Posts tagged ‘Food and Wine’

June 10, 2019

Notre Dame market of Versailles!

Now let me bring you back to my beloved Versailles, so much written on it and so many visitors if only to the palace/museum. However, as always tells you, shh! There is a lot more to see than the castle/palace/museum here. If only visitors to Versailles on a city survey found out that 98% of them only come for the castle, its really a pity. Easy transport from that other famous city nearby, you have no excuses.  Versailles is it!

Let me tell you a bit more on the Notre Dame market or marché Notre Dame right in the historical neighborhood of Notre Dame, my own will gladly tell you , a wholesome place!


A bit of history I like a lot

In November 1634, King Louis XIII instituted the Versailles market at this site, presumably succeeding an older market. From 1671, king Louis XIV developed the market, with the aim of securing a good supply to the new city of Versailles, then a new town. The pavilions, detached from the domain of Clagny, were established in 1665, before the castle was built!

In 1725 the Notre-Dame market is refurbished; Louis Blouin builds the Flour Hall (halle à la farine). The market already comprises four squares, specialized food commercial spaces: the square with calves and poultry; the square with butter and tide, also with oats and grains; the herb square, that is, fruit and vegetables; the square from weight to flour, originally called the weight-of the king. In this hall there was a room for the verification of weights and measures used by traders. At the French revolution, the market was diminishing. It was gradually deteriorating. In 1835, the market was purchased by the city of Versailles and it ceases to belong to the Royal domain. Traders are expropriated and weakly compensated.





The old pavilions are destroyed to be replaced in 1841 by the current covered halls.  The new covered market was inaugurated on 15 September 1842. In 1871, with the installation of the provisional French Government in Versailles (due to the Franco-Prussian war), the market is one of the most active in France. From 1985 to 1991, the halls are again completely renovated. They are home to 35 businesses. Some 60 stands complement them on market days outside  on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Notre Dame market is at the intersection of two main streets: Rue de la Paroisse  and Rue du Maréchal Foch , former Rue Duplessis. Approximately on an east-west axis, the rue de la Paroisse begins at the grille entrance to the Neptune basin and ends after the Place du marché (market square),at the Avenue de Saint-Cloud. It was historically the street of goldsmiths, upholsterers and tailors. The rue du Maréchal Foch, almost north-south, crosses the city, prolongs the Avenue de l’Europe, to continue to place Édouard Laboulaye. This route links the Gare de Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche (closest to the palace/museum)  to the Rive-Droite train station(the one closest to my old home).


This place is reputed to be one of the most beautiful markets in France, especially at the food level! It attracts a clientele of all horizons, both local and regional and touristic, which makes its peculiarity. The market place is one of the most important trade points of Versailles; it concentrates 52% of the traditional trade of the city! The district presents a wide food offer thanks to the presence of merchants of the halls, open 6 days a week, and those of the market, present 3 days a week. Non-food markets offer a variety of products: clothing, makeup, furniture, flowers, etc., on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays afternoons. The market cleverly combines fresh produce, flowers and trinkets to be, according to the most admired, one of the finest in the trades. It is both a historic place (as here before the palace/museum, and that the halls that surround it are 360 years old!) and both are a prestigious place by its attendance and structure.


This whole square is lined with charming little cafés and restaurants on the terrace that invite you to take a little break! Two steps away, in the cobbled alleys that surround the geometric shape on four sides, the boutiques are pretext for a small stroll that allows to pass from the storefronts of antique shops to passages that seem to come straight from the Latin quarter  A parking lot managed by Vinci Park is located under the market place Notre Dame; It has a capacity of approximately 700 places. Pedestrian access is at the center of each square of the market by elevators/lifts and stairs. Since 2014, trompes-l’œil have been included in the parking access; they represent riders of the carrousel and recall the equestrian history of the city, still very present activity with the Academy of Equestrian Spectacle. It is a realization of the School of Mural Art of Versailles. The Place du Marché or market square is close to the Passage des antiquaries  (antique dealers).  The pedestrian crossing of the rue des deux portes (st of the two doors)  leads from the market square to Rue Carnot, near the Avenue de Saint-Cloud and the place d’Armes, in front of the façade and the main entrance of the Château de Versailles. In February 2018, the Versailles Notre Dame market was voted “the most beautiful market in Ile-de-France”! See the article in French at the Le Parisien newspaper:



This is the tourist office of Versailles on the Notre Dame marketTourist office of Versailles on the ND Market

Ok wait a minute, not far at the other end at the corner of  Avenue de l’Europe and Avenue de Saint Cloud you have a wonderful flower market  or marché aux fleurs and it is recommended by yours truly, something very nice to boot. A bit more on it

On the pavement on the sidewalks of the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, between the Avenue de l’Europe and the rue Georges-Clemenceau, the pavements of Versailles are flowed all year round! This is the address you need to know, whether you want to offer a bouquet, flower your living room, your terrace, for unbeatable prices, or just stroll among roses and camellias. There are some cut flowers and bouquets, and mostly potted plants, indoors or to plant, as well as shrubs. Christmas trees set you up in the magic of the holidays, in spring the pollen tickles your nose: every season it’s a botanical wonderland! Choose a color, know a flowering period, the merchants will advise you what you need without  hesitation! And then, even without buying, a walk here will be widely good feeling.

More on the flower market here: Tourist office of Versailles on the Flower market



And now you cover all the angles of a great shopping day in royal magical beautiful Versailles! And shopping here with all these monumental buildings is a must and a great uplifting experience especially if like me you are into architecture and history.

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


June 7, 2019

Oberemmel, wine country house, Germany!

Let me bring you back to our trip to Germany. Of course  , I have been to Germany and so has my family on several trips but this time we decided to rent a house in wine country and see the smaller towns of the Saar region of Germany. It was awesome, and we sure will be back.

We chose an apartment in the winemaker’s house in the town of Konz-Oberemmel where we rented for two weeks as our base; the town is lovely, and the stay was good with excellent quality/price ratio. This is the town page on the tourist office,

The rental at Willems & Hofmann was here , Willems & Hofmann wine country house rental





It was in the 2nd floor of the building,  it had an entry stair a bit tight, then kitchenette, dining/living room combine with two windows in the attic, two bedrooms with two twins beds on each and the sofa bed in the living room; coffeemaker, microwave,medium size fridge, closets, the bathroom with shower and window;cable TV with some English stations for news, plus French, Spanish,Portuguese,etc. no telephone and no wifi/internet. The rent was discounted as we rented two weeks so it will change according to your stay and season. The family daughter and winemaker speaks English, and it is the daughter who handles the initial rental by email. The owner mother does not speak English.




The town has one grocery store and one bakery, that is it, 1700 inhabitants, one spoked English and two French, the rest German and our few words. The reception in town was very friendly, and all folks try to help us; we did attack that grocery store Edeka-Krumm. More in German here:Edeka Krumm grocery store in Oberemmel



The bakery was Baeckerei Baasch, no webpage but here is some info in German. Baasch Bakery at Oberemmel


We were lucky to arrive at the time of the Wine Festival in town, with live music until the wee hours, and plenty of white/red local wines and bitburg beers as well as sausages of all types and friendly service. The town is full of private wineries so on every street there is one to taste lol! And of course, in the wine festival there were all!!! The town page is here in German but you can see the festival announcement weinfestival/ The site I found it now in German is here: Wine Festival in Oberemmel

And the place we rent it and are wine producers on site Weingut Willems-Willems is this one in German: Willems wine maker in Oberemmel




In all was a memoral trip for my family and I recommend doing this with yours in wine country right to the root of the good earth, no big cities fancy hotels, just come and enjoy the real Germany and its wine producing regions at Konz Oberemmel. Hope you have enjoy it as we did and do and post again for the memories that will linger forever with my dear late wife Martine.RIP

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



June 1, 2019

London, driving, eating, drinking!!!

Ok ok not at once and defintively not while driving but in my limited creative mind these are what are best to do in London, me think. We always drive there and its glorious, no problems whatsoever driving on the left, and the foodies closeness to what we are used from back “home” and the good nice cold beers are wonderful excuse to come again and again. Of course, I have written before on London, but let me refresh on the goodies.

Let me tell you on how we come here, where we stay and take the tube! metro/subway lines and eat and drink of course! This is London live!!!

