the Lavinia La Défense store, a business district that has been deserted since the rise of teleworking, here is the turn of Lavinia La Madeleine. Again, sad very sad if there was one I thought this one will survive but I guess was wrong, the virus did it but it has been a downward fall for a while. Oh well , need to find me another one now! Lavinia will be irreplaceable!

And there go folks , gladly reporting from the world of wine and my belle France. Hope you enjoy reading as Id writing it. En vino veritas!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!! And to add drink wine even if in moderation lol!!!

January 3, 2021

The markets of Rouen!!!

And here is another memorable post that I am revising and updating links. When we lived in Versailles we used to come here a lot as was closer. Even for lunch lol! and take a walk around the city of Rouen! One of the spots my dear late wife Martine love were the markets. Therefore ,here is my update on the markets of Rouen!!!

As I told you we have been coming here for a long time, maybe since 1990, and always enjoyed it. I like the history of it, and the quant streets, the architecture and the people. I have come to see the Champion of France in baseball the Rouen Huskies and Vice Champion of Europe! and to enjoy on its wonderful old restaurants. However, what my dear late wife Martine enjoyed most was the markets of Rouen.

It is wonderful to have these great places surrounded by truly amazing history and great architecture. And of course, the products are delicious.  Let me tell you briefly on them,  but first some important webpages to help you your visit.

The city of Rouen on our favorite markets; first Saint Marc, and then the Place du Vieux Marché: 

https://rouen.fr/marche-saint-marc

https://rouen.fr/marche-place-du-vieux-marche

And the same from the Rouen tourist office on the Saint Marc and the Place du Vieux Marché:

https://en.rouentourisme.com/markets/marche-saint-marc-664-en/

https://en.rouentourisme.com/markets/marche-du-vieux-marche-665-en/

A bit on where they are,starting with the precious marché du Vieux Marché at Place du Vieux Marché. The most favorite of all there!

The Old Market square,or place du Vieux Marché  located at the West end of the rue d’Horloge and not far from the big clock, there are several houses half-timbered or corbelled, whose large part actually consists of old façades done to  this place. It housed the Church Saint-Sauveur who was destroyed in 1793 but including the foundations were identified during the renovation of the square. Church Sainte-Jeanne of Arc  bold and disputed architecture allows you to admire the stained glass windows of the old Church of Saint-Vincent, formerly located at the bottom of the rue Jeanne d’Arc  and destroyed in 1944. Its appearance evokes both a viking ship and a fish. It was inaugurated on May 27, 1979 by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, president of the French Republic.

rouen-mf-pl-vieux-marchc3a9-gourmet-market-oct08

The fame of the place is related to the torture of Joan of Arc who was burnt alive on May 30, 1431. The place of public executions with the pillory and the firewall to the pyres was exhumed at the same time as the foundations of the Church of Saint-Sauveur.  Until 2012, a Joan of Arc (Jeanne d’Arc) Museum located south of the place, near “the oldest Inn of France”, recounted her life. The place was also the site of the executions until 1836, and wholesale market  until 1969, time of the creation of the market as we know it today.

A small market is always running on a Hall with  ironwork covered with slates as the adjoining Church and which evoke the waves of the ocean.  Until 1944 there was the Theatre-Français, bombed and replaced in 1960 by modern buildings with half-timbered facades from the 17C at  two steps from the  square, 6 rue de la Pie , is the birthplace of Pierre Corneille which became a museum dedicated to the writer.  There is an underground parking as well as a station Cy’ click (bikes).

Another one we like and enjoyed is at the Saint Mark’s square or Place Saint Marc  located in the Saint-Marc – Croix de  Pierre – Saint-Nicaise district. The name is taken from a Chapel which was  settled by  the Cordeliers in 1228, before being transferred in 1255 to St. Clement Church. The Chapel of St. Mark, close to the Aubette, is burned down before 1342 and rebuilt in 1435. The Clos Saint-Marc was part of the fiefdom of the Lords of the Tot, who had the right to hold a market. In 1794, the clos Saint-Marc is called the Clos des Volontieres or Volunteers. In a miserable area, the field was cleared and transformed into a place planted with trees and filled with fountains, which hosts the market from 1837. In 1846, the cabins are built to house the merchants. The place is connected to the docks by the opening of the rue  Armand Carrel in 1844 the place is renowned for its vast market, especially the Sunday bringing together traders from first and second-hand dealers. There is also a shopping center (Intermarché). Concerts take place here on the terraces on Thursday. There is an underground car park as well as a station Cy’ click (bikes).

The market here is an institution. The Marché de Saint Marc or St.-Marc  Market, one of the largest of the region ,very busy on the big square of the historical center  four days a week: Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fruits, vegetables, textiles and second-hand dealers, particularly in summer, the terraces  fill up at eye sight, as soon as the Sun made its appearance. Grey weather, the market may hold some surprises. Installed  in the Place Saint Marc , since the first half of the 19C, the market spread under and between the halls. Sunday is the day of choice to meet a maximum of small producers. Many growers alongside the cheese makers, butchers, fishmongers in the region… The non-food side, the second-hand dealers hold an important place. Here and there, we meet also a merchant of flowers or a shoe merchant installed in front of a seller of… socks.

rouen-market-st-marc-sept10

On the city and tourist webpage of Rouen,  above you have other markets as well and the ones by rue Eugéne Boudin are good too . The two above are simply above and beyond any even in the region, these are tops. Worth a detour and spend easily a morning on each.

Hope it helps your shopping pleasures in Rouen, in  the Seine Maritime dept 76 of the region of Normandy.

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

December 31, 2020

The little Epernay, Grand de Champagne!

I like to update this post if for any reason my sentimental value. When in Champagne, my dear late wife Martine family went there when young to work and earned a bit of money smashing grapes and cleaning around; my first instroduction to them , the grandmother took me to Epernay and the great Champagne houses. It has been an ever lasting relationship with the Champagne region and the bubbly. I like to tell you about the little town of Epernay, Grand de Champagne!!

Let me tell you about this small town known the world over as the home of Champagne, actually it is a sentimental favorite of ours. On that first trip we visited the houses of  Mercier and Moêt & Chandon ! Therefore, enjoy  Épernay in the dept 51 Marne, now region of Grand Est in my belle France.

The town is right in the middle of a huge viniculture region essential to its economy and link to Champagne from the 18C. The town originally grew on the left bank of the Marne river but it has grown into the right bank as well . The Marne river is navigable from Epernay with a pleasure marina and into the Canal Latéral à la Marne serving as border with Ay to the north of town.  It is located about 25 km from Reims and about 140 km from Paris.

Épernay can be reach on the road by the Autoroute A4 sortie/exit 21 Dormans and sortie/exit 23 Champfleury,  The autoroute of the English or A26 sortie 17 Fagniéres, the D951 (old N51) and the D3 (old N3).  The town is on the traject of the way of liberty or  Voie de la Liberté, and the route of Champagne.  The train is on the line LGV Gare de l’Est Paris-Strasbourg. In addition to links with Bar-le-Duc,  and  Saint-Dizier as well as Reims, Châlons-en-Champagne, Vitry-le-François, Nancy, Metz, Charleville-Mézières, Sedan , and the Gare de Champagne-Ardenne TGV. The local bus network isMouvéo with 6 regular lines  on the town and nearby towns, it is open Mondays to Saturdasy from 6h to 20h. I have to admit have only come here by car!

A bit of history I like on Epernay ,and I believe gives you something to think and see while in town.

The old documents tell us that the town was founded in the area of Celtic Gaul on the left bank of the Marne river and written evidence from the 5C generally given as  418AD. After several invasions by Germanic people it passes under the domain of the Franks under Euloge an officer under king Clovis that takes it and becomes the first Lord of Epernay. Legend tell us that  Euloge is found guilty of a crime by Clovis and condemn to death ; Euloge ask Saint Remi to intervene and he convince the king to spare Euloge in exchange  gives the town to Saint Remi who don’t  take it but buys it  instead wishing only the castle of Epernay  ; Saint Remi confirmed in his will the taking of Epernay for the Church of Reims. In 1024,the town entered into the domain of the Counts of Champagne with the treaty between the bishop of Reims named  Eble de Roucy  and Eudes II,Count of Champagne . Under the under age of future king Louis XIV, in 1646  Épernay  is exchange with the Duke de Bouillon to appeased the markets to the north and stayed in the dukes’ hands until  1789, the French revolution.

In WWI Epernay is a rear guard town and the point of passage of troops and provisions as well as large numbers of soldiers station there ,as well as a hospital . However, been closed to the front it caused several bombings after 1917, and bring fears to the town of falling  by May 1918.  The attacks to the city destroyed a big portion of the  rue du Commerce (today,  avenue de Champagne) ; the Champagne houses of Chanoine Frères, Mercier, Moët & Chandon  and Raoul Chandon were greatly damage as well as the Notre Dame Church and by the rue du Paulmier.  The courage by the town gave it the Cross medal of the war of  1914-1918  on February 8 , 1920 by President of the French Republic Raymond Poincaré, to again honor the resistance and suffering of the people during the war as well as opening ceremonies for the city hall of Epernay at the  hôtel Auban-Moët.

During the WWII, Épernay  is evacuated on June 12 1940  with railroad cars.  Once the arrival of the Nazis on June 14 the city was dead with nobody in it. Therefore, the taking was of minor destruction with only the bridge over the Marne river that was quickly replaced by a wooden bridge. The town is liberated on August 28 1944 by the 7th Armored Division, under General  Silvester, and the  3e army of General Patton USA.  The town after its resistance and killing was decorated as well with the Cross of War medal 1939/45.

As said, this town is directly link to Champagne more than any other, including Reims. This is the country of the grapes of Champagne , the best in the world ever. A bit into this unique history with the help of faily stories and my books. In  1730, the Chanoine Fréres (brothers) founded the first house of Champagne here, one year after Ruinart at Reims.  By  1778, in the merchant general almanach  of shoppers, negotiators and builders of France and Europe ; the Parisian editor Grangé , you can already find  the main wine merchants here such as  « Marc, Germon (widow), De Parté (oldest son), Gillet, Dautez, Lochet du Chênet, Lochet de Vaudidon, Moette the oldest,  and Villème », that makes it 7 houses of Champagne already.

Other than Champagne houses, the things to see here in my opinion are the Notre-Dame Church b. 1898-1915 and later rebuilt 1922-25 with stained glass windows from the 16C and a wonderful organ at place Mendès-France, and the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul Church at square Raoul-Chandon. Interesting there is a synagogue here from 1880. Other than that not much, not that it tries, after been pillage and burned over 25 times in its history.  My favorites are the gate or portal Saint-Martin, built in 1540, renaissance style  and only part of the Notre Dame Church destroyed in 1909. The  Château-Perrier, built  1854 in the Louis XIII style,  and later HQ of the British army in 1940 and Nazis 1942-1944, and American army in 1945.  The city/town hall or hôtel de ville,built in 1858 by same architect that did the  gare Montparnasse in Paris with a very nice garden.  The theater of Epernay Gabrielle-Dorziat, built and opened in 1902, one of the rare Italian theaters where the machinery is intact ; and has a ceiling dome done by  Georges Jules-Victor Clairin. The tower or  tour de Castellane, built between 1903 and 1905,one of the highest French buildings and the house of Champagne for workers quarters since 1990. Built from a water tower to give the most visibility to the fields by the  maison de champagne De Castellane that is right on the Avenue de Champagne.

Ah yes the Avenue de Champagne is sublime just to walk it! and to taste is heavens!! Épernay is the seat of several Champagne houses such as the Moët & Chandon  and its orangerie ,  Maison Mercier and the barrel biggest in the world (now part of M&C),  maison De Castellane and its tower, etc.  These mansions have furniture and buildings from the 19C renaissance or classic style. The avenue is also known as the crazy street or faubourg de la Folie, later rue du Commerce,and now Avenue de Champagne.  From 1894 most of the Champagne houses had their place on this avenue ; and most are available for visits and tastings. They have about 110 km of underground cellars dig into the chalk at a depth of 20 meters with some even to 40 meters. They allowed to stock large quantities of Champagne that makes the avenue one of the riches in the world. They ,also, serve to guard the population in times of war or needs. The costumes of light or Habits de Lumiére is an event held on the avenue de Champagne every second weekend of December. Unfortunately due to the virus going around this year 2020 has been cancelled, wait for it in 2021. Webpage: https://habitsdelumiere.epernay.fr/en

Other interesting places to see and visit are the museums or as the musée du vin de Champagne,a working museum on the work of the vine and wine. The prehistory and archeology museum or musée de Préhistoire et d’Archéologie housing objects from pre history, protohistory, gallo roman periods as well as merovinians are in the Château Perrier ; the museum of champagne traditions or musée de la tradition champenoise in the Champagne de Castellane housing the museum of trades and printing or  musée des métiers du champagne and  musée champenois de l’imprimerie ; as well as the pressing museum or musée des pressoirs in the Champagne Mercier, that have several grape pressing machines from all origins but only open on exceptional days so check before you go for this one. The theater or théâtre Gabrielle-Dorziat  at 8, rue de Reims with  850 seats.

The City of Epernay on its heritage: https://www.epernay.fr/decouvertes-patrimoine/tourisme

The Epernay tourist officehttp://en.ot-epernay.com/

The Champagne-Ardennes region tourist board on Champagne: https://www.champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk/discover/tasting-champagne/cellars-vineyards

And of course, if you want to know ,learn more about the bubbly, then go in English to the official page of the assoc that protects the gold liquid rights : https://www.champagne.fr/en/homepage

Enjoy the wonderful town of Epernay by the Marne river, and the bubbly symbol of France to the world! Hope you have enjoy the black and white post as pictures are elsewhere in my Champagne trail.

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

December 30, 2020

Yes , this is the real Brie de Meaux! the cheese that is !!!!!

Moving right along updating these old posts of mine, i come to what my readers should know is a very sentimental town and all of it for me. This is Meaux in dept 77 Seine et Marne of the Ïle de France region of my belle France. I like to tell you a bit on the wonderful Brie de Meaux cheese!!!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

And at last, this is the real Brie de Meaux, the king of cheeses, the cheese of kings , Vienna Congress 1815. Indeed, and there are lots of imitations and even those claiming to be using the same method but in far away lands ,even in France.

However, the real unique Brie de Meaux comes from the brie region of the department 77 Seine-et-Marne, and the town of Meaux (from which my wife comes from) is the epicenter of it. Sadly, today , many farmers are gone, industrialization has and does kill traditions. It remains only folks like us, me to preserve them and sponsored them so they keep delighting us with the real thing.

After much fighting , there is a group Brie de Meaux et de Melun, that protects the cheeses creating an AOP or Appellation d’Origine Protégée. Webpage: https://www.briedemeauxetdemelun.fr/

For the Brie de Meaux ,there is the Confrérie des Compagnons du Brie de Meaux  or grouping of lovers of the cheese that is to protect and defend the tradition; the official site is here in English: https://www.confreriedubriedemeaux.fr/en/

La Maison du Brie de Meaux is a boutique that is right in the Episcopal palace next to the Museum Bossuet that also acts as the tourist office. You can buy it direct too.  5 place Charles-de-Gaulle, Meaux. City of Meaux  Webpage: https://www.ville-meaux.fr/fr/tourisme/balade-a-meaux/la-maison-du-brie-de-meaux.html

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The brie de Meaux is done on a covering crusted in hormones of the cow’s milk ,soft and fondant, it has a flowery smell and it is delicious alone or with bread or an apple or even with honey. It takes about 25 liters of milk for 3,5 kg of cheese in a round form. It was first given credit to be created in the Abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre about 17 km from Meaux on the N3 road.

Today due to shrinkage of the old traditions, the cheese makers are for 70% of the production located in the areas of Cousances-lés-Triconville, Raival, and Biencourt-sur-Orge within the allow territory of the AOP.  Covering several departments such as Seine-et-Marne (77), Loiret(45), Meuse(55) , Aube(10), Marne(51)  , Haute-Marne(52), and Yonne(89). And I have seen even in Savoie!(73).

However, the best is still around the town of Meaux and Jouarre. Here at the latest is the oldest family run cheesemaker or fromagerie place that of fromagerie Ganot since 1895. webpage: https://www.fromagerie-ganot.fr/

The one in Meaux has been doing for years from generation to generation and the one our family buys from. This is the Fromagerie de Meaux Saint Faron. Here it is produce as well as the smaller cousin of Melun. You can have tours and tastings as well.  The guided tours can be done in English or French. Groups are done with reservations,and individual visits can be done Wednesdays,Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9h -12h30 and 14h30 -17h. The place is outside the city in an industrial park just before reaching the museum of WWI and the American Monument on the N405 road. From the train station in Meaux coming from Paris gare de l’Est you can take bus P to it or take the navette bus from the train station to the museum WWI and walk down to the cheese maker. By car of course , we come always as it is on the way to my In-Laws house!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

They have no webpage but are feature in the tourist office of the country of Meaux here: https://www.tourisme-paysdemeaux.com/1685-fromagerie-de-meaux-saint-faron

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Awarded in 2017, with the prestigious Prize of Excellence at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris, this cheese factory preserves the ancestral techniques of making brie. Contacts  Tel +33 (0) 1 64 36 69 44 or email accueil@fromagerie-saintfaron.fr

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Of course, you can ,also taste the new beer of Meaux, we tried already the Christmas beer and is pretty good with a cinnamon taste to it very sweet.  You can buy it at the cheesemaker St Faron boutique or the maison de Brie tourist office . This is the Brasserie de Meaux webpage in their Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/brasseriedemeaux

And , do not forget the mustard or moutard de Meaux Pommery world famous use by all the grand chefs of France and the world. It was known since antiquity, only offered to the religious orders at the time around 1632; it was in 1760 that the secrets was passed on to a Mr Pommery. It was served on the Royal tables and located at behind the Cathedral later moved to rue faubourg St Nicolas until 1927, however in 1925 the last of the Pommery sold the secret, name, business and all; even if the new owners since has used the same recipe.  We use it at home and buy at Meaux the original, the mustard a l’ancienne or old ways that is use in cooking and also to eat along great steaks !! You can buy at the maison du brie or the fromagerie St faron or at the city center cheese store in 4 rue du Général Leclerc ,the Fromagerie de Meaux. The official maker distributor is the Assaisonnements Briards webpage: https://www.moutarde-de-meaux.com/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

For additional info, the abbey of Notre Dame de Jouarre is wonderful and should go there for the visit. I have written before in my blog.

Hope you enjoy it and the city of Meaux.  Things already written in my blog includes the vieux Châpitre linking to the Cathedral, the museum of Bossuet , gardens of Bossuet, where I walked first in the city, the ramparts , the pizzeria Roma my hangout when entering France in 2003 permanently, and of course, visiting the In-Laws now only the step-father there as mom passed away too last year in the village of Chambry.

In all, always memorable moments that stayed with you no matter what, time does not diminished the sadness of not having my dear late wife Martine who introduce me to her Brie de Meaux, I keep buying it. Hope you enjoy the post and do visit this city and do try the Brie of Meaux cheese and al. Thanks for reading me over these years.  See my other post on Meaux, several here.  Enjoy Meaux , the Meldois of the east of Parisi !! and of course the Brie!!

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

%d bloggers like this: