Posts tagged ‘Food and Wine’

February 19, 2020

A pub ,a district in Dublin!

So let me take a 360 degrees turn and come out of my belle France into the luck of the Irish in Dublin, Ireland. One of the nice things of living in Europe is that the countries are so close and easy to get to and if in the European Union so much the better!

I came to Dublin and of course was by one of if not the best district of it all, Temple Bar

Temple Bar is a district in the historic center of Dublin. Let’s start with a bit of history. Temple Bar has always been a popular place. From 795 AD, the Vikings set up camp there. The remains of this settlement are also visible today at Dublin Castle. A few centuries later, a British diplomat by the name of Sir William Temple; later rector of Trinity College, built a splendid mansion and gardens there. The name stayed with him and thus Temple Bar was born.

It is made up of small streets, often pedestrian, where restaurants, bars and small shops abound. One can in particular find musicians there either in the street or in bars. Highly frequented in the evening and on weekends, this ultra-touristy and trendy district lives especially at night, and offers its visitors a good overview of Dublin’s cultural life … The place is clearly pleasant, although a little expensive and a little too touristy… Anyway, Temple Bar is a must! The Temple Bar district is close to Dame Street and Aston Quay in Dublin city center. Lined with Pubs, restaurants and shops, the area also includes a cinema, an art gallery, cultural centers as well as local craft workshops. Everything to make it a fashionable place where culture reigns supreme! At the intersection of Essex St E and the North West Corner of Meeting House Square is the Rory Gallagher Corner in tribute to Rory Gallagher.

Be aware that the Brazen Head, which stands at 20 Bridge Street, is one of the oldest Irish pub in Dublin ;it dates from 1613 .The Temple Bar, dates from 1840 but has been repeatedly renovated. Inside, it’s guaranteed atmosphere in this authentic place all in raw wood. You can come here to drink a beer or an Irish coffee at any time of the day. In summer, the pub is so crowded that people eat on the street. In winter, the bar has a small heated patio for smokers. Every day, customers especially tourists swerve to traditional music from 17h. For connoisseurs, the Temple Bar offers a superb selection of 180 whiskeys! Others will taste the famous combo: oysters – Guinness. A legend.

If you want to get deeper into the neighborhood, don’t miss the Meeting House Square, which has up to 3 different cultural centers such as the Irish Film Center, the Gallery of Photography and the Ark. There are many films by authors screened in their original version with subtitles, as well as artistic exhibitions. Finally, for fans of Thin Lizzy, do not miss the statue of Phil Lynott, former bassist of the group. This bronze statue is one of the symbols of Temple Bar!

At the bottom of Fleet Street is the Porterhouse Bar and pubbrewery. A bastion of Irish craft beer, the Porterhouse only serves its own beers and contains bottled wonders from around the world.

However, of all the above my favorite there was the time spent at The Auld Dubliner pub . It is easy to spot with its mural painting of a dock worker and a dog adorning the exterior wall of the building. The place is very warm, with beams and woodwork, and attracts a crowd especially at the end of the day when live music is in full swing. Large room upstairs indeed and the best seats in the house with crowded rowdy good cheers and good fun group. A must in Temple Bar with its concerts every day. More info here: Official auld Dubliner Pub


And of course, I give you the tourist office of Dublin for well find your way here… Tourist office of Dublin

And there you go a great weekend spent away from home in lovely picturesque Dublin and a hell of a bunch of pints and oh well oysters too. You will enjoy Temple Bar district of Dublin.

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

February 17, 2020

Way south in the French riviera!

So I came up with this pretty town nestle between two countries in PACA or simply put the French Riviera. I seldom come down here unless is business, or winemakers’s visits but is so well known and hordes of tourists go there that has never been my fancy. However, I did go and was impressive by the scenary and the driving lol!

I had a taste of Cap d’Ail just in the border with Monte Carlo, Monaco! and stayed at the Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco. I ate all over but the most memorable was Amici Miei.

We were recommended the Restaurant Amici Miei at the harbor of Fontvieille facing the cliffs and on top the Prince of Monaco’s castle; lovely.  This is an Italian restaurant cook by mamma herself and husband serves you with all the dishes explanation. The top is the son who is also a server comes to pick us up from the hotel and back, style chic this is after all the French Riviera.  The official restaurant webpage and highly recommended is here: Official restaurant Amici Miei

This is Fontvieille in French on its heritage, something to be back for.  City of Fontvieille on things to see

I have done a couple of entries on this area so will be brief and show you couple of pictures of the wonderful natural setting of the area I like.

Cap d’Ail, was until 1860, attached to the County of Nice. It was in 1908 that Cap d’Ail, which depended on La Turbie, became a fully-fledged town. The area around is bordered today on the north by the La Turbie. / Isola 2000, 105 km. Grenoble, 340 km.  Lyon, 492 km. and Paris, 954 km away.  To the east: border with the Fontvieille district of Monaco.  Menton, 16 km.  Ventimiglia (Italy), 29 km away. Sanremo (Italy), 59 km. Genoa (Italy), 183 km. /Rome (Italy), 694 km away. Towards the west: border with Èze. / Beaulieu-sur-Mer, 9 km. Nice, 18 km away.  Toulon, 170 km. and Marseille, 226 km. So literally all closer to Italy

cap d'ail

The roads are breathtaking here and I love it for it. I had a car so the driving was awesome. The best roads are the RD 6098 (basse corniche) and RD 6007 (formerly RN7 – called moyenne corniche and also called avenue Prince-Rainier-III-de-Monaco on its northern periphery. By the sea, the coastal path is an old, redeveloped course of 3,600 m joining the Mala and Marquet beaches via the Pointe des Douaniers. The train station and airport are all at Nice. The path is wonderful and explain better here in English from Cap tourist office: Tourist office of Cap d’Ail on the seashore walks

cap d'ail

There are wonderful layback harbors even an artificial one at  Cap-d’Ail on the extreme south and its northern quay is the frontier with  Monaco at Fontvieille as well as the eastern part of the town. An interesting phenomena that many times could not tell the difference whether I was in France or Monaco lol! 

There are, also, the Port Hercule or Port of Monaco. The port of Monaco consists of two ports, one natural, the Hercule port having been the subject of an extension by a floating concrete dam, the other artificial, the port of Fontvieille built in at the same time as the extension of the Fontvieille district on the sea. Its webpage in English is here: Ports of Monaco

cap d'ail

And Port Lympia or Port de Nice. Today it is the main port facility in Nice. There is also a small port in the Carras district. The port of Nice is divided into the Commercial port at the entrance and the marina at the bottom. More info here in English: Port of Nice

The Cap d’Ail tourist info is here in English: Tourist office of Cap d’Ail

The town also has several villas. I mentioned my favorites with nice architectural features I like:

 Villa du Roc Fleuri  and its botanical park and garden. Villa Perles Blanches  or  Villa Lumière  of the Lumière Brothers at 8 avenue Chales Blanc. Villa Les Funambules and the park Sacha Guitry. Villa Les Camélias at 17 avenue Raymond Gramaglia. . Villa Paloma at 16 avenue Raymond Gramaglia. Villa Les Violettes at 15 avenue François-de-May. Villa Les Mouettes at 6 avenue Raymond Gramaglia.. Villa Mirasol at 5 avenue Charles Blanc. Villa Primavera at the Moyenne Corniche road.

Other monuments to see are the Église Notre-Dame-du-Cap-Fleuri at 68 avenue du 3 septembre. Château de l’Hermitage at 37 avenue du 3 septembre Château des Terrasses at 89 avenue du 3 septembre. And the Tour Abeille and Villa 51 avenue du 3 septembre.

Some famous spent time here or lived are

Winston Churchill    was the honorary mayor of  Cap d’Ail Didier Deschamps  born at  Bayonne World Cup Champion football/soccer live in  Cap d’Ail. Sacha Guitry in 1927 acquired the Villa Les Funambules. The Lumière  Brothers Auguste and Louis. They owned the villa Perles Blanches at  avenue Charles Blanc. And André Malraux  He and Josiane Clotis lived in the  villa Les Camélias .

Again, the place is very chic upscale and nice. The kind of place you can dream of retiring too lol! A bit slow pace for me, too up the ladder but worth a visit in my belle France.

Hope you have enjoy the post, and remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

February 16, 2020

Another of my house wines, Marchais!

Ok so did a run but coming back, wine is part of my life since first tasted from my grandmother at 8 yrs old!! With us its a tradition of great proportions, my sons continue the trend.

I have written several posts on wines and even one on this region but need to come back for more as it is one of our house wines and we go often, thinking of been back already!

Thouaré sur Loire is in the department 44 Loire Atlantique south of me in the region of Pays de la Loire. Historically part of Bretagne … and only 13 km from Nantes. And about 2 hrs by car from my house.

The area around Thouaré-sur-Loire has the authorization to produce the wines of the following appellations: Coteaux d’Ancenis, Gros Plant du Pays Nantais, Muscadet; the Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire, and the Loire Valley.

The Muscadet is a dry white wine of AOC (appellation d’Origine Controllée) mainly in the Loire-Atlantique dept 44, south of Nantes, and partially overflowing on the Maine-et-Loire dept 49 and the Vendée dept 85 ,all in Pays de la Loire region. This wine from the Loire Valley vineyards comes from a unique grape variety, the melon of Burgundy (Melon de Bourgogne) . This appellation has been classified AOC since 1936.  The Muscadet vineyards has several appellations: the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, the Muscadet -côtes-de-Grandlieu, the Muscadet-coteaux-de-la-Loire and the Muscadet without any particular denomination.

The properties we have chosen to buy are but about 3 but the main buy is done at Vignobles Marchais lately, this is at La Blandiniére hamlet just outside the town of Thouare-sur-Loire, and it has been a pleasant find. We first met at the village vignerons of Guérande .  About the second time we visit the owner Philippe Marchais arrived we were surprise by  a visit by radio chain France Bleu and the owner Philippe was interviewed right in front of us. I was one of the ones chosen to be spoken to and was indeed on the air!!!


It is in the vineyard near Nantes, in the heart of three terroirs Le Loroux-Bottereau, Thouaré-sur-Loire and Mauves-sur-Loire , that the history of the Marchais family, winemakers from father to son is written. In the heart of a green setting, the vines stretch, offering an exceptional setting for a total immersion in the world of winegrowers. Here, the muscadets-sèvre-et-maine with a generous and floral nose (such as Le Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé or Le Domaine de la Bronnière) and muscadets-coteaux-de-la-loire (the Thouaré vineyard) with a nice minerality are worked with passion. In this winery, you can choose between Le Grand Clos du Moulin du Pé, which is a fine local classic, or the historic muscadet of the vineyard: Le Domaine de la Bronnière, or the unusual Saveur d’Origine. Especially the sparklers rosé and white perles lutines and the parasol rose from old grapes before phylloxera call the 54 dating from the 1800’s.



True independent winemaker, Philippe Marchais strives to develop wine tourism by highlighting his work with wine, and it is successful. In his cellar, you will find wines from other family production, but also wines from winemakers from Loire, Bordeaux, Burgundy and elsewhere; local products such as Loire fish terrines, local beer and many other delicacies to discover, wine accessories and many gift ideas. A multifaceted place, very pleasant to discover. Also, in good weather the Bar!!!


Their official webpage here: Vignobles Marchais

The independent wine growers official site on the Marchais property: Official Independant winegrowers on the Marchais vineyards

We come by car of course; taking the freeway N165 towards Nantes stay out of the city center and continue on the A844/N844  get off at sortie 41 on the route de Paris which is the D723 into Thouaré and see the restaurant Au Chemin de Nantes turn right here into the La Baisse Hiliére road and the wine property is on your right corner with D68 route de Mauves. No bus or train by here that I know.

Enjoy the ride close to the loire river and wonderful countryside with the smell of the melon de bourgogne! And do visit vignobles Marchais the real thing down to earth la vie en rose of my belle France.

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


February 15, 2020

Some wine news from France!

And back with some news about my favorite or one of , pastimes that is wines.  In my belle France ,there is always something about wine even if with the dacronian modes of living today they are trying to eliminated. I have written several posts on wine and this is another one with news from various sources I follow here and have translated.

When the number of cafes continues to decrease in France (they were 38,800 in 2016 against 45,080 in 2011 according to Statista), Paris is an exception. According to different studies, the City of Lights had 14,363 cafes and restaurants in 2017. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris and Île-de-France thus recorded an 11% increase in the number of these types of shops between 2014 and 2017.

But those who continue to appreciate a good bottle, and there are more and more of them, especially in Paris; no longer hesitate to push the door of one of the 600 or so Parisian cellars shops, almost a quarter of wine merchants have developed their bar. wine and more than 60% offer delicatessen products. La Grande Épicerie du Bon Marché cellars has a clientele 80% Parisians. True national pride, wine is above all a marker of the strong identity of French gastronomy, especially in Paris. Alain Ducasse and his head sommelier, Gérard Margeon offer, in the four brasseries of the capital, very beautiful wines at affordable prices.

What comfort the 87% of Parisians who drink wine in restaurants (against 81% for all of France), but who find the wines too expensive. It must be said that, according to Statista, wines are 26% more expensive in gourmet restaurants in Paris than in the rest of France, and 15% in independent restaurants and bistros. (Of course Paris carries a price!)

Matthieu Bosser, co-founder of the Les Vignobles Parisiens  (55 Rue de Turbigo 3éme) in 2015, succeeded in making wine in the heart of Paris. Of course, his grapes do not come from Paris or even from Ile-de-France, but they are transported by refrigerated truck from Visan, in the Rhône valley. All winemaking and maturing are then carried out in Paris, or at least were given the success of the Parisian winegrowers, the company had to expand and create a winery in Saint-Denis, even if the aging is always done in the Marais in their barrel cellar.

The Les Vignobles Parisiens has already taken the plunge with 10 hectares of vines have already been planted, in organic conversion, in the plain of Versailles and 13 others will be planted this year. The land has a flush of limestone, on the Davron plateau, in the Yvelines (dept 78), 140 meters above sea level. While waiting for the vines to enter production, the young company vinifies and ages in Montreuil, in Seine-Saint-Denis (dept 93) , wines made from grapes from different French regions. The latest highlight is the installation on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower of wine-making tanks and barrels for the aging of part of the 2019 harvest, from the Ile-de-France vineyards.

An effort to revive the first vineyard in France which had some 42,000 hectares at its peak in the 18C, before completely disappearing after WWII. The numbers are

14,363 cafes and restaurants were identified in Paris in 2017, which represents 61.3% of Ile-de-France establishments (Source: CCI de Paris Île-de-France). 604 wine merchants are established in Paris, i.e. + 11% between 2014 and 2017 (Source: CCI of Paris Île-de-France). 8,800 bars and restaurants in Paris have an IV license, which allows them to sell alcohol (Source: CCI de Paris Île-de-France). 8.84 restaurants per 1,000 inhabitants in Paris far ahead of Lyon (5.62), Bordeaux (6.77) or Marseille (5.22) (Source: CCI de Paris Île-de-France). 5.40 euros average price of a glass of wine in a restaurant or an independent bistro in Paris. An amount which rises to 9.10 euros in a gourmet restaurant (Source: OpinionWay for Wine Paris). 52% of wine consumers in Paris consider themselves to be enlightened amateurs  (Source: Wine Paris). 250 sommeliers are members of the Paris and Île-de-France Sommeliers Association.

In other front, Champagne sales fell 1.6% in 2019 to 297.5 million bottles, but the overall turnover of the sector increased by 2%, announced the Comité Champagne , the ex- Interprofessional committee for Champagne wines. In terms of exports, the European Union is on the rise again (+ 1%) while the rest of the world has seen its growth slow (+ 0.7%). Winegrowers’ Champagnes have jumped almost 18% in major exports (Americas, Asia), with 3.4 million bottles sold. Same trend on this market for cooperatives with an increase of almost 7% (5 million bottles).

2019, was a great year for French wines and spirits for export. Driven in particular by the return of volume, thanks to good harvests, the sector recorded a turnover of 14 billion euros, an increase of 5.9%. Over the year as a whole, 194.6 million cases of 12 bottles (+ 0.7%) left the country, for a balance of 12.7 billion euros (+ 8.5%). Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters of France (FEVS), announce these are trompe l’oeil results, international trade and political tensions are weighing on exports and herald a difficult year 2020 as told during a press conference on the Wine Paris-Vinexpo show. The first three markets, the United States, the United Kingdom and China, which represent 50% of total turnover, are indeed surrounded by uncertainties. Anticipation of the application of US taxes of 25% in the first case and of Brexit in the second.

The Trump administration has taxed French, Spanish and German still wines since October 18 2019 by 25%, in retaliation for the preferential treatment that the EU would accord to the aircraft manufacturer Airbus ( nothing to do with each other but here are the Americans again) Importers, distributors has said that given the number of intermediaries, a 25% surcharge is equivalent to an increase of 60% to 70% in stores, says Michel Chapoutier, a large merchant and producer in the Rhône Valley.

One general view on Champagne.  At the head of the wines and spirits business of LVMH, Philippe Schaus reviews the various actions carried out by his group, in particular with regard to sustainable development.

Living Soils brings together all the activities that they have implemented, whether in favor of reducing water consumption, inputs in viticulture, but also with regard to biodiversity, the carbon footprint or the consumption of energy, etc. They are currently building a new research center in Champagne in which are investing 20 million euros. When we talk about Living Soils, it is the future of Moët Hennessy that is in question. Just as we would like the Dom Pérignon and Moët & Chandon brands to be one of the most beautiful brands in the world of wines and spirits in a hundred years.

For Brexit, he continues, we do not yet know, in details what will be the results of negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on the new import and export conditions for wines and spirits, he said. We are in absolute uncertainty. But we believe that the English will continue to consume champagne, that the Europeans will continue to consume whiskey and that solutions will be found. Amen!

And he continues ; we are growing almost everywhere in the world. In Eastern Europe, which continues to catch up and its purchasing power compared to Western Europe. Africa is taking an important place especially for champagne and cognac. In India, we have very little presence because we do not have local brands. China is experiencing strong growth, but above all, for us, the United States continues to be the market that most drives the growth of our business.

France dominates in sparkling wines with Champagne. It is the country with the most prestigious wines. It is a world where France fulfils a very beautiful role and a very beautiful position. Champagne is more or less 300 million bottles. In terms of volume it is frozen since we are in an appellation area which is 100% exploited to date. Champagne represents today in this immense sparkling wine market 2 to 3% of the production but it is the top of the pyramid. The future of Champagne depends on our ability to continue to develop our brands and create value through price. It is a production which is very expensive therefore it must be sold dear.

Investing in rosé corresponds to several ideas. This color has undergone an important evolution in recent years since it has risen in quality thanks to producers such as Château d’Esclans and others. In this world, the rosé from Provence has taken on a particular stature. It is considered the excellence of rosé. We are the leaders of Champagne, we can be the leaders of rosé. We were interested in different actors, the most important being Château d’Esclans. Because it is the American market leader and there is an extraordinary personality behind this wine (Sacha Lichine). That is to say the search for excellence, freedom, entrepreneurship, the right balance between tradition and modernity. Besides that, we bought a smaller property called Château du Galoupet, by the sea, which will allow us to do different things. The North American market remains the main market for Provence rosé today, but we also plan to develop the United Kingdom, like the Germanic countries, and even Italy and other European countries. And also Japan.

We launched the Volcan tequila two years ago near Guadalajara, (Mexico) in our own distilleries. We are in partnership with the Gallardo family, a well-established Mexican family. This tequila was launched in the United States and Mexico and we are going to launch Volcan in Europe for the first time this year. We will start with Spain. We, also, acquired an American whiskey two years ago called Woodinville. It works very well. We are the leader in Washington State, in the United States. We are gradually developing its presence in the various American states and it works very well.

The above interview came out in Le Figaro Vins.

An unique event coming on from February 29 to March 1, 2020, find the fourth edition of the Rare Grape Variety Fair at the Saint-Etienne Chapel in Beaune, Côte d’Or dept 21 Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. The schedules are: Saturday February 29 from 10h to 20h. Sunday March 1 from 10h to 17h. Location: Chapelle Saint-Etienne Place Félix Ziem, Beaune. Price: from 5 € . More info here in French : Cepages rares at Beaune

And that is all folks ,for now at least. Hope you enjoy the post on the wonderful world of wines and of course France!

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


February 11, 2020

A covered market in Cordes!

So I am taking you down to my favorite area oh well there are so many here for us lol! However, this one we have family on wife’s side so I will tell you more as my favorite department 81!

I have written before on Cordes sur Ciel in my blog but i figure need to tell you more on the Halles so here it is.Hope you enjoy it as we do.

The Halles is a medieval hall in Cordes-sur-Ciel, a town in Tarn dept 81,  region of Occitanie. It is located in the center of the city near the highest point of the hill. It occupies a place at the crossroads of the main street, the current rue Raymond VII, the rue Saint-Michel which passes in front of the church and the perpendicular lane which descends towards the Portanel.

Cordes sur Ciel

In 1273, the town’s traders obtained the right to organize a party on Saint Bartholomew’s Day, patron saint of tanners, and in 1276, they covered the market place. Cordes becomes an important center of the craft of embroidery of fabrics and decoration of leather. This flourishing trade allowed the reconstruction of the Halle authorized by the lieutenant of the king in Languedoc. This grant dated 1358 should encourage the development of trade.

A bit on the construction of this wonderful building in the high city.

They are established on a stone paved and leveled area. Access is via steps, the number of which varies according to the level of the ground by 24 stone pillars with simple capitals of octagonal section. The functional aspect is without sculpture. One of them wears a ring that has been used for centuries to display animals for slaughter. The four-sided wooden frame has a roof of canal tiles. The perimeter has stone benches. The roof was redone in the 19C. For the pillars, no document allows to say that they were changed, but the multiple traces of repairs make doubt that they are still of the 14C.

Under the Halles, a cross is installed near the edge of a well. This well, filled since 1647 . A local team of speleologists has cleared the bottom and they reach down to 114 meters in 1961!. The bottom is paved with rectangular limestone and cut with care. The well itself is dug out of the rock with a diameter of 3 m by 13 m. This last part is built in limestone blocks. The water level does not vary around 12 meters, representing a volume of approximately 33 m3!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to Cordes sur Ciel are

City of Cordes sur Ciel on heritage

Tourist office of dept 81 Tarn on Cordes sur Ciel

Another nice wonder of beautiful high city of Cordes sur Ciel (or some says Cordoba on heavens for the leather tanners story). Hope you enjoy the post and do stop by.

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


February 11, 2020

The market at Dieppe!

And here I am on one of the most picturesques markets of France and is not in the south…! As read , we love markets and cannot missed in it if passing or visiting a city in France. One of our favorite and came here often for many years before moving to Bretagne was Dieppe.

So let me tell you a bit more on the market of Dieppe. Hope you enjoy it as we do

You want to partake in the local life,and enjoy Normandy at its best, do like us, come to the market days of Dieppe on Saturdays mornings fresh from the sea and the land around  Place Nationale, Place Saint Jacques from 7h30 -13h00, and Grande rue from 7h30-13h00, as well as around Rue St Jacques,and Rue de la Barre.


Dieppe has one of the most beautiful markets in France. The Saturday morning market in the city center is recognized as the most beautiful market in Normandy and the 8th nationally by TF1 television viewers contest!!.

With its 200 exhibitors, including a large proportion of producers from the Pays de Bray, the Pays de Caux and neighboring Picardy, the Dieppe market is an unmissable event for Dieppe by visitors and residents alike.

There are other smaller market on Tuesday and Thursday morning Place Nationale.

And the big fish market at La Fontaine; Quai Henri IV, Facing the Marina. Every day until 13h30. Direct sale of seafood products to the consumer allowing the purchase of fish 7 days 7. Also a smaller fish market at Quai Trudaine from Tuesday to Saturday, in the morning with direct arrival of the catch of the day, subject to weather conditions.

Some webpages on the market and  Dieppe in general,to help you plan your trip here and you should ,are

City of Dieppe on its markets in French

Tourist office of Dieppe on its fishing port in English

Dept 76 Seine Maritime of Dieppe on its market in English

Tourist office of Normandy on Dieppe in English

Now you are all set to visit this wonderful sea town of Dieppe with interwined history with Canada. Hope you enjoy it as we do!

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


February 10, 2020

Market days at Amboise!

Well I told you written plenty on Amboise in my blog, one of my favorite cities of my belle France. And we do shop here often during the year for goodies of the Amboise-Touraine area and plenty more from the Loire valley, here the valley of the kings!

There is a pack to see in Amboise, but when you walks its streets mingle with the local people and savored their goodies than you will come to realise the town is a lot more than a castle, and lucky to be not too far from it.! Let me tell you a bit more on its market or marché one of the best of France and we say so! We love the markets!!!

Strolling along the stalls of the Sunday market, will be pleased to introduce you to the world of great wines. Every Sunday morning the Marché d’Amboise market is held. This is the largest market in the Indre et Loire department, 37, some come from Blois, Montrichard, or Tours to shop here and for good reason.


You are invited to stroll from 8h to 13h30 along the market stalls in the city center, which takes place every Sunday morning, on the banks of the Loire, a 5-minute walk from the city/town hall, opposite the Post Office. It takes part in the attractiveness and the life of the city as well as in the surrounding towns, it is a meeting place for all the inhabitants of the region.

On the banks of the Loire at Amboise, the market brings together 215 traders on Sunday morning, distributed along four aisles of 500 meters. It is the most important in Indre-et-Loire. present on the market, there is a bit of everything: early vegetables, food products of the region, flowers, etc .

The Amboise market was selected among the finalists for the competition for the most beautiful market in 2019. The TV chain  TF1 announced in its afternoon edition the prize list of the competition “The most beautiful market in France” ; the market in Amboise, voted best market in the Centre-Val de Loire region!  by internet users, and came 12th in the national ranking!!


My family at it in Amboise!

The top 20 (over 200 markets competed)  winner’s list for reference is below and in black those we have been. Including the one in our capital city Vannes which I have plenty in my blog!

  1. Marché de Montbrison
    2. Marché de Dieppe
    3. Marché de Saint-Pierre
    La Réunion
    4. Marché d’Audruicq
    5. Marché des Halles de Narbonne
    6. Marché de Toucy
    7. Marché des Halles Municipales de Menton
    Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur
    8. Marché de Vannes
    9. Marché des Halles de Niort
    10. Marché du Puy-en-Velay
    11. Marché de Brive-la-Gaillarde
    12. Marché d’Amboise
    Centre-Val de Loire
    13. Marché de Saint-Louis
    14. Marché du Moule
    15. Marché de Monsempron-Libos
    16. Marché de Fréry
    17. Marché de Prayssac
    18. Marché d’Honfleur
    19. Marché de Bernaville
    20. Marché de Chaource

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the market here are

Contact the city of Amboise for information on events and hours, location when you do plan to come here: City of Amboise tourist office contact

The tourist office of Amboise Val de Loire on the market in English: Tourist office Amboise Val de Loire on the market in Amboise

There you go a wonderful competition to preserve the tradition of the best France can offer gastronomy and wines! Do visit a market is a must if visiting France, they are monuments to what you come to see in my belle France. Hope you enjoy it! The one in Amboise is tops!!!

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









February 9, 2020

The markets of Blois!!!

So let me tell you something in off the beaten path Blois, what!!! well most folks visiting the city goes for two thing maybe 3. The Castle, the Houdin magic museum and the Cathedral. However, there is a lot more to see and do in wonderful Blois.

Of course, have written several posts on Blois in my blog, just search. However, today will tell you briefly about the markets of Blois. Their schedules and location are

Marché du Centre Ville or city center/Downtown market, place Louis-XII: Tuesday from 8h30 to 13h15 (approximately four businesses), Saturdays from 8h30 to 13h15 (around a hundred shops),


Place de la République market: Saturdays from 8h30 to 17h45. (around twenty businesses);

Coty market, rue Pierre-et-Marie-Curie: Wednesdays from 8h30 to 13h15 (between 130 and 200 businesses), except Wednesdays December 25, 2019 and January 1, 2020;

Quinière market, Quinière shopping center: Thursdays from 8h30 to 13h15. (fifteen shops);

Organic market, place Rol-Tanguy: Friday from 16h to 20h (fifteen stores);

Place Lorjou market: Sunday from 8h30 to 13h15 (between 60 and 120 businesses).

Of course, the most central and wonderful if you come on Saturday is the Place Louis XII and we even got some goat cheese here as well as wine; if you read my blog we are all over the markets in France.

The market at Place Louis XII is just a couple of steps from the Castle. You go thru several aisles to load your bag with cheeses (goat we love it), farm eggs , season vegetables etc. On sunny days you can find the wonderful Sologne strawberries, which are famous for their quality. Enjoy shopping at Blois

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to the markets of Blois

The city of Blois on their markets in French

Tourist office of Blois Chambord on markets

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

February 8, 2020

Another wine story of Bordeaux!

So yes here I am with another wine story of Bordeaux. I have written some posts on wine one of my passions in my life. And of course, on Bordeaux wines which is a very big area indeed.  There is a smaller area that I like the most call Médoc right in the peninsula between the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers and the Atlantic ocean.

Let me tell you about some of my all time favorite properties as I have found some pictures from my vault and even if personal are dated and will complement rather nicely this post. But first , a bit about the Médoc, just a bit ok

The Médoc is in the Gironde department 33 of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. There are three parts to it: Bas-Médoc, Haut-Médoc and Landes, and two terroirs, the famous Médoc vineyard along the estuary, and Landes du Médoc towards the ocean. The coast is dotted with small seaside resorts: Soulac, Montalivet, Carcans, Hourtin or Lacanau, which is wonderful and many times with the family here. The wine part of the Médoc mainly corresponds to Haut-Médoc . The Médoc vineyard includes the following appellations: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint -Julien, Listrac-Médoc, Moulis-en-Médoc and Margaux. Of course, the best in the world!!!

Here is a sampler ok , hope you enjoy it as we do!

The Château de Lescombes located at 198 avenue du Taillan was called under the Old Regime (monarchy) , the Château de la Plane, name of the rural lordship which surrounded it. The rectangular building is flanked by 4 towers covered in a pepper shaker. It is marked by classic fashion, sobriety of architecture and symmetry. Nearby, the dovecote-well is a cylindrical tower covered with a stone dome where a collection of market gardening tools from the eco-museum are on display. The castle was bought in 1989 by the city of Eysines and has become the Contemporary Art center of Château Lescombes. It is 7 km from Bordeaux. The property has long stop producing wines at least since the 1980’s but was a regular of mine long ago in my beginnings so still have a picture of it. More of it here:


The Château Palmer is a wine estate located in Cantenac. In AOC Margaux, it is classified third grand cru in the official classification of Bordeaux wines of 1855. In the 18C, the castle was already a wine estate recognized for its wines, which were tasted at the court of Versailles. This property belonged to Madame de Gasq and was then called Domaine de Gasq. It was sold in 1814 to British lieutenant-colonel Charles Palmer, who gave it its current name.

It has been one of my house favorite over the years and still do drink it. Margaux is good! More info here:


It was in 1300, at the initiative of the Commanderie des Templiers, that this vineyard was born. The rectangular dwelling is surrounded by two lateral, square and projecting pavilions. The main elevations, on the road, form a courtyard closed by a portal and a low wall supporting a metal grid. The house is framed by two wings in return, built in the extension of the pavilions. On the street side, the facade of the main building is made up of a projecting fore-body, framed by pilasters, in continuous bossing for the ground floor and smooth for the first floor; the entire fore-body is topped with an attic. The openings are framed by a molded frame; the upstairs window, preceded by a metal railing bearing the initials C and A for Château d´Arcins, is crowned with a circular pediment. The rest of the main building, adorned with a protruding median strip, is pierced with bays in a segmental arch. The wings, whose bays have a protruding frame, are capped with a molded cornice. These wings are extended in return by buildings of outbuildings, whose facades on the street are decorated with a continuous boss. These buildings have 7 spans for the one housing the offices and 9 for the other, corresponding to the old vat room. It is own since 1971 by the Castel group of wineries. It is one of my favorites since 1990 and we enjoy at home a lot ,last the 2015 are superb. The Castel group is one of the biggest distributors of wine in the world and are base in Provence. More on this property here :


The Château Cantenac Brown, is a 48 hectare wine estate located in Cantenac In AOC Margaux, it is classified third grand cru in the official classification of Bordeaux wines of 1855.

Jacques Boyd, squire of the King, bought in 1754 some land in the parish of Cantenac, thus creating a wine estate which gave birth to two properties: Boyd-Cantenac and Cantenac Brown. In 1806, John Lewis Brown, a Frenchman of Scottish origin, bought vines which took the name of Cantenac-Brown.  It was there that John-Lewis Brown, future animal painter and grandson of the founder of the property, spent his childhood. The castle was sold in 1843 to a banker named Gromard. The latter was at the head of the estate in 1855, when the property was classified as the third Grand Cru Classé under the name of Boyd. In 1860, the vineyard was sold to Louis Armand Lalande who gave it the final name of Cantenac Brown. At the end of 2019, Cantenac Brown changed hands and came under the control of the Le Lous brothers, a family of French medical entrepreneurs (Urgo group ).

Excellent wines and a house favorite of ours. Again Margaux! More info here:


Located in the town of Parempuyre near Bordeaux, the Château Clément-Pichon estate bore the name of “La Motte Caupène” in the 14C. Durand-Dassier will rebuild the castle with an original architecture of the Renaissance type following a fire in 1881. It is finally Clément Fayat, entrepreneur in construction and already owner of the Château La Dominique in Saint Emilion, which acquires it in 1976. He recreates there from the ground up on 25 hectares of a Haut-Médoc vineyard, established on a coarse gravel terroir on the surface, the basement consisting of iron grime. The vines are 25 years old on average with the grape varieties distributed between 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. The vineyard is operated in a reasoned cultivation mode . A simple property we came upon looong ago and has been our house favorite for years still do. More info here:


The Château Cos d’Estournel, is a wine estate spanning 91 hectares, located in Saint-Estèphe. Cos d’Estournel produces wine under the appellation Saint-Estèphe, classified among the second grands crus in the 1855 classification. The estate was founded by Louis-Gaspard d’Estournel , who inherited vines near the village from Cos in 1811.

He travelled a lot and this allows him distant exports, in particular to India attracting him the nickname of Maharajah. In 1830, to celebrate this, he surmounted his cellars of Chinese pagodas, which would then be the exotic image of Cos, and brought a door from the 17C from Zanzibar. In 1917, Fernand Ginestet, a famous Bordeaux wine merchant and also co-owner of Château Margaux, bought the estate. His grandchildren Yves, Jean-Marie and Bruno Prats inherited the estate in 1970. The estate was sold in 2000 to the passionate industrialist, Michel Reybier. In 2006, a restoration of the buildings allowed the pagodas to regain their original appearance.

One of the curiosity wine castles and very much matching quality, again one of my house favorite for years ! More info here:


The Château Lanessan, located in Cussac Fort-Médoc Haut Médoc , has already had the distinction of belonging to one and the same family since 1793. For eight generations, the Bouteiller family has exploited this 80 ha vineyard in one piece, rather rare in the region, surrounded by a 145 ha of forest lands. The wine is 70% sold abroad and available in France among wine merchants and in large retailers: Some of the other properties are Château Sainte-Gemme and Château Lachesnaye, neighboring properties acquired in the 20C by the Bouteiller family. Les Calèches de Lanessan , the second wine named in honor of the Belle Epoque collection of vehicles from the Horse Carriage Museum located in the heart of the estate. And of course Château Lanessan, the flagship of the group, a highly rated Haut Médoc which is not, however, part of the official classification of Bordeaux wines of 1855. You will find 3 grape varieties: 60% cabernet sauvignon, 36% merlot and 4% petit verdot. Thus was born a wine with a complex and elegant nose, a well structured mouth, with fleshy tannins and a persistent finish. Good vintages can be kept for more than 10 years.

Here the curiosity is we came for the horse carriage museum when the boys were little and we love the place as well as the wines. It has been a favorite of the family for about 16 yrs already. More info here:


The Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is an 85 hectare wine estate located in Pauillac. Located in AOC Pauillac, it is classified second grand cru in the official classification of Bordeaux wines of 1855.

In 1850 after the owner’s death, Baron Joseph de Pichon-Longueville, Virginie, one of his daughters, took over the management of the estate and commissioned a castle inspired by the Hôtel de Lalande located in Bordeaux where her husband Henri-Charles Raymond, Count of Lalande had spent his childhood. In 1978, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing in turn received this beautiful estate and devoted herself entirely to it. She gave it an international reputation due to a constant quality and an undeniable dynamic. The Maison de Champagne Louis Roederer, became its owner in 2007,

It is an exception within the Pauillac appellation because 11 hectares are located in the town of Saint-Julien. Its grape varieties are composed of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. One of the classics of Bordeaux and we love the story of Elaine and have followed it ever since! More info here:


For general info the tourist office of the Médoc is here in English: Official tourist office of the Médoc

Hope you enjoy it like us and do come to visit on site these properties are awesome as it is the whole Médoc peninsula of commonly call Bordeaux! En Vino Veritas!

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




February 8, 2020

Gan, and the wines of Jurançon!!!

And once in a while I come back to you with one of my main hobbies love passion quietly done in my family for generations. I have written plenty and told you about my background plenty so let’s tell you about another wonderful region of the south west of France we love and do go and eat  and drink from it over the years.

Let me tell you about the wonderful  Caves des Jurançon a wine cooperative of Gan founded in 1949, and its delicious Jurançon wines. To find it is real easy as there are right on the National road N134 at Gan just south of Pau. Just follow direction Centre Ville Gan and you will hit the cellars or Caves! This is wine drank it many times but never at the spot so took a ride here and spend the day great folks, great location, and great wines.


We arrive early but enough to have them all set up and ready to go. Ample free parking as the Caves occupies spaces on both sides of  Avenue Henri IV in Gan. We went to the main tent right in front of the receiving of grapes store. There was music groups playing French and Basque/Béarnaise music, a beret throwing contest (beret is the hat of the basque) , the store was fully open and staff ready to go.



We went Inside with a guide name Julien , who was fantastic, we exchange lots of questions and he was right on right away no hesitation real pro.  The building is where they have the process of receiving grapes from the coopératives that are members of the cave, 660 hectares are own by them and about 40 is own direct by the Cave.  The grapes are separated along the two main grapes gros manseng and petit manseng for the whites dry and moelloux or sweet sort of they go from dry to late vendage very sweet, they also do rosé and red wines from coopératives in other regions of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. They are blend it base on the master winemaker decision base on quality.


We then, took the ride on a petit train or little train into the back of the building where huge aluminum tanks stored the juice for fermetation and treatment. And we ran across with the little train to see the building across the street where they do the filling, labeling ,and packaging of the wines with special computised machines including a robot that does 6000 bottles per hour. The place hold about 80 full time employees and the automation has not decrease the number. They ship 10% international and 30% to individuals another 30% to small stores mom and pop places and 30% to big distribution. We are glad to be part of the 30% to individual buyers!!!



The process is very computerized and very clean, all the personnel spoked with us very nicely, and very willing to explain their processes. Once the trip was done we headed back to the main Platform where grapes are received for a free tastings of all their lineup of wines!! Of course, we tasted them all!!! It was great the lady was very nice and we were serve sausages,and cheese to eat along the way.  You were given a list with prices and another pamphlet with the wines and matching suggestions.



After all this process and wandering about the place we headed for the boutique store for purchases. We already had our price list completed with the wines we wanted, handed it over and they do all the packaging for you. We purchase two cases of different wines for my cellar ::) and we did said goodbye to all, a wonderful day , and very friendly folks;  makes you come back for more….And we had!!!


For lunch we stay there, one of the bottles we purchase we ask to be open and they did for us, went across to a bakery pastry store Boulangerie Chuchi, wonderful regional products like ham and chorizos yummy with great tarte of fruits, etc there is a bench outside by the road and had our picnic sort of right on the spot with a bottle of Oh Biarnesa rosé cold from their store at the Caves des Jurançon!!!


The official webpage for them is here: Official Caves des Jurancon

And here is the tourist office of Pau on them :Tourist office of Pau-Pyrenees on the Caves des Jurançon

In all a wonderful time we had here with funny moments, great company, excellent guide and plenty of bottles home to continue the tradition!!! En vino veritas!!! and I hope you enjoy the post and do visit here at Gan in the Caves des Jurançon!

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



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