Tesco is the largest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom. With 3,500 stores, it is present throughout the world where it supplies food products, household products and supplies. Tesco even sells products of its own brand. We did always shop at Kensington Tesco full scale hyper market and great take out foods. Latest news I have is that the chain is trying to cut back on some of its lines due to losses so hurry up and try it, we love it. More on them here: Tesco at Kensington location


Gourmet Burger Kitchen is a restaurant chain in the United Kingdom specialising in gourmet burgers. The company was started in London by New Zealanders. There is a subtle Kiwi theme throughout the restaurants, a reference to the heritage of the original owners. The same here on mounting losses and a restructuring going on, so hurry up by St Paul Cathedral , where we tried them and we love it. Always busy and that is the fun get your order, sit and be call for it, pickup pay and eat on high tables, with the St Paul watching you lol!!! More on them here: Gourmet Burgers Kitchen on St Paul’s


Chiquito is a restaurant chain specialising in Tex-Mex foods. The company was established in 1989, and has 68 restaurants across the country. It dubs itself as ‘The Original Mexican Grill & Bar‘, and has been described as the United Kingdom’s best known Mexican chain. The restaurants, which tend to feature a large bar and lounge style restaurant have rustic interior décor, based on traditional Mexican architecture and culture, where old Mexican posters and photos adorn the walls, alongside piñatas, plates, castanets, fans, and sombreros. Spanish and Mexican music plays throughout the restaurant. Nick Frost, actor and writer, worked at the Staples Corner London branch where he first met Simon Pegg. We love the terrace at Leicester Square!!! Resto. Great views great food and the view! More on them here: Chiquito at Leicester Square


looking at you in Leicester Square! Chiquito!

Originally built in 1876 as the Courtfield Hotel, opposite Earls Court Station,  and first licensed in 1879. At 187 Earls Court Road by 1910, the Hotel has now been dropped from the name. This Courtfield Pub has an impressive front bar with tall windows and a high ceiling. Chandeliers and lanterns suspended above the bar add to the period atmosphere. The rear area has attractive wood paneling and relaxing banquettes. Sports matches are shown on screens situated around the pub. Friendly staff provide good service. This was and still is our hangout each time there, we need to passed by it; was the first with the whole family so it has become rather sentimental for us. It is great ambiance and friendly service always. We will be back!! More on them here: Greene king pubs on Courtfield Pub by Earls Court




bloody gooood!!!

And it would not be fair to leave without telling you of our fav fav area in London. We have been coming here on and off years since 2011 and it is wonderful area to walk, shop, eat, drink and get on our tube express to the rest of London. We had rented apartments at Earls Court Studios. Friendly service, nice folks, they live upper floor of the building! More for your rental pleasures here: Earls Court Studios London

And now a bit on the Earl’s Court area.

Earl’s Court, is a west London neighborhood, located in the Kensington and Chelsea district. After WWII it was nicknamed the “Polish Corridor”, because of the number of Polish officers and soldiers who settle there and open their businesses. They were replaced in the late 1960’s by a wave of visitors from Australia (but also from New Zealand) who add the sobriquet, “Kangaroo valley”. For more than a century, since 1879, the area has been famous for the major festivals, and salons that in 1937 took place in the main convention center, the Earls Court Exhibition Center, a building in Modern Art style. Built by the  American, Charles Howard Crane . Earls Court Exhibition Center was replaced it’s demolition was duly completed in 2017. The area has since returned to its former state of waste ground only with an adjacent devastated Green corridor. Too sad as this is where we parked as far back as 2016 and it has been totally change, and now need to find parking nearby at Seagrave road! Avoid that congestion fee lol!!!

The area is served by the Earls Court metro/tube station as well as the West Brompton station. The station is on the District line (all branches of the latter join) and the Piccadilly line, zones 1 and 2. On the Piccadilly line the station is between Barons Court and Gloucester Road. It is the major junction of the District line, with West Brompton, Kensington (Olympia) and West Kensington to the west, High Street Kensington to the north and Gloucester Road to the east. Very nice to move on in lovely London! More on the station here:



And how do we get here well we take the Eurostar train crossing with our car in tow, and then we drive on towards the fable M25 and our lovely London! A bit more on this heavy road that we love to drive on and again no problems ever with the left!!Even thus we prefer the right !!!

The M25, motorway/highway known locally as the London Orbital, serves the Greater London Area, for 188 km long. In Europe, the M25 is the second longest road after Berlin, which is 8 kilometers longer. It is the busiest road in the United Kingdom. Between exits 14 and 15 near Heathrow Airport, (where we get in for Earl’s Court) the M25 is one of the busiest motorways in Europe. The highway, which was built between 1975 and 1986, crosses the Thames river at Staines. The M25 is not a complete circle; in Dartford, it becomes the A282 road and crosses the Thames river by the Elizabeth II Bridge and a tunnel.  Over most of its length, the M25 has 6 lanes, although there are some 4-lane or 8 lane portions . The highway was widened to 10 lanes between exits 12 and 14, and to 12 lanes between exits 14 and 15. Great road no problems at all driving on the left ! Love it! My road to London from France by car of course! More on the M25 here:


M25 running to London!

And there you go folks , do dare drive in lovely London its an adventure of a lifetime, and you will be back !!! as we have lol! Until another round chasing Sherlock we will be saying elementary my dear Watson to you all.

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

May 22, 2019

How about those European beers!

Ok lack of imagination for titles on my post well you know me by now… I like to tackle a special subject that can be travel related too. I if reading my blog very much into wines , collector, drinker, and amateur lover of the grapes and my god Bacchus ! Certified connasseur by France and Spain. However, I do indulge in other drinks such as beers.

For a friendly chat or apéro as we call it in France, sort of a happy hour US or after work UK, we tend to dwell into beers for the better and quicker conversation lol! Over the years I have appreciated them more and more and by now in my home we tend to divide the subject depending on the type of food we are going to serve. A barbecue of course it is always beers!  Therefore, let me write something on my favorite beers, as have done in the past with those of Brittany and others in my blog. Other than Breton, like the Duchesse Anne triple as the French do not know beers , sorry!!! we drink Belgians, Irish, or German beers at home and at bars. Of course, while in Spain , we do drink the beers there but only our favorite from Madrid Mahou. Lately, we have been trying Czech beers too lol!!!


Belgian beers are among the most varied and the most numerous beer collections in the world. They vary from the very popular “pils” to the exclusively Belgian appellations of lambic (spontaneous fermentation), old brunette, red beer or raw beer through the famous Trappists! and other Abbey or seasonal beers.  Since 2016, Belgian beer has been inscribed in the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO under the title: beer cultivation in Belgium.

The Guild of the Brewers of Bruges saw the day in 1308, that of Liège in 1357 and that of Brussels in 1365. In the 16C, the “Maison de l’Arbre d’Or” (house of the golden tree) on the Grand-Place in Brussels was bought by the Brewers from the upholsterers. Restored in 1638, the Brewers ‘ House was destroyed during the bombing of Brussels by Marshal Villeroy in 1695. Rebuilt between 1698 and 1707, it is embellished in 1749. After the abolition of the corporations, it was sold as a State property in 1793 under the French occupation. A bit of more recent history, in 1934: the monks of Westmalle brew the first triple, yes! In 1954, the House of Brewers on the Grand Place of Brussels becomes a corporatist house. In addition to the Brewers Guild and the Chevalerie du Fourquet, it houses a brewery museum in the basement (yes very nice). In  2007, was the creation of the Belgian family brewers label bringing together the family Breweries of more than 50 years of existence.  In 2008,  InBev merges with the American brewer Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch InBev is thus created and maintains its position as a world leader.

Authentic Trappist product at the moment, and six are located in Belgium: West-Vleteren, Westmalle (yes!) , Achel, Rochefort, Orval and Chimay (yes!). We know the doubles of the Trappist abbeys, but also the Sint Bernardus Pater, Maredsous (yes!)  and the Witkap Dubbel. The white beers, this type of beer, aged 400 years ago, had disappeared in the  1950’s, but was revived by Pierre Celis in his brewery in Hoegaarden.

Belgium beers webpage on tourism of beers


Guinness  is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available in over 120.  The acquisition in 1986 of Distillers company, a Scottish group, including the brands of Johnnie Walker, Ballantine’s or Chivas Regal whiskies. Guinness PLC disappeared in 1997, the date of the creation of the company Diageo PLC by merger-acquisition with Grand Metropolitan.

The Guinness is a stout, a black beer topped with white foam, known worldwide for its flavor and its special appearance. Guinness is strongly linked to the history of Ireland; it is one of the symbols at the international level. The brand uses a Celtic harp such as that of Brian Boru or Trinity College as part of its visual identity. This 14C harp model is one of the traditional symbols of Ireland since the reign of Henry VIII in the 16C. Guinness used the harp as a symbol in 1862 and then as a logo deposited in 1876. However, it is reversed compared to that of the national coats of arms.

This beer is a stout, a type of beer of high fermentation from the beers porter that became famous in the 18C in London. It’s almost black brown color (but which is actually deep red; to be seen in the light) comes from the use for its design of highly roasted malts and roasted barley grains. The cream-colored foam layer that caps the beer is the result of a nitrogen addition during the draught . This latter characteristic poses the difficulty of obtaining an identical flavor and texture between the Guinness pressure and those sold in bottles and cans. In 2016, under the pressure of vegans, Guinness modifies its ancestral recipe; it renounces to use the traditional fish-native bladders to filter and lighten its beer and now uses a new filtration process. their beers are now Vegan

The Guinness draught is the flagship variety of the Guinness range; it is also the best-selling beer in Ireland. The extra stout is a separate range within the Guinness range of beers. Stronger, more “corsed”, with more pronounced bitterness, the extra stout is also exported abroad under the name foreign extra stout.

