Posts tagged ‘Food and Wine’

January 24, 2022

Curiosities of Amboise!!!

And by the valley of the kings I was again, this is like my backyard really the farthest is just 4 hrs away from home. I try harder with the family left and of course my dog Rex and Dad in wheelchair, its a family effort nowdays. Amboise is nice we used to come here several times a year to our favorite house wine and the castle, the market, Christmas etc. We moved to the Morbihan, Bretagne and felled behind a bit. Now trying to catch up, its a task France is a mouvable feast as a whole. Let me tell you some curiosities of Amboise; and hope you enjoy it as we did.

You have the mini chateaux park or sort of a miniature castles of the Loire park, it has 2 hectares or 5 acres showing 45 castles of the Loire. Located at La Menaudière on the road D81 very close to AmboiseThe parc Mini-Châteaux is a miniature park located in Amboise, Indre-et-Loire dept 37 in the Centre Val de Loire region. It shows a landscaped with some 2,000 bonsais, for a 1.5 km route. complete with gardens, figurines, boats and trains. The models presented are on a 1/25th scale. The parc is arranged with some 2,000 bonsais, 10,000 figurines, 6 railway networks and miniature boats, On the landscaped park, more than 44 faithful reproductions, in miniature, of the high places of the Loire Valley. A giant stride to discover, in a few hours, all the architectural treasures of the region: Chambord, Chenonceaux, Amboise, Villandry and many more…It could be use as an introduction to the region if time is of the essence, me think.  The official Mini Chateaux

Amboise Parc Mini Chateaux front jan22

The former castle of Chanteloup was an 18C castle located precisely in the heights of the city of Amboise,  which was built on behalf of the princess of the Ursins, and was considerably embellished and expanded by the Duke of Choiseul, Louis XV’s minister Destroyed in 1823 , there remains in the domain of Chanteloup only the Chanteloup pagoda and its park, built in 1775 on behalf of the Duke of Choiseul , and open to the visit since the late 1990s by the André family.

A bit of history I like

The Duke of Choiseul , disgraced in 1770 because of his too close proximity to the parliaments and his sometimes public opposition to the king’s policy, as well as his jokes about Madame du Barry, the king’s favorite, was « retired » to the Château de Chanteloup by order of the king until the death of the latter in 1774 , While there he received visitors from all over Europe, holding a real court and giving sumptuous receptions. Thanks to him, Chanteloup became a magnificent country residence, surrounded by beautiful gardens, which one did not hesitated to compare to Versailles. In 1792, it became national property, and in 1794, it was seized and emptied of its furniture, partially transferred to the Museum of Fine Arts in Tours, It was sold at auction in 1802 to Jean-Antoine Chaptal, Count of Chanteloup, chemist and Minister of the Interior of Bonaparte (he resigned at the coronation of Napoleon 1st).  Chaptal grew beets in the park to produce sugar but, following the bankruptcy of his son Jean-Baptiste-Marie, Viscount Chaptal de Chanteloup, he commissioned the sale of land and buildings from 1823 to 1829. Having failed to find lessee, the castle was finally sold to a demolisher. The residence was thus completely destroyed in 8 weeks, with the exception of the Pagoda, acquired on March 13, 1823 by the Duke Louis-Philippe of Orléans, with 228 hectares of forest, However, all that remains today is the so-called Concierge pavilion and two pavilions of the forecourt framing the gate.

The Chanteloup pagoda ,located to the south of the castle at the top of a hill, it formed the meeting point of seven long avenues traced in the forest of Amboise. This construction, and the development of a large half-moon water mirror terminated by a large canal in which it is reflected, completed the transformation of the gardens of Chanteloup; it was intended for nocturnal celebrations. On the first floor, Choiseul would have had the names of his visitors engraved on white marble tables, then turned face up against the wall, which rest on a peristyle of the purest circular Louis XVI style of sixteen columns and sixteen pillars, It has seven floors, the entrance staircase has seven steps, it is surmounted by a golden globe symbolizing the sun and the pond at its feet is in the shape of a half-moon.
The pavilion of the Concierge of the Pagoda, built at the entrance to the esplanade of the Pagoda, now houses a small museum in which there is an exhibition of reproductions of maps of the castle and gardens of Chanteloup, as well as paintings and portraits of famous people from Chanteloup. 
The official Pagoda de Chanteloup:


And to do all these ramblings in our road warrior tour of the valley of the kings, I decided to once again use nostalgia and stayed at an Ibis hotel, a chain of Accor of France. Very nice hotels I have used extensively both personal and business in various levels going from the old Sofitel to the old Etap and of course the Ibis’s. This was two rooms at the Ibis Budget Amboise hotel just before going into the city center off the D31 road. The rooms were clean, restaurant for breakfast great all you can eat!! 6.60€ can’t beat it and the staff very friendly, a top stay for sure. Ibis never fails and we will be back to them. The hotel is located at 1 Rue du Clos Bourget sharing the lot with a Novotel also of the same chain Accor. From here we went to all the castles and places we saw and was very pleasant indeed. webpage:

And of course, other than some snacks along the way we had our formal lunch stay in a wonderful one star Michelin restaurant in Amboise on the guide since 2017.  This was the Lion d’Or at 17 Quai Charles Guinot, right alongside the Loire river,nice indeed. And to boot on street parking for free!! We had the bargain menu Découverte for 22€ entrée ,plat and dessert all with a bottle of  Sauvignon blanc and expresso coffees and teas total 29 € per person for a MIchelin perfect!! For the memories I had (easy off the menu!) Crispy puff pastry of chanterelles with dried tomatoes, dried ham, mushroom purée.
Trout confit with Tandoori spices on green cabbage and buttered chestnut, white butter with cardamom.
Plate with 3 pieces of cheese. Touraine-Amboise Sauvignon Blanc Xavier Frissant. Awesome experience, the official webpage:

Amboise le lion d or resto front jan22

Amboise le lion d or resto dining walls jan22

Amboise le lion d or parking on street jan22

Amboise le lion d or resto dining windows jan22

The Amboise Val de Loire tourist office on Amboise

The city of Amboise monuments to see

There you go folks, another dandy family road warrior tour in my belle France! This is a fact France is a mouvable feast as a whole. We like Amboise and do again, until next time with so much to see will see when back but it is a must while visiting France me think. Hope you enjoy the post and the others coming and going.

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

January 17, 2022

Wines news of France XIIII !!

This is a relatively new series I am doing as realise my blog was all about travels, sports but not about the food and wine we as a family enjoys so much. I am the wino in the group and have the last few years teaching my boys the art of wines, they are enthusiastically joining me! Proud of our traditions, and moving on in life. Therefore, here is my latest wines news of France!!

How do you know if a wine is good to drink? Well here are some tips from yours truly,
If a wine smells more of dust, cellar or floorcloth than fresh grapes, there is no doubt that it is corked. TCA (trichloroanisol), the molecule responsible for the famous “cork taste” interferes everywhere, from the cellar and contaminates the bottles. Only one solution: the sink. And do not keep it especially for a sauce, under penalty of making a double failure.
Yellow or even orange for a white wine, dull or brown for a red wine: as with fish, color can sometimes be a good indicator of freshness. A wine in great shape, even if it is a few years old, should be bright and with a clean complexion.
A mid-full or low-full bottle of wine is likely to lack freshness at best, in the worst case to be oxidized.
The cork is removed but there is a bad smell of mold and humidity. It’s a bad sign, but give the wine the benefit of the doubt and aerate it for a few minutes before writing a cross on it. If there is a cauliflower smell, it is probably a wine that has been altered by UV rays, a defect also called “light taste”.
You remove the lid, and there, bad surprise, the cork is damaged, oozing or on the contrary very dry, cracked. Worse: it crumbles as soon as you want to pierce it with your corkscrew. The specter of poor preservation then passes before your frightened eyes. Warning: in the case of an old bottle, the cork may be damaged, but the wine is sumptuous!

Keeping an open bottle of wine: Close it well, immediately after serving, If you have a pump to empty air the bottle, that’s ideal. Once the air is evacuated from the bottle, you will be able to keep it for two to three more days in the fridge. Place it in the refrigerator Cold preserves food, especially wine. Do not forget to take it out 30 minutes before serving so that it slowly rises to the desired temperature. Avoid any source of light, Recycle it into wine vinegar or in cooking,

So thinking of going into the wine trade ? I did it for a while but continue in finance later on after got two diplomas from France and Spain on wine connaisseur, Here is the trade,

Winemaker. He is a recognized agricultural craftsman in France. He differs from the winegrower, because he is a more complete worker. Indeed, the winemaker participates in all stages of the wine-growing activity, unlike the winegrower who is only present at the start of production. Generally, he is responsible for a plot of vines.
Oenology is the science of wine and therefore the oenologist is the expert. Like a sociologist or an economist, he/she will disseminate his science to make known and help understand his discipline.
The sommelier is the other wine professional and expert. He knows the name, the year and the glass to use for each bottle he/she opens.
The salesperson in wine is better. For anyone with a business background and a passion for this beverage, this is the perfect profession.
Closer to the average customer, the wine merchant is one of the people behind the events of your life: birthdays, retirement, parties, chill evenings…
Lawyer specializing in vine and wine law, Also called lawyer of the wine sector, he is the other expert in wine, but on the legislative aspect. This specialization implies that the lawyer likes or is interested in wine in general. Go for it!

The 2018 vintage is considered exceptional, especially in the prestigious Saint-Emilion appellation. Here are my favorites:
Château Fontenil, Fronsac, A carmine border underlines the black and opaque color of this pretty wine with a nose of raspberry and cherry. Ample, harmonious, the wine from the first sip immediately makes you want to come back with avidity. The lovely fruity, juicy, salivating acidity ardently compensates for the power and volume highlighted by fine, racy tannins. A delight.

Château Hostens- Picant Cuvée Lucullus 2018 Sainte Foy de Bordeaux , It offers itself to the eye in a dark cherry color, opaque with purple reflections. On the nose, warm, the fragrances of ripe and stewed black fruits prefigure the voluminous mouth, full of flesh and crunch, full-bodied, energized by a juicy, saline finish, relayed by cocoa notes after aeration. Decant it before enjoying it young.

A leading player in Burgundy with the Bouchard Père & Fils houses, in Chablis with William Fèvre, in Champagne with Henriot, but also in Oregon (USA) with the Beaux Frères estate, the Maisons et Domaines Henriot group still wants to draw the quality of its wines towards the top . Today, we see a growing interest in vintage champagnes, rare champagnes. There are arguably more gourmet consumers than party consumers than before. A trend ? Yes ,webpage :

The sister of five-time Ballon d’Or winner (football/soccer) Cristiano Ronaldo is to launch her brand of Champagne. The cuvée called “The 777 Goals” developed specifically in honor of this football star, pays tribute to his brother who celebrated the 777th goal of his professional career in May 2021, This cuvée was produced by the Clément Victor Champagne house in Janvry, near Reims. It is made from a blend of equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the 2016 vintage. A very luxurious cuvée in a limited series numbered from 1 to 777, i.e. 777 bottles. The precious bottle delivered in its tin case is paid for at the golden price of 1777 euros…oh yeah !! webpage :

A visit, tasting or a wedding as one of my friends did a while back and now even better, The Château Marquis de Terme offers 2 rooms: the cellar room which can hold 150 people with a view of the barrels or the Parc room with 50 seats with its pretty light and view of the castle. Château Marquis de Terme en Margaux is a Grand Cru Classé 1855, located at 3 route de Rauzan – 33460 Margaux – Cantenac

More than 1,100 hectares in production, a wide range of wine which is sold both abroad and in France, substantial stocks of Armagnac, the eau-de-vie which is making a comeback… Despite the bad weather, the Domaine Tariquet estate is doing well. An up and coming wine n our house for apéritifs nice, Another success to the credit of the Grassa family, located two km from Eauze, in the Gers. The Tariquet range includes around ten white cuvées, two rosé cuvées, and one sparkling cuvée. Today, Tariquet has 1,125 ha in production, i.e. an average of 9 million bottles bottled each year (for a turnover of 35 million euros) without purchasing grapes outside. Webpage :

It all started with Auguste, the great-grandfather of Jean-Claude Mas. In 1892, he bought his first vineyard: 9 hectares of vines located not far from Saint-Pons-de-Mauchiens, in the heart of the Hérault department. He established, without knowing it, a line that would lead, nearly 110 years later, to the creation of Domaines Paul Mas. It took off really by 2000, on the 35 hectares developed the family estate. In 1992, Jean Claude met Giorgio Grai, one of the greatest Italian oenologists, who taught him the art of blending. A decisive encounter for what followed , From a trader, he moved on to a manipulative trader to master the entire production chain, then he started buying vineyards, The Domaines Paul Mas now represent 850 hectares in ownership, spread over 15 estates, 30% of which are organic. They extend from the Gard department to Perpignan, in the Pyrénées-Orientales. Added to this are 1,500 hectares of vineyards in partnership with winegrowers, In Montagnac he created On the Côté Mas, a large sales cellar, a gourmet restaurant and two comfortable suites, One of the wines I am following lately, very good value/quality wise, webpage :

Two great losses I have followed over the years have passed away RIP

Claude Taittinger died last Monday at the age of 94. Managing Director of the family business from 1960 to 2005, he was able through his vision to support the prodigious development of the brand internationally for nearly half a century. the son of Pierre Taittinger, founder of the House of Tattinger, webpage !

The death of Ricardo Bofill on Friday, January 14 2022 at the age of 82 following complications linked to Covid-19, has left the international community of architects in mourning. He was one of the first to bring design into the universe of great wines, by designing the underground cellar of Château Lafite Rothschild in 1987. The whole is an impressive sanctuary of 4000 m2 that can accommodate up to 2200 barrels. The tour de force is all the more remarkable in that the cellar was dug under the vines and not seen from the outside, Any “spectacular signature”, thus being part of the culture of discretion dear to Lafite Rothschild. Inaugurated in 1987, this cellar paved the way for many Bordeaux properties which have since called on other renowned architects to design and dress their technical installations. Webpage on Mr Bofill profile ;

webpage of Lafite Rothschild :

There you go folks, a wonderful page on the wines of France. Sorry and my condolences to the families of Mr Tattinger and Mr Bofil, knew the first one in person at a salon in Paris in the Palais Brongniart. Hope you enjoy the post, even better the wines with moderation; this is a tradition….

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

January 15, 2022

Shopping in Toulouse !!

I have said not a shopper’s delight but out of family needs have gone into some serious shopping in many cities around the world, One nice experience with the family was visiting Toulouse as usual but more into shopping, I like to update text and link on this older post to tell you about our shopping spree in the city, The walking is great, the shopping is inspirational, and the food oh well its French with an Occitan twist! Enjoy the pink city of Toulouse and its shopping as we did.

And who say you don’t do gro ery shopping here while on vacation? Of course, we do and enjoy it very much as we have been renting appartments or apparthotels for the last several years as our family grows and we now have a dog, our big boy Rex

We went to our old favorite not available in our current Morbihan, Auchan.  From our Adagio apparthotel we move up north pass the A61 autoroute and into Gramont and Balma to visit the Centre Commercial Espace Gramont.  There are the usual mall stores here but we came expressively for the Auchan hypermarket and our groceries. Shopping mall on Auchan:


For an overall mall ambiance you can head for the Espace Saint George, Here you have the NewYorker, Ikea, and the local From Toulouse with Love, The mall address is 51 bis Rue du rempart Saint-Etienne off Bd Lazare Carnot, metro Jean Jaurés and just 450 meters from the Place du Capitole! Shopping webpage:

toulouse espace st george shopping at rue carnot jul10

We had to go to the boys favorite store FNAC, they get so much goodies out of here, and more I do not understand oh well!!! The store here is very convenient in city center by Pl Wilson and Allée Jean Jaures, on 3 levels rather well stock. FNAC PL Wilson webpage:


And of course, there is for Dad too, so my favorite store for yeears has been you guess it Galeries Lafayette. There are all over not just in Paris ,we even have it near us in the Morbihan Breton. The store in Toulouse is of course nice too. It is right into the old town at 4/8 Rue Lapeyrouse not far from the Capitole and near the busy shopping artery of rue  d’Alsace-Lorraine.  It has a food market in the basement and a wonderful views of the city from its terrace top floor resto Ma Biche sur le Toit. GL webpage:

And this is what I mean of the Ma Biche sur le Toit GL Toulouse resto:


And there you go folks, choices for everyone and at every level, this is the pink city of Toulouse in my belle France. Hope you have enjoy the run and we as said will be back!!!  And do have a happy shopping spree anywhere. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 11, 2022

Retiro and the Florida of Madrid!!!

And I bring you back in time when as a boy came here first by the hand of my dear late mom Gladys, I am trying to bring back memorable places for me and my family over the years. The Retiro park is first on the list, playing there since childhood, then my boys did it too ! There is one spot there that brings back many memorable moments on its own, I like to tell you and bring back the memory of the Retiro park and the cultural center now restaurant Florida park in it, Hope you all enjoy it as I.

This one is very especial because it started out when just a young boy living in Madrid in the crazy 1970’s. The old Florida Park, inside the Retiro park, spectacles and fine dining with a show, the very best, and very nostalgic. Way back in my youth this was a community center where dances were held, now if you had a girl you could come here . I did. And, also, participated in several birthday celebrations of friends, mine and the girl….It is said you cannot forget your first real love at the tender age of 10 lol!

You can come in the Parque del Buen Retiro park at  Paseo de la República de Panamá, closest metro is Ibiza line 9. By the Calle Ibiza and the Puerta de la Reina Mercedes (gated entrance of the queen mercedes) straight in you will see the Florida Retiro ahead. I have mix older and newer pictures in this post,for the memories of always!


If you have read my blog you know this was my hangout place since teen years and always a memorable spot to come back to it with the family. Of course ,now the place is very chic and needs reservations for a great show. It is an ancient place where artists such as Concha Velasco, Ray Charles, Tina Turner, Plácido Domingo, and Montserrat Caballé made one of the best nocturnal schedules of the moment.  Old Florida Park Madrid was never dull and always great surprises night after night, thanks to its good atmosphere of beautiful people, excellent music and repeatable evenings. Where you can see the Parque del Buen Retiro, the heart and soul of Madrid.


Now let me tell what is there now for the last few years under new management.  Florida Retiro is a multiple area consisting of six different spaces . These are ,

La Terraza, hidden among the trees of the famous park from where you can experience the Madrid sunsets. The Pabellon or pavilion is an elegant place overlooking the park through its large window. The Sala or hall, is the essential of the night of Madrid. With its dinner-show that combines gastronomy, leisure and fun.  The Galeria or Gallery is the ideal bar to meet friends for drinks with tapas and portions, based on Madrid cuisine.


There are ,also kiosks of different outlook such as a fun area converted into a market consisting of six positions that have been given names related to the Retiro Park ; like the La Jacinta, in honor of Jacinto Benavente, is the place of wisdom, El Estanque (pond) and La Bellota (acorn) to acquire drinks, La Casa de Vacas, (cows house) where the meat stand is located. The La Alcachofa (artichoke), referring to the source, to savor pickles, charcuterie and cheese and La Gloriosa,(glorious) evoking the revolution that opened the doors of the Retiro park to Madrid, for tapas and pintxos. Also, from Thursday to Sunday, you can attend the best live flamenco. And finally, La Cúpula is the area to have a cocktail en live with electronic music and disco until the wee hours of the morning.


The Florida Retiro entertainment complex webpage :

The Madrid tourist office on Florida Retiro

There you go folks, a dandy memorable place indeed, Always looking forward to stop by on my many trips to Madrid, Glad my sons were able to enjoy too and now a memorable spot for them too, The Retiro park is sublime and the Retiro Florida a great place to be , keep in mind on your next visit to the city, Hope you enjoy the post and remember the place in my beloved Madrid!

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

December 28, 2021

Another time in Vannes !!

I cannot keep away for long from our capital city of Vannes of the beautiful Morbihan dept 56 in my lovely Bretagne. As said , have many posts on the city and it shows my interest for it, as it is rather off the beaten path in my belle France but really worth the detour, Gorgeous architecture and an interesting history ; I am in heaven ! Let me update for you and me this older post. As said written many posts on the sights below so search for them to read/see more ok.

We have come to Vannes so much that it feels like we live there ; well I worked for about 9 years just outside of it in an old castle of 1504 !! We were painting the basement/sous sol, and decided to take a break and come back to Vannes for a breather ! Always is and even more with my boys , and always with wonderful memories of my dear late Martine, memories hard to erase and each time here even more stronger feelings.

While In Vannes, we did our usual sightseeing and of course many errands for the house, We did a quick stop to Micromania at the Carrefour shopping center to get the latest gadgets in video games for the boys, and then hop over to FNAC for some reading and tech reviews before well we were hungry. That is my suggestion , and we went to a place been a couple times with colleagues from work , this time came with my boys to Le Tarmac in rue Ferdinand le Dressay on the other side of the pleasure boats marina canal that takes out to the Gulf of Morbihan and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean! This was just one time, we have come back several times more, see posts.  They have a terrace right on the sidewalk facing the canals, and then a streel level room and a very cozy first level or 2nd floor. The service is friendly and prompt, the prices very reasonable and the food is good. We had tapas dish of accras (codfish cake), with breaded shrimp ,crackers tortilla Mexican style with guacamole sauce for 8,50€ and hot dogs with fries for the boys, all with a bottle of Vigne Antique côte de Provence rosé 2016 wine all came about for 15€ per person!!. They have a Facebook page :


We had all day to do and why not do some walks in wonderful medieval Vannes all kept original no wars did anything to it. It is lovely to walk here. Of course, we come by car so easy , we park on free parking past the Place Gambetta up the rue Ferdinand le Dressay and you will see the parking lot on your right passing the Harbormaster, Plenty on street parking or pay underground parking at Le Port, We then take off on foot all over the city, it is easy to walk and very pleasant things to see. As I have written so much on it will not go into details here, just type in search Vannes and see all the posts going back to 2011 in my blog.


First, the canal on the pleasure boat marina is awesome, it says can hold up to 3000 boats and goes all the way to the Gulf of Morbihan  , and holds about 50 islands 24 of which inhabited. You have the tourist office and carrousel right by the canal as well as restaurants all around it on both sides.  


Walking past the wonderful Porte de Saint Vincent , a gate to old town along Rue Saint Vincent, a Saint from Valencia Spain who came here around 1400’s and his body rest in peace at the Cathedral of St Peter at Place Saint Pierre.  The street is full of shops even a Casino supermarket! This street takes you on the left to the Place du Poids Public and further into the Place des Lices, two lively architecturally nice squares in old town Vannes.  We do a lot of our shopping here, and the Saturday morning market is awesome. Just around the Place du Poids Public you have the rue de la Poissonnerie that leads you into the Halles aux Poissons or fish market.

Right in the corner of the two squares Poids Public and Lices you have the 17C Hôtel Francheville or Mynier recently completely renovated done in tufa style stone as the original. Up into the old town you have wonderful architecture, and the passing of the Cathedral St Peter as well as the fine arts museum La Cohue by place St Pierre and also a back entrance on lovely rue des Halles. This rue des Halles is wonderful plenty of stores and restos from buildings as far back as the 14C! By here you will find the archeological museum of Vannes house in the Chateau Gaillard and its magnificent tower at rue Noé.

You come into Place Valencia,name in honor of the before mention Saint born there, and also lived while in Vannes in the upper level of what is today the library La Procure.  There is a statue of the Saint in the wall. At the square are the famous statues of the two women right on the wall of the restaurant Villa Valencia. You can side step into the place Henri IV just before the place St Pierre where the Cathedral Saint Peter is located, here is wooden houses going back to the 14C and after, loaded with quaint stores and one great chocolatier de France ,Maison Georges Larnicol, Coming up to this latest square you have the rue Saint Salomon, another wonderful medieval street full of shops. Right next to the Cathedral there is rue des Chanoines with more wooden houses taking you to the ramparts of Vannes!

Ok so this was just an afternoon walk, there is a whole lot more here and we love it ; hoping you too will when visit my quant capital city of Vannes. Glad we came over to the Morbihan, we love it! You too if you take the time to come and into history, architecture, and good French/Breton foods.

The city of Vannes  on its heritage and history:

The Morbihan dept 56 tourist office on Vannes :

The Gulf of Morbihan tourist office on Vannes :

The Bretagne region tourist board on Vannes:

There you go folks, another dandy walking tour of my lovely capital city of Vannes. It goes without saying we will be back soon,,,,,,,,,,,,Hope it helps you come and enjoy this jewel of  the beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne as well as belle France as much as we do. And ,remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

December 23, 2021

Picturesque Cour Cheverny!

And we came back to this area after several years; this is the village of Cour Cheverny!  We have great memories of family visits, and I gather strenght to come back with the boys, my Dad and our dog Rex!

The town of Cour-Cheverny is located in the Loir-et-Cher department 41 of the Centre-Val de Loire region. The town is located about 10 km from Blois and about 15 km from the Château de Chambord. (see posts). Sitting about one km from the more famous Cheverny! (see posts)

Cour Cheverny hotel de ville dec21

A bit on the village rather than a town tell us that the first church was mentioned in 1145 under the dependence of the Abbey of Bourgmoyen. It was formerly under the diocese of Chartres, At the end of the Great War or WWI, a unit of the Signals Service of the United States Army, the “Signal Corps”, settled on the territory of the town and on that of the neighboring village of Cheverny. They publish an internal English-language journal called Toot-Sweet. Between January 29, 1939 and February 8, more than 3,100 Spanish refugees fleeing the collapse of the Spanish republic in front of Franco, arrived in Loir-et-Cher. Faced with insufficient reception facilities , 47 villages are called upon, including Cour-Cheverny. The Château de Cheverny, (see post) located in the neighboring town of Cheverny, became a popular tourist destination during the 20C, contributing to the tourist development of Cour-Cheverny.

Other things to see are the 6 castles of Château de Sérigny, Château la Sistière, Château Beaumont, Château Chantreuil, Château les Murblins and Château la Taurie. The 12C Saint-Aignan Church, remodeled in the 16-17C. The Cheverny forest, with a surface area of ​​2,502 ha, extends over 4 towns, Cheverny, Cour-Cheverny, Contres and Fontaines-en-Sologne.

We know from historians that this church dedicated to Saint-Aignan was built in the 11C or 12C at the latest ,The Church of Saint Aignan appears from 1145 among the possessions of the Abbey of Bourgmoyen de Blois. More exactly, it is about a priory – cure dependent on the canons regular of this abbey belonging to the order of Saint-Augustin ,mentioned in various papal Bulls, These various historical elements are thus likely to support the thesis according to which the Church Saint Aignan of Cour-Cheverny would have been part of a monastery. Unfortunately, we do not find any trace in our time of the existence of such a monastery even thus architecturally, the church having atypical architectural elements which suggest that it was originally a monastery church.

Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan front dec21
Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan altar dec21
The two portals from the 12C,and you see the transformations carried out in the 16-17C, which gave the church its present appearance, very different from the original one. Part of the primitive arches was widened, the central nave received rib vaults placed much lower , bearing the date of 1609, the last three bays of the aisle have been transformed and especially a bas-side was built in mirror ,which highlights the narrowness of the other two naves. Outside, the small onion bell tower was added in the 17C.

Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan nave left dec21

Cour Cheverny ch Saint Aignan nave back dec21

Oh did I tell you we stayed here! It was so good as only 850 meters from the Château de Cheverny and Tintin, the main reason we were here and see separate posts on them. We use the Hôtel Restaurant Saint Hubert (part of Logis de France chain we love it!) as a base and it was magical to say the least. Great facilities, wonderful friendly reception, talkative owner and just great food: we came back for a second sitting lol!!! We tried the Rosé and Red wine of the Domaine le Portail of Cheverny of course.The hotel resto webpage:

For the memories we had;menus going from roasted quail to steaks,with Cheverny Rosé wine and tiramisu agrumes etc; then for dinner we had roasted quail, quiche lorraine, steaks, choucroute royale, etc with Cheverny Red wine, ice cream of different flavors. Coffees.22 Euros menus. Sublime!!!

Cour Cheverny auberge st hubert entr dec21

Cour Cheverny auberge st hubert lobby chimney dec21

Cour Cheverny auberge st hubert dining room dec21

The Blois Chambord tourist office on Cour Cheverny

The town of Cour Cheverny on its history/heritage

There you go folks, a dandy ride into a wonderful Centre Val de Loire region we love it ,the valley of the kings of France! There is so much to see here along, you can spend a lifetime, me I am trying harder..Stay tune for more and for now enjoy Cour Cheverny!!!

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

December 20, 2021

Lanester, so near me!

I have just notice not written a post on this nice town near me. I have it mentioned in previous post , passing, but feel deserves a post of its own in my blog. I like to tell you a bit more on Lanester, so near me! Memories of old always nice to have in my blog!

Lanester is located in my beautiful Morbihan and lovely Bretagne, about 35 km from my house, It was created in 1909 by the dismemberment of that of Caudan, It is in Caudan, or rather Lann er Ster (moor of the river), on the left bank of the Scorff that the shipyards, too much to the narrow right bank, will install their infrastructure. The first building blocks were established in 1755-1757 but the site was not developed until the following century.

Lanester is accessible by the national road N165. The city is served by the buses of the regional network BreizhGo (line 15, line 16 and line 17 (Lorient – Baud – Pontivy) which my boys have taken) , Lanester ,also is served by the CTRL bus network with plenty of lines fast frequencies, It has no train station as it uses Lorient train station which is accessible via the buses of the Lorient region transport company (CTRL).

This is not a tourist town, just very close to me and we go often to shop and eat in our daily routine, the Bonhomme bridge, which spans the Blavet river; and the market day is on Tuesdays from 9h to 12h30 at the Place Jean Maurice.

We have visited this area for shopping and eating out, but sometimes we do our big grocery shopping here in unique Lanester,when coming from the Finistére on our way home, The huge shopping here and it is covered and open air shopping spot; the covered shopping is the CC Deux Rivières with plenty of stores all around it,on a huge shopping area. This has change ownership and has a new name as G La Galerie Géant . The Centre Commercial or shopping center name G la Galerie  with now 75 stores including 5 restaurants, and is the biggest mall in the Morbihan ! We like visiting the Nocibé parfumerie store as well as Yves Rocher, Micromania for the boys , and Armand Thiery for all.  webpage:


The main thing above was shopping for groceries in the huge Hyper Géant Casino supermarket for some sundries and had our lunch in the nice quaint unique restaurant outside next to the parking.  The hypermarket is the main anchor store of the shopping center and also has its own webpage:

The restos are plenty here, from Courtepaille to Burger King, and our fav favorite Oncle Scott (see post), However, we like lighthearted lunches at the à la bonne heure ,(it has been sold new name Ô Restaurant , same concept).  All in bare pine wood outside and nicely done Inside with shade colors , great host, friendly folks who said good afternoon, and great concept. We had several menus here over the years all good price/quality ratio and great spot for families. Indeed ,nice family place , friendly , cosy, looking forward to the new version, Webpage :


lanester A la bonne heure resto inside-feb17

The center opens in 1969 as Rallye by 2001 Géant Casino came in, In 2009 the name was change by Centre commercial Les Deux Rivières , and finally in 2016 took the current name G la Galerie.

The city of Lanester on its history/heritage :

There you go folks a bit of personal errands in my beautiful Morbihan. This is my blog and I like to have it with the full history of my life and family’ life in it. Lanester may not be touristic but it sure packs a lot of family memories since in the area with my dear late wife Martine.  To remember is to live again!! Hope you enjoy this side off the beaten path post

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

December 14, 2021

The wines of the Sud Ouest de France!!!

I have written several posts on my other love, wines ! As said, it is a tradition in my house and we drink with meals or apéritifs every day, It is good for you if don’t read the alarming brainwashing of governments. As a strong proponent of wine drinking as a cultural phenomenon, I like to dwell again into one of my favorite wine regions that I have left out for some reason unknown to me ! Here is my take on the Sud Ouest de France or the South West of France !!! Hope you enjoy it as I,

The Southwest is a region that nature and history have endowed with an incredible wealth of heritage. The discovery of the vineyards is thus inscribed, beyond the quality of the wines and the meetings with the winegrowers, in a larger framework: the monuments will tell you about the past which has shaped the culture of this region, the landscapes will invite you to contemplation, towns and villages will invite you to share a moment in the daily life of their inhabitants.

If the existence of the vine goes back to the dawn of time, the development of the vineyards was gradually established during the Roman conquest. But the Southwest is distinguished by two other historical factors. Located between two mountains, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, and between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the southwest is a particularly humid area favorable to wild vines. This unique geographical location has allowed the emergence of native vines and grape varieties such as Cabernet Franc, born in the Basque Pyrenees !  An obligatory crossing point between northern Europe and Spain, the Southwest will see the abbeys and monasteries flourish that welcome pilgrims. These religious communities developed the culture of the vine, while the Jacobean routes became an essential vector for the distribution of grape varieties, exporting indigenous grape varieties from the southwest, and importing other varieties. The Garonne, into which all the rivers of the southwest (Tarn, Gers, Lot, Ariège, Aveyron) flow, is historically the river route through which the wines are transported to the famous barges. Today, the originality of the grape varieties and wines of the Southwest is a real asset in the face of the double challenge of globalization and climate change.

The vineyard stretches from the reliefs of the Massif Central to the foothills of the Pyrenees, and from the banks of the Garonne to the beaches of the Basque Country. The Garonne, a torrent born in the Pyrenees, turns its back on the Mediterranean, then takes with it the waters of Ariège, Aveyron, Tarn, Lot to the Atlantic Ocean. Further south, the Adour and the Nive irrigate the Pyrenean foothills. This water network strongly influences the growth of the vines and seals the aromatic and taste characteristics of the wines. The Southwest basin covers the whole of the former Midi-Pyrénées region, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques and the south of the Landes. It is therefore based on two administrative regions, Occitanie and Nouvelle Aquitaine. Further west we discover the Bergerac and Duras vineyards. There are 300 varieties of grapes listed in the South-West, including 120 indigenous grape varieties. Among the most famous progenitors of the Southwest, prunelard gave, among others, Malbec. The prize goes to Cabernet Franc, native to the Pyrenees, which gave rise to Carménère, Chile’s emblematic grape, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which, with more than 250,000 ha planted, represent the second and third most widely used grape varieties in the world!

The vineyards of the South-West include 16 denominations in AOP and 11 in IGP, spread over 6 basins. There is also a regional IGP, Comté tolosan. The Protected Designation of Origin (AOP) is the European equivalent of the AOC, which results from French regulations. AOP / AOC wines are Madiran, Pacherenc du Bic Vilh, Saint Mont, Gaillac, Fronton, Cahors, Iroùleguy, Côtes du Marmandais, Saint Sardos, Brulhois, Coteaux du Quercy, Marcillac, Estaing, Entraygues le Fel, Côtes de Millau, and Tursan. In black highlight, my favorites fyi. My pictures of nice 12 bottles in the past in a pictorial for space savings , in vino veritas! or dans le vin, la vérité or in wine, the truth!!!

I give you a brief description on the Red grapes varieties in the South West or Sud Ouest, and the nuances of the name due to local dialects

The Négrette is part of the prunelard and the cot family, both native to the Southwest. Very versatile, the Négrette gives fruity and aromatic wines sometimes evoking scents of violets, sometimes more animal flavors with notes of leather. Main component of Fronton (the Toulouse wine!) wines, it makes it possible to develop fruity rosé and red wines to be enjoyed in their youth as well as wines intended for aging that are described as “high expression”.

The Duras grape has no connection with the town of the same name located in the Lot et Garonne, but takes its name from the hardness of its woods. Duras is certainly one of the oldest varieties cultivated in the Tarn and it is one of the flagships of Gaillac, where it gives an excellent colored red wine, with fine tannins and spicy and peppery aromas.

Tannat, native to the Adour basin, is the mainstay of Madiran (60% minimum of grape variety) and Saint-Mont (minimum 70% of grape variety).

Cot, often called Malbec outside of southwestern France ,where it also bears the name Auxerrois ,was the most cultivated grape in the region before phylloxera. producers of Cahors , where malbec represents at least 70% of the blend , Malbec is also cultivated in the Côtes-de-Brulhois.

Cabernet Franc originates from the Basque part of the Pyrenees. In Madiran, it is also called Bouchy (Bouchet in the Libournais); in the Basque Country, in Irouléguy, it is known as Aceria.

Fer Servadou stands out for its deep color and late-ripening berries whose blackcurrant aromas sometimes evoke those of Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a beautiful structure and is often used in blends in Madiran and Saint-Mont (under the name of Pinenc), in Gaillac (where it is called Braucol). It constitutes the almost unique grape variety of Marcillac. It is a major part of the red wines of Entraygues and Estaing in Aveyron. Originally from Lot-et-Garonne, it is emblematic of the Côtes-du-Marmandais. Early, it gives the blends a fruity note and a robust taste.

Now, I give you a brief description on the White grapes varieties in the South West or Sud Ouest, and the nuances of the name due to local dialects

Colombard is now mainly used in the production of Côtes de Gascogne and Armagnac. Due to the recognized quality of the wines it produces, this grape variety is developing worldwide.

Courbu blanc and Petit Courbu, These two varieties of Pyrenean origin, from the same but very distinct family, are part of the Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, Saint-Mont (20% minimum) and Jurançon appellations.

Gros manseng is native to the Pyrenean foothills, it is cultivated on approximately 3,000 ha in the south-west of France where it mainly produces dry Jurançon, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh and Tursan. It is also used in Saint-Mont and in Gascony where it gives dry white wines its aromas and freshness.

The Petit manseng is related to the Gros manseng, but has smaller berries with a thicker skin, Alone or assembled with the Gros manseng, the Arrufiac or the Courbu, the Petit manseng raises the Jurançon and the Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh to rank of the most distinctive sweet wines in the world.

Len de l’el is only grown in Gaillac. Its name derives from the remoteness of the first cluster from the twig that gave birth to it. It is also increasingly used for the production of sweet and syrupy wines thanks to its remarkable ability to concentrate on the strain.

Everything suggests that Mauzac has its origins in the Tarn valley. Its berries can develop a high concentration of sugar and are used for making dry wines, sweet wines and sparkling wines, mainly in Gaillac.

Ondenc is originally from the Tarn valley, it was present for a time in the Entre-deux-Mers vineyards. Today it is only present in Gaillac where it produces excellent but rare sweet wines.

The Arrufiac seems to have its roots along the Adour valley. it enters into the composition of Pacherenc and Saint-Mont Blanc. It is particularly appreciated for its refined and distinctive aromas,

Baroque , sometimes spelled Barroque, this local variety is the backbone of the white wines of the Tursan appellation.

Most of the above information was translated from the Vignobles de le sud ouest or vineyards of the southwest webpage:

The Hachette Wine Guide on the wines of the southwest :

The Occitanie region on its wines

The Nouvelle Aquitaine region on the Bergerac/Duras wine areas

There you go folks, a wonderful wine region of my belle France. The wine region and its many other attributes are dear to my family, and we have spent quite a bit of time in it from several years already even from before settling in France as family on wife’s father’s side is from here. Hope you enjoy the wines of the South West or Sud Ouest of France, they are superbe indeed, we love them!!!

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

December 14, 2021

Wines news of France XIII !!

And why not in this nicest period of the year to show off some of the best wines in the world! That is wines news of France in one of my newest series on one of my preferred hobbies. Let me tell you some news, some tastings and some technical stuff I like. Hope you enjoy it as I.

The Grenache is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in France. According to a 2017 report from the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), it covers 10% of the national vineyard and, with 81,000 hectares, it is located in terms of area just behind Ugni Blanc (82,000 ha, mainly cultivated for cognac) and merlot (112,000 ha). As popular as it is must-have. It is even more present in France than in Spain, its native country, where it covers 62,000 hectares, especially in the north. Very faithful to these two countries (which represent 87% of its world surface), it is found, sporadically, in other countries, the United States, Australia, Argentina or Morocco for example. It is the eighth most cultivated grape in the world for wine and spirits. While its drought-resistant plants adapt perfectly to rising temperatures, several diseases threaten the longevity of this grape. So on the endangered list of wine producing grapes ! Yet very delicious ,big areas in France to look for wines of this grape are Languedoc-Roussillon, PACA, and the Rhône valley.

And what about finding a good glass or bottle of Champagne in the train stations of France? Well they are there but minimum me think. Did I tell you had a French neighbor in Versailles when he invited me out for a drink, he always asked for Champagne in a bar and he found it. His favorite bar even had the bottles ready for him lol. Nice neighbor indeed!

Small and large, train stations are wonderful places, so they tell me…. We even have Éric Frechon, the head chef of Bristol who has established his quarters on the ground floor of Gare Saint-Lazare train station, and Christian Le Squer, that of George-V, whose team works wonders upstairs from the Rennes train station. The stations have remained the center of the world, haunting the storyboards of filmmakers and the notebooks of writers. We hear the corks of bottles of Duval-Leroy yearless brut popped out !!

At Gare Montparnasse train station, the bistro opposite remains a favorite place to drink champagne. By the glass, the waiters at the Petit Sommelier (ave du Maine) offered me the Brut Réserve cuvée from Maison Bérêche & fils, elegant, dense, very ripe, fruity and low in dosage. I was impressed by the Chartres train station , as in a world where everything changes, this long Art Deco building resembling a monastery, with its high central windows showing stained glass, seems to have to resist all modernization projects. I like the Chartres train station and Marcel Proust loved it before me, when he went with his family to Illiers, which became Combray through the effect of his powerful imagination.

To enjoy a glass of champagne, there is no need to stray into the bistros on Place Pierre-Semard, Chartres. You have to go up to the parvis of the cathedral square and sit on the terrace or slip inside the Bistrot Racines, a supernatural wine bar inaugurated in September 2021 by Bertrand and Nathalie Jallerat. At Bistrot Racines, I drank a glass of Pierre Pinard Tradition Brut, produced in Sézanne from pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier. Le Grand Monarque, place des Épars, where the sommelier Nicolas Duclos reserves for enlightened amateurs some marvels of champagnes from winegrowers: Pierre Gerbais L’Unique 100% pinot blanc 2014, Larmandier-Bernier Vieille Vigne du Levant Grand cru 2009 and, for the fond of rosés, the Grand Cru Extra-Brut Rosémotion from JL Vergnon. From Chartres to Reims, from one cathedral to another, it is 225 km. And more than 100 champagnes on the Grand Monarque menu. In this impressive list, I recognized the hand of Eric Beaumard, Breton of Fougères, one of the French stars of sommellerie, who lovingly watches over the 50,000 bottles of the George-V cellar in Paris His menu offers both safe values ​​and discoveries, with a single large house, the famous Blanc des Millénaires 2006 by Charles Heidsieck. To get from Reims train station to Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station, the traveler has no other way than to go back through Montparnasse. Sweet France, dear country of mine … Our rail network, built in a spider’s web with Paris as its center, illustrates in a caricatural way the centralization of the country. Yes indeed difficult to explain this but France is a centralized country after the kings/emperors were gone. And ,hey, now you know I do trains too Grand Voyageurs travelers SNCF to boot!! OF course, I still prefer the road warrior way lol!!

And now some tips from the pros, and me humble amateur but read my blog and you will know me better…As we are in the season to be merrier and gift giving is in vogue here are my pros and cons on gift giving wines!

5 tips for gifting the right wine: Choose a vintage echoing a year of birth. Choose the wine according to the dish. Play on emotion. Investigate target your friends’ tastes, their habits. The art of speech. Pick a wine you like, and tell them why, tell your experience at the estate, an anecdote, something they’ll remember when they open the bottle.

Gifting a wine: 5 mistakes to avoid: Do not trust the professionals… Buy without tasting. To be stingy. Choose an astonishing or very little known wine. Disregard their tastes.

The yearless non vintage Brut, or BSA for close friends, is the calling card of Champagne Houses. With a difficult objective: to succeed each year in being faithful to the style of the House, which its enthusiasts must be able to recognize regardless of the vagaries of the year serving as a “basis”. Some favorites are the Leclerc Briant Brut Réserve (Extra-brut); Chassenay d’Arce Cuvée Première Brut, and the Collet Brut Art Deco Premier Cru. There you go,find them and enjoy them, super!!

Remember my previous post? Well oysters is king or queen… The raw oysters go well with whites Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine, Pouilly-Fumé and Chablis. Grilled oysters goes well with Pessac-Léognan ,Graves, and Chablis. Bon appétit or in Vino Veritas!!

And this is what I love most France. The road warrior trip on the roads of my belle France and enjoying its wonderful culinary traditions and the best wines in the World! The Loire valley wines are on my podium. Here is some suggestions for the trip that can be done by bicycle too.

Following the banks of the Loire river to enter “gentle France”, this is the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is to take a road that leads from dungeons to castles, from gardens to royal abbeys, from wine-growing villages to historic villages. The route is punctuated by discoveries of a most complex wine over 800 km and 70,000 hectares of sparkling, still, dry, off-dry, mellow, tannic or more fruity. Will bring you to taste grape varieties with character like Cabernet Franc for the red, Bourgueil, Chinon, St Nicolas de Bourgueil and especially the star grape of the Loire Valley, Chenin, for the white, giving dry wines but also sweet wines sumptuous with Vouvray and Montlouis. Gamay in red, Sauvignon in white, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, so many grape varieties that are added to produce young and light wines but also more tannic wines for aging. . Between the Atlantic Ocean and Champtoceaux, you will visit Nantes, the medieval city of Clisson and above all you will taste the famous Muscadet! Between Champtoceaux and Saumur, you will enter the domain of Anjou, Saumur, Layon and Crémant de Loire wines. You will not fail to visit the Abbey of Fontevraud, the troglodyte sites, Angers, Saumur and their castles. Between Saumur and Chenonceau, the wine route of Touraine, country of Rabelais: the wines of Chinon and Bourgueil will seduce you. You will accompany their tasting with visits to the châteaux of Chinon, Amboise, Chenonceaux, Azay le Rideau and tufa cellars. Between Chenonceau and St Aignan, you will go to Sologne via the Cher valley to visit Cheverny, Chambord, Valençay while continuing to savor the wine of Touraine. Love it, will go next week God willing to Cheverny, Valençay, and Loches!!!

French winemakers will likely see the country’s 2021 harvest go down as the smallest for several decades, the country’s ministry of agriculture said this month. With forecast production of 33.3 million hectolitres, one would have to go back to 1977 to find a vintage of comparable size, said the ministry’s statistics service, Agreste. Even in ’77, the overall crop was larger than the projected 2021 harvest, because France’s vineyard area was bigger in the 1970s. Yes stay with the 2020 and 2018 me think.

From Bordeaux to Champagne, there is barely a region untouched by difficult weather conditions to varying degrees. Severe spring frost and early summer mildew attacks have been the main culprits, but not exclusively. Talking about the 2021 harvest. At Mas de Daumas Gassac in the Hérault area of Languedoc. They claimed that will lose about 50% of the white due to the frost, and about 30% of the rosé! In Champagne, the overall harvest could be the smallest for 40 years, Agreste said. In Chablis, the Drouhin winemaking family said, ‘The harvest in Chablis is low to very low because of the frost. Where frost protection has been successful, the harvest is fine, but the protected areas are small.

Elsewhere in Burgundy, a spokesperson for regional wine body, the BIVB, said ‘The situation is too complex with damages everywhere but heterogeneous: some plots have been preserved ,while, their neighbours have been hit. Sometimes it is from one row of vines to the other that you can see differences. In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc has been particularly hard-hit, according to France’s agriculture ministry. . Jura, for example, could see a harvest around 80% smaller than usual, according to Agreste estimates. Alsace was not so badly affected by frost, and overall yields there for appellation wines might be 17% down on the five-year average. Provence’s wine body, the CIVP, said in August that it believed around 30 wine estates had suffered at least some damage from fierce wildfires in the Var area. The full picture was unclear, however, and the body thanked emergency services for all their efforts to contain the fires. Provence’s total vineyard area stretches across 200 km and the CIVP also said in August that harvest size was still hard to estimate. It will not be good take read here first.

In the first half of 2021, France exported 7.3 million hectolitres of wine worth 5.2 billion euros. This equates to increases of 15% by volume and 40% by value compared with the first six months of 2020 during lockdown, but more importantly to growth of 15% by volume and 9% by value compared with the first half of 2019. Not only are exports of French wines outstripping those during the first wave of Covid-19, they are also returning to growth rates in excess of their pre-Covid performance. I guess folks stay home they drink more lol!!! Among the top 10 export destinations for French wines, however, some markets are casting a shadow over the overall picture. A case in point is the drop in volumes shipped to Great Britain (of course brexit-johnson deal) at the beginning of 2021 compared to 2020 (-13%). Although China imported more French wine in the first half of 2021 than in 2020 (+47% in volume and +86% in value), it has not reverted to 2019 levels (-20% in volume and +6% in value). The above according to export arm of the French government, Business France.

There you go folks, another dandy episode on the wine history of ….Stay tune it can only gets better and I thank you for your support. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

December 13, 2021

The oysters of Pénerf of Damgan!!

Oh well, we love the seafood, we know some cannot take it, so sad. We enjoy it very much near the coast in our beautiful Morbihan, the very best of France me think. I have written on the town of Damgan, but not much on its oysters of Pénerf which is part of the town. So therefore, let me tell you more of this delicacy in the oysters of Pénerf of Damgan!! Hope you enjoy as I.

 Pénerf is a village belonging to the town of Damgan, located in the beautiful Morbihan and the lovely region of Bretagne. It is in a peninsula located between the Rhuys peninsula (see post) and the Vilaine estuary. To the west, the Pénerf river marks the limit of the town, the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Pénerf is, also, part of the Regional Natural Park of the Gulf of Morbihan.

From the 15C to the 18C, the port of Pénerf became an important port in Bretagne/Brittany. The 16C was also the golden age for Pénerf, which was then the fourth Breton port. Its boats went to Bordeaux to Rouen, from Cadiz to Norway,etc.  The particular geology of the river or ria of Pénerf allows the establishment of a first oyster park in 1858. The oyster of Pénerf is one of the six crus of southern Brittany with the “Aven Belon”, the “Ria d’Etel”, “Quiberon”, “Gulf of Morbihan” and “Croisicaise”. Sublime!! (see posts).


There is the Maison de l’Huître or oyster house ,that provides information on the cultivation, and tastings as well as purchases, and a guided visit! Oyster farming, as a breeding activity, was born in the middle of the 19C, because it was necessary to preserve and even restore the natural banks of Belons, those flat oysters of which the south of Morbihan was the cradle. The oyster farms were then established near these natural beds of flat oysters. The first concessions are attested in 1858 in the Pénerf river and in 1863 in the Gulf of Morbihan. But in the 1970s, the virtual disappearance of the flat oyster led oyster farmers on the peninsula to breed cupped oysters, the Cassostréa Gigas also known as “Japanese oysters”. The flat or plate oyester is making a comeback today, thanks to the incomparable delicacy of its taste, and diehard oyster farmers. The Gulf and Rivière de Pénerf now produce more than 4,000 tons of oysters per year from more than 500 hectares of oyster concessions!


Pénerf oysters develop iodized aromas. They have a brown colored shell and a very white mother-of-pearl. In recent years, oyster farmers, restaurateurs and towns on the peninsula and the Penerf river have joined forces to organize a range of activities related to the discovery of oysters and oyster farming. On the program, farm visits and of course … tastings! Visits are provided from June 15 to September 15 by a professional guide, the oyster farmer, in most cases, also present. They take you to construction sites and / or parks. It is recommended to bring boots !. For those who would prefer a solo discovery, the peninsula offers different routes just follow the arrows “route de l’huître” or oyster route, which lead to the heart of the oyster farming sectors.


The traditional sea festival that animates the port of Pénerf, each year in August 2020, could not take place, due to current sanitary constraints, a must-see festivities at the port of Pénerf. In 2021, was held a reduce festival. Relaxation and discovery throughout the weekend with the arrival of old rigs in the port, a ceremony of tribute to the missing sailors, entertainment for children and adults, concerts, traditional dancers, sailors’ songs , exhibitions and demonstrations of bobbin lace, the meeting with regional writers, the presence of numerous associations … Not to mention the remarkable fireworks shot from the Pénerf river. Free.


Ah yes some of the recommended producers in the Pénerf peninsula, which I heard are good except the jardins d’hûitres which we have purchase which is excellent. Here are their contacts.

La Cotriade : Ets Philippe Clénet

Ets Dufrêche

Jardins d’huîtres : Ets Eric LENORMAND :

Some additional webpages on the idea of oysters in Pénerf and the Gulf of Morbihan:

The city of Damgan on its oyster merchants and the oyster

The Damgan-La Roche Bernard tourist office on oysters of the Morbihan

There you go folks another dandy by the coast in my beautiful Morbihan, tops really you should take a look. And the oysters are excellent, we have enjoyed over the years in pretty quant Pénerf in the limits of Damgan! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

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