Official Guinness and its beers

Diageo corporate owner of Guinness


The German beer (we drink most) originates in the high Middle Ages. For centuries, beer has been part of German culture and gastronomy, and the country is studded of Bierpalast (“beer Palace”), Biergarten (“beer garden”), Bierstube (“Brasserie”), Bierkeller (“beer cellar”), Bierhaus (“house beer “) and Bierzelt (” beer tent “) found at the many beer festivals.  In Germany there are a large number of types of beers but the immense success of the pilsener  dominating 70% of the market eclipsing many regional varieties, apart from the export and the Weissbier which occupy about 10% of the internal market.

In 736 in Geisenfeld in Bavaria, there is a mention of a fermented beverage based on barley. In 766, mention was made of the oldest beer delivery from Geisingen to the Abbey of St. Gallen (Switzerland). In 974, the first brewing authorization was given by the Emperor Otto II of the Holy Roman Empire to the Church of Liège (Belgium).

The Thuringian have a document of 1434 (Wirtshausgesetz) written in Weißensee, which states the only ingredients allowed: water, barley, hops. Decrees in Regensburg in 1453 or Landshut in 1493 prohibit any aromatization except that of hops. In 1842 also arrives from Bohemia, the pilsener which was to be immediately successful.

During the recasting of the Biersteuergesetz in 1993, the rules of the former are maintained as a preliminary law of beer and the tax provisions transferred. Now the regulation on the eligible ingredients is no longer valid only for the production of beer in Germany for the German market. Imported beer is not subject to these regulations; and German Brewers can also escape if they produce for export, unless they receive exemptions for special beers. Now the beers still adhering to its principles are classified among the traditional Lebensmittel (“traditional foods”) and protected also by European decree. The Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law)  is in fact the longest existing law ensuring the food quality of a product for health.

The German beers are legally classified according to their densities: Einfachbiere (“simple beers”) , Schankbiere (“consumer beers” at pressure), Vollbiere (” “complete beers”) , representing more than 90% of the production, Starkbiere (‘ strong beers ‘) or Bockbiere .  To which are added two genres apart: Lückenbiere, all beers banned before 1993 under the classification of the time ; Biermischgetränke, variegated drinks or cocktails based on beer and fruit juice, aroma or energizing. The beers are also classified by type or style so very many!

Centrally and industrialized in the North, breweries are more artisanal and more localized in the South. Only Bavaria contains half of the 1 300 breweries in the country and 4 000 of the 5 000 beer brands produced. The largest concentration of breweries in the world is located next to Bamberg, in the upper Franconia region of Bavaria. The Weihenstephan Abbey founded in 725 holds the oldest brewery still in operation (since 1040).  In 2004 Oettinger dethrone Krombacher (my favorite!) from the top of the biggest breweries

Since 1810, the Oktoberfest has been the largest party in the world for two weeks in Munich. Beer consumption here reaches its peak; there are only doses of one liter. Almost as well known and famous in Germany, the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart is also a huge festival. The Deutschen Bieres Tag (“German beer day”) is celebrated on April 23rd since 1994 in honor of the famous Reinheitsgebot law.

Popular beers of Germany webpage


Czech beer has a long and complex history. The first known brewery in the region dates back to 1118. The city of Brno had been recognized for brewing rights as early as the 12C, while the two cities traditionally associated with Czech beer namely Plzeň and České Budějovice, have had a brewery since the 13C. The history of modern beer in the Czech regions (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) dates back to the creation of the Pilsner Urquell in 1842 which revolutionized the brewing industry. Previously, Bohemia was famous for its wheat beers, known in Czech under the term “světlé pivo” (light beer), the equivalent of the German “weissbier” or the Belgian “witbier”. Most of the large and medium-sized cities owned at least one brewery. But the largest breweries were in České Budějovice , Plzeň , and Prague. Important breweries were also found in the towns of Rakovník, Žatec  and Třeboň.

The two most famous (and most exported) Czech beer brands are Pilsner Urquell, the first and archetype of Pilsner beers and Budweiser Budvar . Other major brands include Bernard, Gambrinus, Krušovice, Radegast, Starobrno, Staropramen, Velkopopovický Kozel and Svijany. Budweiser beer produced in the Czech Republic (founded in 1795 and having begun exporting to the United States in 1871); American Bud produced in the United States since 1876. A verdict of the European Court of Justice of July 2010 stipulates that Budweiser beer has the exclusive use of the Budweiser brand throughout the European Union. Its a case of the little country devasted by wars vs the big giant marketing and immigration power.

According to the Czech law, beers are divided into the following categories, regardless of their style and colour: Lehké, a light beer that stands at 8 ° Výčepní, a table beer that is between 8 ° and 10 °  Ležák, a classic Lager beer which is between 11 ° and 12.99 ° premium, for beers exceeding the threshold of 13 °. Originally, Pilsner just meant that the beer was breated in Plzeň. By extension, the term now refers to a pale and hoppy Lager beer. The Czech Beer Festival in Prague is the largest beer Festival in the Czech Republic and is held for 17 days each year in May!. It is possible to taste more than 70 different brands of Czech beers. The Pilsner festival is a two-day beer festival held each year in October by the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň.

Original Czech beers webpage


And there you, actually the main beer producing and historical countries in the world. We just take a few of their beers for personal and family enjoyment, drink in moderation ,it is all for fun as well as keeping the traditions! However, the beers of Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic are all very good indeed!!! Hope you can enjoy them too.


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





May 14, 2019

Shops and restos ,souvenirs of Honfleur!

And so here I am in my lovely Normandy and my belle France again to tell you about the magic of this land. I get to write a post and story for the souvenirs always and to share as well and darn it, never enough space to tell you about the wonderful places we shop and eat while at it. With so much to see not enough space to tell all lol!

Well, will try to make ends meet here and tell you a bit about the places we like when we go to Honfleur for shopping and eating with the family. This is Honfleur, Calvados dept 14 of Normandy, France.

I will start with the latest tastes and some old souvenirs and then the older places going back in time. Older places won’t repeat the pictures here.

La Maison Bleue.  Historical place and well manage, we go here for the drinks lately and the view of the old basin port.At the corner of the Vieux Port, 17 quai Saint-Etienne  it counts among the hangout of local Honfleurais and regulars who know where they put their feet under the table! It is greeted without fuss at any time of the day, every day of the week, twelve months out of twelve. Better, you can even eat oysters at breakfast time. The conviviality of the tables on the ground floor and upstairs, with breathtaking views of the old basin, makes this address a postcard. It tells a story with a great H: after the war, it was painted blue with the rest of the painting of the inhabitants of the harbor… This is where we came to eat the soup kitchen. Artists, including Michel Serrault, liked to spend a good time there. The old-fashioned kitchen remains traditional and family-friendly .


Au Relais Des Cyclistes.  We past by it and finally by a local recommendation we went in and it was a delight, sure to come back.  It is the nice table where to settle, a few steps from the tourist office at 10 Place de la Porte-de-Rouen. The one we imagine when the stomach cries hunger. Have you arrived early? Take a look at the map and book your table (in high season at any rate, even if the service is continuous). You will make, at the same time acquaintance with the very friendly and talkative staff, recommended by the all Honfleur.  The brasserie is traceable to its orange awning. Observe the painted traces of the original sign on the pediment of the house. At the Relais des Cyclistes is today still the place of daily meeting for a lunch between buddies or a good child business meal. The tradition is that in the 1940’s, the peasants who went down to the city to make their market entrusted their bikes to the local café. Menu 12€ are to come back for!




Le Crystal at 3 Rue Haute, this is a refine Norman cuisine and do try the Lobster or the Choucroute de Mer especially in the upper floor (1fl FR). Always a treat and memorable moments with the family.


La Maison du Cidre Rosé , at 9 rue du Dauphin, sale of regional products Honfleur cider, rosé cider, Calvados, beers, wines, jams, salted caramel butter, chocolate, biscuits, terrines, etc etc. Wonderful we love it for the Cider Roses of course !


Honfleur au relais des cyclistes ent


J’irai revoir ma Normandie at  Cours Jean de Vienne, D580 entering Honfleur.  Shop of regional and artisanal products composed  80% of Norman products with among them, ciders including rosé and white prestige cider, Norman aperitifs, pommeaux, creams of Calvados,.terrines and preserves, biscuits; confectionery and the essential caramels with salted butter from Isigny.


Carrefour Market , 46 Rue de la République , conveniently open Sunday mornings as well; plenty of choices for the apartment lover in us! And you!


Petit Casino 14 Quai Lepaulmier, wonderful open all day Sundays including evenings! Yes the all time favorite when the need arises and you are at your hotel or apartment and hunger cranks for a convenience trip.

L’Albatros at 32 Quai Sainte-Catherine is a repeat great for breakfast by the Vieux Port, bagel with eggs and bacon, coffee, orange juice, and pancakes a bit high at 12€ but worth it for the treat and the great service and greater view in the early morning harbor.


L’Hippocampe is the fish market by the vieux port, can’t missed is a big warehouse looking building just before crossing to the parking de la Môle. The address is Quai Tostain. Fresh fish and seafood right off the boat and cut to please, they can even do filets pre cooked for you on the spot. Take out only.


We headed for the Cafe de Paris on 2 quai des passengers , and had the first encounter with the fisherman and tells of their stories as far as New Zealand. Wonderful place for breakfast too. Just around the corner from the boat ramps on your way to the jardin public and the statues of personages of the city.


The hypermarket E Leclerc at  Avenue Marcel Liabastre just entering town on the road D580 on your right hand side. Gas up good prices but do not open on Sundays.

We had a great lunch by the 1, quai des passengers almost across from the jardin public, the Bistrot à Crêpes. Very nicely serve with great steaks, burgers,and salads, good coffees, great ice cream italian homemade, and the beer heineken.

Oncle Scott’s,  208 Cours Jean de Vienne. A wonderful US Western style restaurant featuring Budweiser beers and Mountain Dew sodas! the boys love it and so did we, chasing them in Brittany as well! 

La Curé Gourmande, 31 rue du Dauphin , candies galore a heaven for the young at heart!

The La Cave Normande at 13 Rue de la ville.  It is, as the name implies, first a cellar, but also a museum. The small local shop is indeed home to the largest collection of Calvados vintage of France!. The lieutenance , the first beer brewed in Honfleur is also available.

Au Bouillon Normand, at 7 Rue de la ville. The menu changes four times a year, depending on the season. In turn, you should go for the essential hot crispy Camembert. You can also share the dishes  very well if we want to honor this table worthily. What they do between meat and fish to taste everything. A very good idea that allows you to keep a place of choice for the desserts to come as the hot soufflé with Calvados!

La Cidrerie, at 26 place Hamelin. The charming little entrance, decorated with barrels and embellished with Ivy, welcomes guests with conviviality.  Great simple meals around the Normand cider.

And just going over to the Church Sainte Catherine turn right on the little street ,rue Haute. Le Bréard, 7 Rue du Puits. One of the most original tables in the city. After passing through the kitchens of the la Tour d’Argent , Lucas Carton or the Grand Véfour,chef Fabrice Sébire chose Honfleur as his home port and a charming building on the rue du Puits as the basis of his culinary experiments. Very traditional French, gastronomic meals;delicious.

The Sa.Qua.Na , at 22 Place Hamelin a gourmet kitchen, the open kitchen lets glimpse the prom of cooks. As a whole, the frame of bricks, metal, wood has gained in brightness; The spirit of the house and its exquisite flavors, bold blend between Japan, Aveyron, Mauritius and Normandy. Two menus and two colours, “olive green” (8 courses) and “cherry red” (5 courses), are offered to the guests, invited to share the same meal. Sa-Qua-Na  is a Japanese name that means fish and evokes the three pillars of their daily requirements,  “flavor, quality, nature “. Nice.

Il Parasole, at 2 rue Haute near harbor, sandwich and ice cream parlors. At the Italian restaurant Il Parasole the quality of the dishes and the freshness of the products carry you in one bite! In the midst of the warm colors of the room or the fresh air on the terrace, it is in a family and friendly atmosphere that you share this trip, young and old, with your loved ones.So did we!

And the jazz bar by the harbor ,La Taverne du Perroquet Vert, 52 Quai Sainte-Catherine. There is no time for chatter. Let alone the snacks that titillate the stomachs that we are in the morning or evening, noon or afternoon. This is one of the essential places of the Norman port! Warm atmosphere, cozy décor trendy? yes. But warm, without fuss and at a price, all, reasonable from the brewery to the cocktail bar.

And last but not least one entering Honfleur on the D580, La Fregate at 24 Rue des Quatre Franc and corner of the Rond Point du Poudreux, in the town limits of La Rivière-Saint-Sauveur.  Traditional French cuisine. Nice escape from the tourist central.

There you go now you won’t go hungry in Honfleur and sure to taste some delicious local Norman/French food, tops as in France!

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

May 13, 2019

Some news from Spain LXXVIIII

Well well its been a while isn’t it; but here I am on my favorite latest of my beloved Spain. Hot and sunny as it should with 82F or about 28C. Spain everything under the sun! and here is more hot stuff for you

González Byass presents Tio Pepe (uncle pepe)  Fino en Rama 2019, a jewel of very limited elaboration that arrives, like every year, in the spring. 67 boots have been chosen for the tenth edition of this Fino en Rama. Guarded by the stillness of the Bodega of Constanza, they are boots that reflect the terroir of Macharnudo and Carrascal, in an intense and elegant way, and that have retained a forceful and thick flower veil giving all the character and style of Tio Pepe, a cultural icon living and legacy of a family of wine founded in 1835. Tio Pepe Fino in Rama 2019 presents a pale gold color opalescent due to the flower in suspension. On the nose it is intense and fragrant with memories of bakery and fresh yeast. For its intensity and sipidity, it is ideal to enjoy with fish, shellfish and vegetables, as well as rices of varied styles. Serve cold in the best cup of fine glass.Oh yeah olé olé et olé!

Ramón Bilbao opens the doors of Mirto Experience, a sensory trip with which to discover the history of the brand through an adventure in time. A tour that will embrace different eras while the visitor discover the rooms of the Espacio Príncipe dressed for the occasion at Calle Principe de Vergara, 9, located in the Barrio of Salamanca, next to the park of Buen Retiro. The visit will include the tasting of several vintages of Mirto, directed by the winery’s wine tourism team. The reason for this celebration is the 20 years that this 2019 meets Mirto.To celebrate it, Bodegas Ramón Bilbao has prepared an exciting tour around the trajectory of this tempranillo, considered one of the most outstanding Riojas of today. Yes indeed RB!

 Jean Leon launches to the market MS-18, the fourth wine of its experimental range elaborated 100% with the autochthonous variety Malvasia of Sitges. After experimenting with the varieties Xarello, Cabernet Franc and Sumoll, the Penedès Winery has now chosen this aromatic Mediterranean white grape to complete its collection of monovarietal wines and create a fresh, intense wine with very good acidity that It reflects the essence of variety. On a limited production of 2,481 bottles, MS-18 represents a tribute to Penedès, the land that gave Jean Leon the opportunity to produce wines with uniqueness, personality and identity. It comes from young vines planted at 145 meters of altitude in a clay and fresh soil, which are harvested by hand and elaborated with delicacy in search of a young and fresh style. Bright yellow, the wine exudes fine aromas of flowers and lychee fruit with an apricot background. In the mouth, it stands out for its round entrance, followed by a balanced acidity and a delicate perfume. The Malvasia of Sitges is a historical variety originating in the south of Greece that reached the Garraf at the beginning of the 14C thanks to a almogavar who fought under the orders of Roger de Flor. His line is also composed of the monovarietal wines X-15 and X-16 (Xarello), CF-15 (Cabernet Franc), SM-16 (Sumoll), and now MS-18 (Malvasia de Sitges). Enjoy it

Yes indeed often overlook by more famous regions but this is the wines I grew up with and they have advance enormously over the years. The wines and vineyards of Aragon with a first place (my opinion)  occupied entirely by Campo de Borja ,Calatayud , and Somontano wines, which are consider as the native country of the great caste of the north-east of Spain-and today of several other parts of the world, the Garnacha.My favorite have been from these bodegas. The region of Campo de Borja, and Bodegas Borsao with the wines of Borsao Crianza Selección (2015), Borsao Berola (2015), Borsao Red Selección, and Borsao Rosé selection (2018). Also, the region of Somontano, and the Bodegas Laus with the wines of  Vino Laus Rosé (2018), Laus Blanco (2018), Laus Crianza (2015), and Laus Reserve (2013). Try them seek different and enjoy the wines of Spain!

The Princess of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities awarded to the Prado Museum crowned a year of celebrations for the Pinacoteca which, for its bicentennial, has organized a hundred acts, has traveled through the Spanish geography and has opened to other arts Like film or dance.  The strong plate, with which the celebrations began, was the exhibition  “Museo del Prado 1819-2019. A place of memory  ” . A chronological journey through the history of the museum with works by Renoir, Manet, Picasso or Pollock, who inaugurated the King Felipe VI  last November. The 2019 temporary exhibitions program includes names like Velázquez and Rembrandt, Goya, Fra Angelico, and Sofonisba Anguisola and Lavinia Fontana, two of the most notable women in Western art history. Since the Royal Museum opened its doors on November 19, 1819, the institution has become one of the main custodians of the Western pictorial memory and the fundamental reference point of the Spanish culture.

A past story but worth mentioning. In 1967, one year after announcing its withdrawal of the scenarios, Jacques Brel attended a presentation in New York of the musical The Man of La Mancha, based on the novel of Cervantes, a blockbuster of Broadway with libretto of Dale Wasserman, music of Mitch Leigh and lscript of  D E Joe Darion premiered in 1965. The Belgian singer-songwriter, who loved Don Quijote because he himself felt Quijote as a Dreamer, Madman, Idealist, Chronicler of up rootedness and heartbreak  was fascinated by the spectacle and immediately asked for the rights to make a French version. Especially enraptured was left by the letter of the El Sueno Imposible or the  Impossible Dream, one of the most known topics of the work: “Soñar, lo imposible soñar / vencer al invicto rival / sufrir el dolor insufrible / morir por un noble ideal” or To dream, the impossible to dream/ to defeat undefeated rival/ to suffer the insufferable pain/ to die by an noble ideal. In the autumn of 1968, the year in which all the dreams seemed possible, Brel returned exceptionally to the scenarios to embody Don Quijote in his particular version of the American musical and that song sounded for the first time in French, translated as the La Quête (The search), which immediately became part of the most popular repertoire of the singer songwriter and also of the Chanson Française (French songs)  in general. L’homme de La Mancha (the man of La Mancha) premiered at the La Monnaie (the Brussels Opera House) and, shortly thereafter, was represented in Paris for five months. Jacques Brel directed the adaptation and signed the translation and arrangements of all subjects. It was one of the last times he could be heard live before his premature death at 49 years for cancer in 1978. Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of his death and the 50th of the premiere of L’Homme de La Mancha in the La Monnaie, four major European theatres (KVS and La Monnaie  of Brussels, Teatro of Liège and Teatro Español in Madrid) joined last year to revive the dream of Brel in a new production that premiered in autumn of 2018 in the KVS and arrives this week in Spanish, where you can see until Saturday May 11th. This is past but worth mentioning because of Brel and Cervantes: the info is here:

The lamp that crowned the main hall of the noble floor of Casa Batlló, the building created by Antoni Gaudí between 1904 and 1906 on Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona, appeared after having lost track of it for decades. Located in the center of the space where the family of the textile industrialist Josep Batlló I Casanovas received their visits and celebrated the most important events of the House, the whole world gave it for lost until a few months ago. In the end, the brass structure and the hand-carved glass pieces, one by one, only had to be cleaned and assembled, based on silver wires. This way the parable of this monumental ceiling of 99 centimeters in diameter, about 65 kilos of weight and 68 centimeter of height, plus 12 cm of the central apron was recovered. It is a lamp of imperial style of that was then carried out in the north of France or south of Germany, but we do not know who the designer is. What Gaudí did with her was to boost her snail. I don’t know if you made it to measure, but I guess we can’t say it’s a Gaudí design because we can’t document it. The scaffolding of the façade will be removed on May 23rd, 2019 after renovation of  Casa Batllo.

Things to do in my beloved Madrid ; On Wednesday 15 May, Fiestas de San Isidro. Dress up with your best hats, waistcoats and shawls and go out for a walk around the city. There will be varied concerts (Matadero, Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Oriente, the Las Vistillas park ), the traditional pilgrimage and Verbena of the prairie of San Isidro, dance, cooking and popular stew, children’s activities, fireworks shows, guided urban tours, Tropical festivals and generalized festive atmosphere. Where: several spaces. More information:

Saturday 18 May; Van Van Market and Lost & Found Market. It takes time first in Barcelona and finally arrives to Madrid one of the gastronomic markets of reference. The Van Van Market offers handcrafted products, author food trucks, pop-up kitchens and various parallel activities. Next to it, the Lost & Found is also celebrated, devoted to clothing and vintage products. Where: Conde Duque. More information :

And the concept Van Van Market here:

And the Lost & Found here:

Sunday 19 May; Friends Fest. It is an immutable law: if you catch a chapter of the Friends TV series half-started, you will inevitably be stuck to it. The Friends addicts have an appointment with a festival that allows you to visit Monica’s apartment, have a coffee at the legendary Perk Center or go out for a recreation of the show’s presentation. There is no lack of merchandising in the series at an event that will be closed on Sunday 19. Where: IFEMA ;how to get there here:

More information on the Friends Fest here:

Super Summer is getting here and we love it. Hope you plan to enjoy it too. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

May 5, 2019

Riec sur Belon and the oysters!

When you go to the culinary spots of gastronomic France you might have heard the word Belon..if you are into seafood..if you are especially into oysters! Well the Belon flat oyster that conquered the world was from here, the original. After much desease dissimanated the ponds ,again a group of ostriculture folks came back in the 1980’s to start all over again, and they are here!!!

The area is large for oysters here but for the flat oyster it is at Riec Sur Belon. A quiet town but a much better port, because it is by the Port du Belon where you find the growers. Therefore, have to tell past on the teaching on the history, texture and goodness of this oyster only in Brittany to the World!!

riec sur belon

French oyster farming is generally based on two types of oysters, including flat oysters (Belon oysters) and hollow oysters. Belon oysters are considered one of the rarest of all oysters. Consumed very long ago (since antiquity) by the Gallo-Romans, the flat oyster or Belon oyster is of European origin. Its breeding was well known by the Romans who would have imported it exclusively from France. The victim of two Epizootics, those of the 1920’s and 1980’s , she began to regain her production lately thanks to traditional oyster farmers who insisted on their survival for our enjoyment. In addition, the Belon appellation came from a Breton river (Belon) which gave its nomination to flat oysters. Indeed, the Belon oyster is cultivated mainly in Brittany.

riec sur belon

riec sur belon

riec sur belon

The Belon oyster is an oyster with a rounded shape with a firm flesh of white color. In this case, it is sometimes nutted with brown or grey colors. It can be eaten rather raw, rather hot, and is best known for its unique and distinctive hazelnut flavour. Unlike the hollow oyster, it systematically changes sex following each fertilization. The move of the Belon oyster must be done with caution!  Unlike hollow oysters, the flat oysters or Belon oysters rather prefer calm, gentle and deeper waters. As a result, it is favorable to cultivate them in rivers or deep areas, beyond 16 meters, in the absence of any abundant of flora oxygenated by strong currents.  Cultivated most often in a natural mixture of seawater and fresh water, the oyster of Belon allows you to enjoy the taste of hazelnut at length.

Beyond its iodized taste similar to all oysters, the Belon oyster  is particularly distinguished from others thanks to its more consistent flesh and also to its slight harshness. As a result, the Belon oysters are highly appreciated by countless gourmets all over the world. In addition, it is also rich in oligo elements indispensable for the human body, including protein, carbohydrate, lipid, magnesium, etc. That said, to use it, you can use it either on a bed of ice or by accompanying it with a lemon zest. And it helps with a nice cold Muscadet Maine et Sévre sur lie of the Nantais area of old Brittany!

A webpage that tells a bit on the main feature the Belon oyster: Area tourist office of Quimperle terre oceane on the Belon oysters

The oyster aquaculture activity begins in the Belon estuary in the mid-19C by the Lord du Balay installed its first oyster park in 1857, the Solminihac family began this activity in 1864, the Cadoret family in 1872. Several renowned oyster growers are still in activity in Riec-sur-Bélon, including Thaëron House, Château de Bélon (Solminihac family) Anne de Bélon, Noblet establishments (all four in Belon) and Cadoret establishments in the Porte Neuve.

riec sur belon

riec sur belon

I like to offer you some of the main players here and places to eat it on site as we do!

Chateau de Belon

Above webpage of Chateau de Belon where we purchase ours and below the photos

riec sur belon

riec sur belon

Anne de Belon

Resto and farm Chez Jacky

riec sur belon

Thaeron oysters

City of Riec sur Belon on oyster producers

riec sur belon

Of course, since it is my first post on Riec sur Belon, will give you some of the things to do in the town (bourg) and harbor (port).

Riec-sur-Bélon is a town in the Finistère Dept 29 of Brittany and in the old Cornouaille. Belon is the name of a river that the ancients called “Beln “. Its territory is bounded by the Aven river to the west and the Belon river to the east, two small coastal rivers whose valleys partially invaded by the sea form two rias that meet at the southern end of the town at the pointe de Penquernéo. The neighboring towns are Moëlan-sur-Mer in the east that separates the Belon river, Nevez and Pont-Aven to the west, which separates in part the Aven river, Bannalec and the Le Trévouxau in the north, and Baye in the northeast. The town is located at 12 km west of Quimperlé, 17 km east of Concarneau, 27 km west of Lorient and 35 km east of Quimper.

In 1533, Charles de Guer, son and heir of Yvon de Guer ,Lord of the Porte Neuve bought the barony of Riec, distinct from the lordship of the Porte Neuve, to Antoine Montbourcher, Lord of Plessis-Bordage and achanson of Duke François I. At the end of the 19C, Riec took its definitive configuration and became in 1898, Riec-sur-Belon.

The Church of St. Pierre (Peter) b. 17-19C, and built on the site of an ancient sanctuary of the 16C. The church was rebuilt in 1872-1873, and part of the materials of the former Bell Tower of the 15-16C, destroyed in 1870, was renovated. It is a Church comprising, preceded by a Bell Tower, a nave of five bays with aisles, a transept and a choir. The choir and the nave were erected in 1771. The western façade, the bell tower and two bays of the nave date back to the 19C and respect the style of previous constructions. The bell tower with its beautiful Gothic spire is flanked by a turret with a cut-out staircase giving access to the bell chamber. The clock dates from 1875.

riec sur belon

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must seafood lover in us!

Tourist office of Brittany on Riec sur Belon

City of Riec sur Belon on heritage

City of Riec sur Belon on the oyster history

A town to be revisited again and again by the coast, the beaches, the oysters!!! Enjoy Riec sur Belon!

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


April 29, 2019

Saint Emilion of Vannes!!

Well not many know this , it still a small space in an old town of the Morbihan breton. If you are into wines ,and go beyond the simple tasting and drinking of it and into the history of the men and women who creates them, then you too will come to Vannes. This is my hommage to the story of Saint Emilion, that wonderful wine town of Bordeaux who started it all by a Breton monk from Vannes!!!

Saint Émilion was intendant of the Counts of Vannes, monk and hermit Breton. He is celebrated on 16 November and is the patron Saint of wine merchants and traders. Born in Vannes, the capital of the Broërec in Brittany, he was intendant of a count of Vannes whose name is unknown. According to a legend, he gives bread to the poor of the area of present day Vannes in hiding from his master. The count wanting to take him on the fact, stops him while he transports under his mantle the bread. He asks him to open his coat, but Émilion makes a miracle by transforming the breads into pieces of wood.

He became a monk in Saujon, near Royan. Forced to flee due to the influx of pilgrims as a result of his miracles, he settled in a solitary retreat in Combes, near what became Saint-Émilion, and died in 767. Nearby, a great Latin-speaking poet, Ausone,(in a great wine name now) had erected his villa in the 4C. Saint Emilion settled in a cliff where he dug a troglodyte Hermitage.

A metro station in Paris has its name ,cours Saint Émilion on line 14. Saint Émilion is the patron Saint of the parish of Loguivy-Plougras , Côtes-d’Armor, dept 22 of Brittany. A hamlet in the commune of Motreff, in the dept 29 of Finistère, Brittany is called Saint-Émilion.

And in his native city of Vannes it has, at 24 ,rue des Viérges, a statue of the famous hermit. Built and blessed in 1986. In 2009, a second granite statuette housed in a small monument was placed on 8, Avenue Saint-Emilion . This discreet reminder of a local Vannetais, which symbolizes first of all life, will offer the passing folks the opportunity of a small pause in a pleasant site. Indeed it is nice.



A bit on his life, Saint Emilion

Emilion made the decision to go to Spain to visit Santiago de Compostela, and to withdraw himself unknown in this region to serve the Lord God alone. On his way, Emilion stopped in a monastery of Saintonge, region of Saintes. The Abbot of this Benedictine monastery, Martin, engaged Emilion to become a monk. Saint Emilion was named cellarer, i.e. steward of the monastery. The place of this Hermitage has now become the city of Saint Emilion. It was then only a forest just a short distance from the Dordogne. This beautiful  Dordogne river comes from the Massif Central, to the north east, and will extend to the west, 80 km farther, with the Garonne river this great estuary that is then the Gironde. Blessed waters of the best wines in the world!

On the edge of the forest there was a rocky escarpment and caves. Saint Emilion fixed his Hermitage, with an oratory, in one of these caves. But Holiness attracts, and once again Saint Emilion is being sought. Folks came to see him, ask questions, hear him, and sometimes convert. Among the converts, Saint Emilion then decided to propose to some to live with him in community to teach them, to train them and to support them in their good dispositions. The monastery of Saint Emilion was born.

This monastery of Saint Emilion known many hours and misfortunes over the centuries. The Sarrazins/moors damaged it; then it was taken over by monks from the Benedictine Abbey of Nanteuil near Poitiers. Then lay people seized it; they were brought to its doorsteps by Gosselin, Archbishop of Bordeaux, who set up regular Canons, followed by the religious Esterp. Finally this abbey was secularized by a bubble of Pope Clement V in 1309, and until the French revolution it remained collegial. With the end of the revolution it was in ruins. The Monolith Church and its bell tower remain. The Church was dug into limestone rock, a massive so-called karstic stones. The steeple built above, with its 133 meters high is the highest of the steeples of the Bordelais region after that of the Church of Saint Michel of Bordeaux.

The wines of Saint Emilion are excellent, rightly famous. There are: Saint Emilion, Montagne Saint Emilion, Puissegain-Saint Emilion, Lussac-Saint Emilion, Pomerol, and Lalande de Pomerol. All from a hermit’s story from Vannes !

He has best on him from the tourist office of Saint Emilion. Tourist office of Saint Emilion on history

Ok so en vino veritas and enjoy the wines of Saint Emilion. However, if you want to see him do come by his native city of Vannes. He is a popular statue here for many visitors.

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


April 26, 2019

Wines of my belle France!

So here I am in one of my all time best hobbies, wines! Once in a while I dwell into the world of wines in my posts; its a habit to be away from old stones sometimes ! One of the pleasures of mankind , and much abuse these days of zero tolerance for some, it is still the motor that moves our civilization. Therefore, let me tell you a bit on things about wine happenings in my belle France!

You need to keep up with the weather to know who is doing what, and then choose the best known producers from it to maximize your pleasure of drinking these bottles later. As we deal with nature, and know it best, weather is key factor 1.

Since the beginning of April, French vineyards have been experiencing frost episodes, especially Bordeaux, Burgundy and Beaujolais, with consequences that are still difficult to measure but seem less dramatic than two years ago. In the Bordeaux region, the cold shot struck for two consecutive nights. Overall 5%  of the vineyard  was touched. In Burgundy, Chablis was hardest hit by this frost dry, with wind. If it is too early to evaluate all the damage, the Chardonnay looks like it lost against the Gamay, no matter what happens. In the Beaujolais, making it both violent and early. The most affected areas are in the lowland and lower slopes (less than 200 meters above sea level), especially the appellations Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages (towards Belleville, Saint-Georges de Reneins and the Valley of the Azergues).

How about that huge space we call Languedoc, its really a country of wines and coming on strong with its Rosés to the detriment of sweeter white wines.

In 2018, the immense vineyard of Languedoc, which stretches from Nîmes to the Spanish border, descending from the foothills of the Massif Central to those of the Pyrenees, produced nearly 2.5 million hectolitres of rosé wines, a 25% leap in two years. In the Languedoc, the wine was long before red table wines. It became more and more rosé and festive, under the influence of a global trend drawn by Provence, which could give the winegrowers the comfort to manage their agro-ecological turn. Rosé now represents 16% of the region’s production, compared to 10% 10 years ago. The Languedoc is by far the first producer in France with some 30% of the total. In the region, the success of rosés, are not the same for organic wines and  niches such as the terraces of Larzac, the Livinière or the Pic-Saint-Loup also masks the problems encountered by the Muscats, sweet wines (Rivesaltes, Banyuls, Lumel, Frontignan…) less in fashion, when they lost  20% volume in 10 years. The Rosés are it.

And Burgundy is fighting it on! The UK and US markets are crucial, whereas between 2014 and 2018, Burgundy wine sales in the European Union declined from 41 to 38 million bottles. The Burgundian winegrowers, who sell one bottle out of two abroad for revenues flirting with the billion euros, see with concern the protectionist threats of US President Donald Trump and the even delayed specter of the exit of Great Britain from the EU. They remain substantial, with almost half of the volumes exported. Canada has become a benchmark market. The province of Quebec is the most interesting because it is the fifth export market for Burgundy. South Korea , a small rich country that could look like Japan in a few years shows potential. In the longer term, India and its billion inhabitants where free trade would go pretty well, or China market, more complicated at administrative level and where tariffs are higher. All seek the international markets for volume and profits. Expansion and marketing are in order here.

Some prices in France for you to compare these are primeurs prices or before the harvest ok. The prices are all H.T (hors taxe) meaning before TVA sales taxes. And of course, my favorite bottles only, a sample.

CHÂTEAU D’ARMAILHAC  Pauillac, 5th Cru Classé  2010 : 41 euros – 2011 : 42,20 euros – 2012 : 30 euros – 2013 : 26,80 euros – 2014 : 28 euros – 2015 : 33,90 euros – 2016 : 38,10 euros – 2017 : 36,70 €

CHÂTEAU CLERC MILON  Pauillac, 5th Cru Classé  2010 : 60 euros – 2011 : 50,70 euros – 2012 : 37 euros – 2013 : 35,3 euros – 2014 : 40 euros – 2015 : 50,80 euros – 2016 : 59,50 euros – 2017 : 59,30 €

CHÂTEAU DUHART-MILON  Pauillac,  4th Cru classé  2010 : 130 euros – 2011 : 82,50 euros – 2012 : 59,9 euros – 2013 : 55 euros – 2014 : 48 euros – 2015 : 55,20 euros – 2016 : 63,50 euros – 2017 : 55,20 €

CHÂTEAU MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD Pauillac, 1st Cru Classé  2010 : 1 000 euros – 2011 : 478,40 euros – 2012 : 282 euros – 2013 : 250 euros – 2014 : 282 euros – 2015 : 450 euros – 2016 : 495 euros – 2017 : 410 €

Second wine of  Château Mouton-Rothschild,  LE PETIT MOUTON DE MOUTON-ROTHSCHILD 2012 : 78 euros – 2013 : 78 euros – 2014 : 92 euros – 2015 : 120 euros – 2016 : 155 euros

White wine of Château Mouton-Rothschild   AILE D’ARGENT DE MOUTON ROTHSCHILD Bordeaux Prix : 56,50 euros – 2015 : 60 euros – 2017 : 64 €

CHÂTEAU PONTET-CANET  Pauillac, 5th Cru Classé 2010 : 145 euros – 2011 : 90,80 euros – 2012 : 67,40 euros – 2013 : 67,40 euros – 2014 : 75 euros – 2015 : 85 euros – 2016 : 129,60 euros – 2017 : 96 €

My near and beloved vineyards of the Loire, between Tours and Saumur, the vineyards of Bourgueil and Chinon face each other and offer a tasty stopover in the Loire and Vienne river basins. Touraine undoubtedly has its grand visitor centers of Ussé, Rivau, Chinon, Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais or Villandry. It is starting from Tours, which deserves its own respects. It is Villandry, Langeais, then Saint-Patrice and Ingrandes-de-Touraine that we must rally then, to the extreme east of the vineyard of Bourgueil. At Ingrandes, take the road D35 for about 1, 7 km and turn right towards the Peu Muleau. Continue on the small paved road under the forest, at the top of the hillside. The view is splendid !. It is good to step in the heart of the most beautiful terroir of the appellation Bourgueil, (yes indeed)  in Benais,  then Restigné (Domaine de la Chivalerie), Bourgueil (Domaine de La Butte), then Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil (stop at Frédéric Mabileau and Yannick Amirault), in the heart of wine-growing villages with charm still intact. You can then return to Bourgueil before crossing the Loire and spinning westward to Candes-Saint-Martin via the road  D7. The landscape is of serene beauty in Candes and Montsoreau, not far from the confluence of the Vienne and the Loire rivers

And of course, it begins to be feld. In New York, there is a real approach of liquor stores  and restaurateurs to go to the discovery of unknown things; they are the ones who also make the trends and its benefitting  the Loire. In ten years, exports of white Loire wines in the US market doubled, leaping from 42 000 to 86 000 hectoliters, or 11.4 million bottles sold last year, according to the figures of the professional body InterLoire. And the value tripled to reach 67 million euros of turnover in 2018, synonymous with a rise in range. The Sancerre caracole in the lead, in front of the wines based on Sauvignon or Chenin, emblematic grape of the Loire Valley (includes region of Centre-Val de Loire and Pays de la Loire), not forgetting the Muscadet. The big export is increasingly seen as a real outlet by the winegrowers of the Loire who see, like all the French wine-growing actors, the downturn of the internal market on one side and the consumer boom in the United States, world leader, on the other. The French system of appellations is really interesting because we do not sell a grape variety, we sell a history, a landscape, a culture. Yes indeed, and I have put some winegrowers there in touch with my old reliable sources in the US!

The 4 architectural cellars to visit in France! Some of the newer trend of wine tasting, history ,and architecture on all in one for the visitors appeals. Some of the trendy ones in my opinion are:

Chateau La Dominique ,the winery of this Château from Saint-Emilion was redone in 2013 and appealed to the services of Jean Nouvel.

Château Romanin , heading for Provence to discover the Château Romanin. The estate of 58 hectares (42 in wine production, 4 olive groves and 2 almond trees) reveals itself to you between Saint-Rémy-de Provence and Eygalieres.

Château Cheval Blanc, in 2011, Christian de Portzamparc built the winery of the mythical Château Cheval Blanc in Saint-Emilion. The winery of the vineyard of Bernard Arnaud is then completely redesigned and made of concrete.

Chai logistique Ballande et Méneret ,located in the heart of Bordeaux between the Le cite du vin (city of wine) and the Musée du Vin et du Négoce (wine and trade museum) , this  winery has been noted in the city. With UFO tunes with its rectangular shape almost too perfect, this block of concrete transforms the night by brighten orange dots, sensations guaranteed.  Inside, these are not less than 4 million bottles that are stored in the 10 000 square meters available.  The must is to go around this building at nightfall, in the pine forest that surrounds it.

And a sentimental favorite with historical wines of my beloved Paris. Montmartre is another world indeed!

The vineyard of Montmartre is most certainly the most famous vineyard in Paris. Its existence is attested from the Gallo-Roman era, but it is in the Middle Ages that the wine-growing activity of the Butte will develop. At the time, the Mount of Martyrs (Montmartre) was quite different from today’s. On the Hill (Butte), the scenery was rather bucolic. There were mainly fields, vines and some mills.  In 1133-1134, King Louis VII founded the Royal Abbey of the Dames de Montmartre, at the top of the Hill (Butte), for his mother Adelaide of Savoy. In 1147 the construction ends. It is Eugene III, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and the Abbot of Cluny who dedicate the land and they plant the first vineyard of the Abbey.

Winemakers start cultivating their own vines and offer cheap wines such as “Le Clos Berthaud”, “La Goutte d’Or”, “Le Sacalie”, “La Sauvageonne” ,and later the “Le Picolo” . The wine of Montmartre is even known for its diuretic qualities. The setting up of the General Farmers  (fermiers généraux) wall around Paris in 1785 will greatly expand the Butte. To avoid paying taxes on wine, Parisians will drink it in Montmartre. Guinguettes (riverside cafes) and cabarets develop on the Butte in the image of the Moulin de La Galette, the Moulin Rouge or the Trianon. The Butte has become a festive and artistic place where wine flows.  In the middle of the 19C, the vineyards declined with urbanization and the development of the quarry exploitation of the Butte. The competition of wines from sunny regions and the arrival of phylloxera will mark a stop at the vineyards of Montmartre. In 1928, the vines disappeared completely.

But in 1930, the inhabitants of Montmartre led by the cartoonist Francisque Poulbot, mobilized against the construction of buildings on the vacant lot of 12 rue Cortot, which formerly housed the house and the garden of the writer Aristide Bruant. They transform the vague terrain into liberty square (square de la liberté) and they plant a tiny vineyard there. Three years later, three thousand thomery plants and three Morgon vines as well.  Today, the Clos-Montmartre is the smallest vineyard in France! It represents two thousand vines and twenty-seven different grape varieties, which produce approximately 1800 bottles of Clos-Montmartre each year. The bottles are sold at auction and the profits are donated to the social works of the City/Town Hall of Paris. An event each year not to miss, the Vendages! 86th edition coming up October 9-13, 2019! More here: Official Fêtes des Vendages de Montmartre

There you go another magical thing to do in my belle France, drink the best wines in the world. Often, imitated but never overall surpassed!  Enjoy them en vino veritas!

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





April 19, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVIII

Ok so back to my channel lol! thank you for reading me, its always a pleasure. If you like the world, travel, good food, sports , the good life than you are in the right spot  Going strong thanks to you all since November 2010! and already 2025 posts!

Now, let me tell you a bit on what is going on that I like in my belle France!

Ok so the bus routes in Paris change from this April 20th so be aware, love the bus, is above ground and see more of beautiful Paris! Some examples of my old routes are Gare St Lazare to Gare Montparnasse on bus 94 30 minutes; Gare St Lazare to Opera Garnier bus 27 7 minutes; Gare St Lazare to place de l’Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) bus 22 15 minutes. Gare Montparnasse to Rue de la Féderation on bus 82 30 min still intact my current line. However, an example of the changes are on the rue d’Estrées,loses its bus stop of line 28 . The rue d’Estrées , behind the école militaire, is preparing to lose its line 28. From tomorrow Saturday in fact, in favor of the new bus network in Paris, the line slightly modifies its route. It will always leaves Saint-Lazare but will stop now in Montparnasse, and no longer Porte D’Orléans. The bus 28 will no longer make the little hook by Avenue de Lowendal, place de Fontenoy and Rue d’Estrées, but will draw straight on Avenue de Duquesne. A stop actually lost: Fontenoy-UNESCO.! More info at RATP here: Official RATP bus transports Paris

Something I have told you before is now finally here! Eataly the immense Italian food court opens its doors this past April 12 at noon in the Marais, in Paris. It is organized around a central square, the “Piazza”, closed by a glass roof. The grocery part responds to the Platonic idea of a good transalpine supermarket: foison pasta, olive oil galore, dried mushrooms, Genoese pestos and Trapanese..etc.. Nearby, there are counters where you can buy takeout cheese, cold cuts, fresh pasta, and a bakery open from 7h (7 am).

Of course, most of the food comes from Italian producers. But  the mozzarella is made with milk from Auvergne!  And 50% of the meat comes from Burgundy or Normandy. The meat counter is also held by a Parisian butcher. To tackle the hexagonal market, the restaurant chain founded in Turin in 2007 saw the big things: 2 500 square meters, seven restaurants, 3 000 products referenced in the grocery department. With BHV and Galeries Lafayette, with whom the chain of restoration has signed the exclusivity of its franchises in France. Eataly Marais Paris more info here:

It’s already been three years since the transalpine restoration explodes in Paris, and eleven months that big Mamma inaugurated its Felicita, (also mention in my previous news posts) a huge restaurant area 100% Italian in the 13éme arrondissement.  More on Felicita here:

One of the classic recipes of my belle France. I share with you the ones from my family and many others here!  Paris-Brest, you know it! Ok your difficult part will be to convert the metric system into the Anglo types sorry, you can do it!!

Preparation time: 40 min; Cooking time: 50 min; a bit difficult but with these recipe you can do it too!  Ingredients for 6 to 8 cakes: for cabbage dough, 100 grams of mild butter, 10 g of sugar, 200 g of flour, 5 or 6 eggs, 20 g of crushed almonds, for custard: 1/2 liter of milk, 4 egg yolks, 50 g of sugar; 50 g of flour. For Italian meringue: 3 egg whites, 120 g of semolina sugar, water. For Praline cream: 3 egg yolks, 50 g sugar, 150 g pomade butter, 60 g Praline paste (or powdered Praline).:

Step 1: cabbage paste: place 3 decaliters of water (ok American friends this is about 0,2 quarts or less than a quarter of it) , butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, pour the flour at once, and mix with the wooden spoon. Stir the eggs one by one, stirring vigorously. With a socket pocket, the bed in the shape of crowns (10-12 cm in diameter) on a baking sheet. Brown egg and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake at 180 °C (ok ok ,350 degrees F) for 30 to 40 min, then let cool on fire, open door. Leave the oven and let cool. Slice the crowns in half.

Step 2: custard: whiten the eggs vigorously with the sugar. Add the sifted flour and a pinch of salt. Boil the milk and stir-fry the boiling milk on the pan. Pour into the Pan without stirring until the cream thickens.

Step 3: the Italian meringue: pour the whites into the robot’s tank. Heat 3 tbsp. of water with 100 g of sugar on low heat. When the temperature reaches 110 °C (230F), beat the whites with 20 g of sugar, at maximum speed. When the syrup is at 118 °C (244F), pour it into a net on the tank wall, and let it rotate with the whites at medium speed for about 10 minutes. Keep it in reserve.

Step 4: Praline cream: heat 1 tbsp. of water and the sugar in the Pan up to 115 °C (. Whisk the yolks to the drummer. Pour the sirloin syrup over the robot tank wall and beat at high speed until the mixture blends. Add the butter in pieces, and then stir in the Praline. Assemble the three devices to the spatula. With a fluted sleeve, garnish the lower parts of the crowns. Add the covers. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Ok easy piece of cake we did with the boys so you can do it too. Let me know ok lol!

Who will save the Beaujolais? In the absence of investments, the vineyard lost 40% of its surface area and 50% of its turnover in 15 years. Moreover, if consumers often place them first in Burgundy, is wrongly associated with the Rhone Valley. Most folks dislikes Beaujolais but loves Morgon. Except that Morgon is a Beaujolais!.  One of the ten vintages that counts the vineyard, and probably the best known with the Saint-Amour.

The problems are two: First, the vineyard is in poor condition. In the absence of investments and means, the vine is wasting. Second, it is the oldest in France, which is not a blessing, since replacing it is expensive. The cellars and the winery are no better. It will take a good decade to make the Beaujolais pimping. But to do so, the difficulty should be  to seduce consumers again.  Let’s see the good side; the Beaujolais is the second most famous wine appellation after  Champagne. The bad? Its fame does not come from its quality but from the operation “Beaujolais Nouveau”, to the global success. Yet there is no shortage of assets, between vintages with excellent value for money, delightful landscapes, iconic winegrowers.

In the beginning, the Beaujolais was great. In 1936, when the first AOC wines were born in the country, the Beaujolais Crus were like Chénas or Moulin-à-Vent made prized custody wines, which are sold at the same price as those of Pommard, Corton or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Then, in the 1980’s, operation “Beaujolais Nouveau” spreads like wildfire: to market a wine produced in September from the third Thursday of November, so very young and without waiting for the following spring. And everything changes.  The event was built up by Parisian bistros, the English, party enthusiasts and the media. It has become a global event that has not been mastered. We were not able to keep the counterweight of the terroirs. There was a tsunami of unique thought, everyone rushed into it.  To be follow its course because it does not look good….Official site on Beaujolais more info on them here:

In the never ending saga of the yellow vest or gilets jaunes will be difficult to know  where these yellow vests will manifest in Paris. Some events evoke the Champs-Élysées, others the area of Notre-Dame. But the big Avenue will be forbidden to access for the fifth consecutive Saturday, while the ïle de la Cité, and the outskirts of the capital will this time also be  inaccessible to the demonstrators, as has already indicated the Prefecture of police. Even if the yellow vests call to converge on Paris this Saturday , rallies are also advertised in other cities, as in Lille, Lyon, or even Bordeaux. The fear of new actions of the black blocks that is a mysterious group The Black blocks Paris called on Facebook to make it a black Saturday on the Champs-Élysées…Stay out.

On a better note, they fought the flames all night. They saved works of art. This past Thursday, a huge tribute, full of emotion, was rendered to them. This past Thursday afternoon, the firefighters of Paris were celebrated and honored by the Parisians and tourists present on the parvis of the City/Town Hall during a ceremony organized for “those who saved Our Lady”. “I want to tell you our infinite gratitude, our eternal recognition and I will propose to the next Council of Paris (next June) that you be granted the honorary citizenship of the city of Paris, to honor this Act of bravery and your commitment on a daily basis” announced Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris addressing the fire brigade. A distinction that will undoubtedly be unanimous with politicians and Parisians alike.Amén!! More on the City of Paris webpage:

And of course, my Versailles could not be left behind and on one of its action very unique was this  The Château de Versailles  proceeds of an auction of 25 cabinets of Château Mouton Rothschild which was to be devoted to the restoration of the Château de Versailles will eventually be assigned to the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. Go Versailles! More info here in French at the Le Parisien newspaper:

And to close out on my beloved Versailles. A campus “as in Harvard” for the trades of the Chateau of Versailles, the Minister of National Education announced this past Thursday the creation of a place of life and training dedicated to professional sectors in the heart of the Royal Stables (ecuries). The project to create a campus of excellence in the Royal Stables, dedicated to the trades of the castle: gastronomy, green spaces, crafts and building trade on heritage properties.Go Versailles! These are the Royal Stables:

And to close out the latest news post on something near me ; Ïle de Groix,by the coast of  Lorient in my lovely Morbihan, go fishing for  the day and a maze of streets in Locmaria on the wild coast, facing the ocean, this small port and its maze of alleys form an ideal setting for a stroll. The dundees, these old tuna boats (Groix having once been the first port of tuna in France), have disappeared. But at low tide, the bay remains a good spot for fishing on foot (shrimp, abalone and crab for the lucky). Around the lighthouse, the beach and its rocks belong to the geological nature reserve François Le Bail, due in particular to the presence of blue cellophane, a rare rock. Nearby, the trail leads to the plage des Sables rouges (red sands beach) , whose minerals have earned Groix its nickname of île aux grenats (garnets island). It is one of the only convex beaches in Europe, that of the great sands advances in the sea. Another peculiarity: it moved several hundred meters in the second half of the 20C. Still as immense, it offers, with its white sand, its water in fifty shades of blues and its wooded cliffs, a breathtaking spectacle, worthy of an exotic island.Indeed crowded in Summer but worth the visit. More info here:

And there you something for everyone lol! Well I take them all! I am working on Good Friday in France but will have Monday off as Easter Monday and so a 3 days weekend. Do not know where as with us its always last minute. Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Feliz Pascua!!!

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



%d bloggers like this: