Posts tagged ‘France’

October 28, 2020

Fort La Latte!!!

And to finish my road warrior tour of the Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my beautiful Bretagne I take you to a wonderful castle fort. This believe or not is my first time here as we have so much to see and I am catching up! The road D34 is a wonderful trip to take and you can see my post on it before.

For now let me tell you a bit on the Fort La Latte at Plévenon!

The Fort La Latte, or Château de la Roche Goyon, is a fortified castle located on the pointe de la Latte, near Cap Fréhel in the Côtes-d’Armor department 22 in the town of Plévenon in the bay of Saint-Malo. The castle was built in the 14C by the lord of Matignon, Étienne III Goüyon.

fort latte arriving oct20

Construction of the castle began in the 1340’s, its keep dates from 1365-1370. In 1379, following the return from exile of the Duke of Brittany Jean IV, the castle was besieged by Bertrand Du Guesclin. The castle was attacked and taken a second time in 1597 during the Wars of Religion, this attack by the Catholic League against the occupants loyal to Henry IV marked a time of abandonment of the castle which was partially burnt down. It was not until the 18C, under king Louis XIV, that the castle regained its strategic interest and was bastioned. From 1892 it was sold to various private owners before being bought by a passionate Frédéric Joüon Des Longrais in 1931 who undertook extensive restoration work. Electricity did not arrive at the castle until 2001. Albert II prince of Monaco pays a private visit to the castle, July 5, 2012 in the footsteps of his ancestors the Goyon Matignon.

fort latte entr trail oct20

The Fort La Latte has two towers, one opening onto the barbican, the other onto the courtyard of the castle; each has its own drawbridge. In the courtyard, there is a water cistern, a chapel, the various defensive means in particular the locations of the gun batteries, and of course the keep. On the way leading to the castle, one can observe a small standing menhir which according to legend would be Gargantua’s “tooth” or “finger”. In front of this first tower, there is also a ram and a pillory. The barbican is decorated with a small medieval garden. A tinker, a kind of catapult, as well as a panorama of the bay of St Malo are also present.   The courtyard is home to many amenities, such as the cistern, the chapel built under king Louis XIV, the governor’s home and the keep. Completely backfilled in the 17C to use cannons, the original medieval soil is up to eight meters deep below the current soil. The water tank cistern has a capacity of 20,000 Liters, was to be able to serve the entire garrison. There were eight guns under king Louis XIV. The larger ones had a shaft eight meters long. Fort La Latte also has a ball oven which used to heat the cannon balls red. The keep is equipped with machicolations and several types of loopholes: crossbow-shaped crossbows for crossbow shooting and very elongated single-slit archers for archery. Holes for shooting arquebus or smaller holes located on each side of the loopholes and bombard or larger holes. A line of bombardment is visible at the level of these loopholes and corresponds to the capture of the castle in the 16C which was accompanied by a cannonade of the keep.

fort latte entrance oct20

fort latte tower oct20

The tourist office of Dinan Cap Fréhel has more on the Fort La Latte in English: https://www.dinan-capfrehel.com/en/our-destination/not-to-be-missed-any-circumstances/fort-latte-impressive-fortress/

The tourist office of Brittany on Cap Fréhel and Fort La Latte in English: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/cap-frehel-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-bay/cap-frehel-and-fort-la-latte/

Official Fort La Latte webpage in French: https://www.lefortlalatte.com/

Hope you enjoy this marvel of architecture and history at Fort La Latte in Plévenon, Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my lovely Bretagne. Another spot on my map and worth the detour indeed. We will be back for more.

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

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October 27, 2020

Cap Fréhel and its lighthouse!

Another wonderful monument to see riding along the D34 in Côtes d’Armor dept 22 of my beautiful Bretagne. This is at Cap Fréhel or some would say Plévenon. A wonderful cape at the end of the lands of Brittany facing the English anglo normand islands.

The town of Fréhel is known that started when text tells us that an abbey existed on the mound where the New Bourg was built in 1870. Under the name of Glayo abbey, it was cited in 1159 as a dependent of the Saint-Aubin des Bois abbey by cession of the Saint-Jacut abbey

In the town the main place and wonderful place to be is the seaside resort of Sables-d’Or-les-Pins ( see post)  created in the 1920s on the dunes along the great Minieu bay between Pléhérel Plage and Plurien. On August 14, 1944, a task force of the 28th American Infantry Division was tasked with attacking the nazis forces occupying Cap Fréhel. They arrived in Plévenon in the evening. The next day, August 15, with the help of FFI resistance fighters, it attacked the Frosh aerial reconnaissance station. The nazis surrendered around noon.

The Cap Fréhel or cape is a point of pink sandstone with a tormented relief that separates the bay of Saint-Brieuc to the east from the Bay of Saint-Malo, on the Channel coast. It is located in the town of Plévenon and not on the adjacent one of Fréhel, as the name of the latter might suggest. This cape is one of the most impressive in Brittany: the cliff dominates the sea from around 70 meters. The spectacular red cliffs show red sandstone dipping shallowly to the west and which is sometimes cut by large veins of diorite which rise almost vertically. Located 8.5 km from the center of Fréhel and 4 km from the center of Plévenon, access is via a coastal road D34, either from the east, passing near Fort La Latte ( see post), or from Sables- d’Or-les-Pins, (see post) to the west On a clear day you can see the Channel Island of Jersey. The wonderful beaches here are several such as the cove of Sévignés (at the foot of the cliffs of the cape), the Fosse (accessible by going down the dunes), or even the Grèves d’en Bas a recognized surf spot.

The old lighthouse or Vauban tower, in granite, was built under Louis XIV in 1701 by one of Vauban’s disciples, Jean-Siméon Garangeau. A more modern and taller lighthouse was built between 1845 and 1847, in place of the current one. It was electrified in 1886. Nazis troops destroyed it in August 1944. The current lighthouse, rebuilt in 1946, was inaugurated in 1950; with 32 meters high, its lantern dominates the sea from 103 meters. On a clear day, its light is visible more than 100 kilometers away.

frehel

In May 1694, Vauban inspected the northern coasts of Brittany and proposed the construction of a tower to warn of attacks by the English fleet. Around 1840, Léonce Reynaud, in front of the state of the building, plans to build a new octagonal tower 22 meters high that can support a Fresnel lens. Range of fire increases to 25 miles.

frehel phare old oct20

During WWII, the lighthouse served as an observation post for the Nazis army which dynamited the lighthouse on August 11, 1944. Only the old Vauban tower remained standing and supported a temporary fire until 1950. Begun in 1946, the construction of the current lighthouse is completed by the lighting of the fire on July 1, 1950. The electrification by the network is done simultaneously.

frehel

A small building is also built at the end of the cape, it is the mist siren.

frehel

The town of Plévenon in French: http://www.plevenon.fr/

The dept 22 Côtes d’Armor on the Cap Fréhel area: https://www.visitcotesdarmor.com/Explore/Iconic-sites/Cape-Frehel-Cape-of-Erquy

The tourist office of Bretagne on cap Fréhel and Fort de Latte: https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/cap-frehel-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-bay/cap-frehel-and-fort-la-latte/

The DIRM Ministry of the Seas, on lighthouses such as this Cap Fréhel in French: http://www.dirm.nord-atlantique-manche-ouest.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/phare-du-cap-frehel-a131.html

The lighthouses of France on Cap Fréhel in French: http://www.pharesdefrance.fr/index.php/les-phares-a-voir/bretagne-pays-de-la-loire/phare-de-cap-frehel

And there you go a wonderful spot on my Bretagne and a beautiful lighthouse or phare! A nice place to visit me think, and beautiful views over the cliffs! Hope you enjoy the the tour.

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

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October 27, 2020

Glorious ride on the Côtes d’Armor, the D34!

Ok so we were in our best road warrior mode as was able to drive out and visit other areas. Sometimes we held back as even if can go many places are closed or in limited schedules in my belle France. Not the case in the dept 22 of the Côtes d’Armor in my beautiful Bretagne.

We set out from home but stop for lunch in Pontivy (see post) and from there continue to Cap Fréhel and surroundings! Beautiful area that had just bypassed rather quickly in the past. The lovely trip took us to the department road D34 along the ocean wonderful ride free soul, glorious road warrior trip, the best.

frehel cliffs behind phare oct20

OF course, we stop, saw smell and took pictures that had not done before. However, the best was the car ride, the very best to go where others can’t fast and comfortable and again the D34 is gorgeous my pictures do not give full credit to it.

Let me share what the official tourist sites shows and my own points here on the scenic D34 department road.

frehel cliffs to phare oct20

From Fort-la-Latte,(see next post)  it is possible to reach the tip of the cape via the hiking trail along the Anse des Sévignés. Fantastic beach at low tide with difficult to access. This can be seen from the D34 department road. But before arriving at Fort-la-Latte, you will have bypassed the Baie de la Fresnaye, it borders the east coast of the cape, after Saint-Cast-le-Guildo. You can drive along its left bank, the small road will join the main route to the cape a little further. Before entering this road on the bank along the cape, you can turn left towards the small river of Frémur and its beautiful Chapel of Saint-Sébastien, Gothic, dating from 1536. The Château de Varouault, nearby, is worth the glance in passing. By road or by the sentier des douaniers path along the coast for about 5 km, you will arrive at one of the ends of the Emerald Coast. Cap Fréhel via the D34, here nature reigns supreme. No human construction. We are along , we breathe pure air. The pink of the cliffs is supported by the pink of lavender. The end of the cape being covered with a thick moor, the whole forming a very typical Breton landscape and conducive to legends! Cap Fréhel offers one of the most magnificent natural landscapes of the Côtes d’Armor ; that of a tongue of land tanned by the winds and covered with a low moor, which seems as if suspended seventy meters above the mountains. With its large pink cliffs, Cap Fréhel forms an essential natural and historical ensemble during a visit to northern Brittany.

In good weather, the eye looks from this promontory to the Channel Islands. Bird sanctuary, Cap Fréhel is a delight for lovers of iodized walks thanks to the path that goes around it. There are two lighthouses at the end of Cap Fréhel. Vauban at the end of the 18C, and the new one in 1950 built the old fortified lighthouse. Its lamp spins 103 meters above the sea, and is visible 110 km away. Great view from the top of the lighthouse, especially on a clear day. Many painters have let themselves be won over by these bewitching landscapes, both by the sunsets and the morning mists. The cape ,and its islands is an important ornithological reserve, and from the hiking trails, you can even see penguins (rare in France). West of Cap Fréhel, towards Saint-Brieuc (see post) by the D34, the Emerald Coast road with its capes, beaches, sensational coves, and hiking trails, is incredibly beautiful, especially in the summer after 16h, when the colors turn orange-red. The plage du Croc beach in Pleherel and its beautiful dunes is very beautiful. The church of the Old Town, next door, is worth a stop. Pass the Sables d’Or les Pins beach, or Grande Plage, the site was already inhabited in the 2C, since the remains of Gallo-Roman thermal baths can be visited there. Very beautiful seaside resort with its large beach, this village was built for tourism between 1922 and 1924. Large villas in Anglo-Norman style, and others more art-deco line the coast. The city grew very quickly during the Roaring Twenties and its growth stopped dead at the time of the 1929 crisis, which explains the feeling of unfinished business in Sables-d’Or. The magnificent Saint-Michel islet and its 1881 chapel are accessible at low tide.

frehel beach to cap oct20

Find the D786 then the D34 towards Erquy this port is the first for scallop and prairie fishing. Erquy offers the architectural charms of its many pink sandstone houses. Jointly, the Erquy and Fréhel capes have joined the network of major sites in France. Erquy offers some very beautiful walks, and first and foremost at Cap d’Erquy with colors a little similar to those of Cap Fréhel. One can also see on the cape the ruins of a fort, and a ball oven. Admire the Château de Bienassis, built in 1400 but was partly destroyed during the wars of the League. It was confiscated during the French revolution then transformed into a prison, then acquired by the family who still own it since 1876. Inhabited, the castle can nevertheless be visited. The castle’s pink granite mass is surprising. The interior was renovated in the 19C.

A trip by car that I recommend to all lovers of the free road! The D34 we will be back for more time and already one of our best pretty areas of my beautiful Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the ride and walks, and bike rides.

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

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October 27, 2020

Sables-d’Or-les-Pins at Fréhel!

So we went after Pontivy to Cap Fréhel and found this, Sables-d’Or-les-Pins , a wonderful beautiful place we should be back for more! We were amaze of the scenery and the beach Grande Plage or big beach there and the typical anglo normand architecture.

frehel Grande Plage by casino hills oct20

Sables-d’Or-les-Pins is a seaside resort located in the Côte de Penthièvre, in the towns of Fréhel and Plurien. It is mainly built on dunes leveled when the resort was created. , on a coastal spit at the mouth of the Islet river. It extends on a hill rising towards the plateau on which a golf course has been established. If the beach is so beautiful, you should know that it has formed an immense dune space, sculpted by the wind and the weather … As you walk along the beach, you will see that it continues in a surprising point of sand ! Locals will tell you that here it is nicknamed “the dune spit”.

Frehel grande plage sand beach oct20

Large family beach of fine sand of 3 km with a view of the Saint-Michel d’Erquy islet. At the end of the beach on the left, the Pointe de la Flèche Dunaire opens onto the small beach facing south towards the Sables d’Or les Pins marsh. This marsh fluctuates according to the tides. At low tide, a nice playground for children, sand as far as the eye can see. At high tide, children can splash around in the water. This beach is sheltered from the wind.

frehel Grande Plage by casino long oct20

At the end of the day, escape into the alleys surrounded by beautiful and old villas built in 1922. These Anglo-Norman houses were designed to attract English customers and to compete with the Deauville resort. Today you can still admire the architecture and splendor of these large buildings, which date back to the Belle Epoque period.

frehel architecture belles epoque stores oct20

frehel architecture anglo normande shops oct20

A tourism guide to Sables-d’Or-les-Pins: http://www.sablesdorlespins.com/visite-guidee.html

The tourist office of dept 22 Côtes d’Armor: https://www.visitcotesdarmor.com/Explore/Iconic-sites/Cape-Frehel-Cape-of-Erquy

The tourist office of Bretagne on Cap Fréhel, and al. https://www.brittanytourism.com/destinations/the-10-destinations/cap-frehel-saint-malo-mont-saint-michel-bay/cap-frehel-and-fort-la-latte/

The town of Fréhel is in the Côtes-d’Armor department 22 of the region of Bretagne. It is known that started when text tells us that an abbey existed on the mound where the New Bourg was built in 1870. Under the name of Glayo abbey, it was cited in 1159 as a dependent of the Saint-Aubin des Bois abbey by cession of the Saint-Jacut abbey

In the town the main place and wonderful place to be is the seaside resort of Sables-d’Or-les-Pins: created in the 1920s on the dunes along the great Minieu bay between Pléhérel Plage and Plurien. On August 14, 1944, a task force of the 28th American Infantry Division was tasked with attacking the nazis forces occupying Cap Fréhel. They arrived in Plévenon in the evening. The next day, August 15, with the help of FFI resistance fighters, it attacked the Frosh aerial reconnaissance station. The nazis surrendered around noon.

This is a wonderful beautiful area which you can tell we like a lot and will be back with more time. It always amaze me the beauty of my belle France and especially beautiful Bretagne and its coast. Hope you enjoy the tour.

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

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October 26, 2020

A Casino and a Chapel at Fréhel!

So how about my post title unique yes, how about mixing in one post a casino and a chapel! Both are within meters of each other facing the ocean at Fréhel especially at Sables-d’Or-les-Pins resort! I need to tell you about these two.

This one was nice looking after we saw the casino but will tell you first. 

The Chapelle Notre Dame des Sables started with a  temporary wooden chapel was built between the large and small arches, a wooden chapel was nevertheless built on the site of the current chapel on land bequeathed to the bishopric of St Brieuc and Tréguier by Mme Fourel, widow of ‘an architect and resident of Sables d’Or. July 29, 1956, the chapel was inaugurated.

frehel

Above the high altar, a very beautiful Madonna and Child, very evocative of maternal love. To the left of the choir, a fresco of Notre Dame des Sables ( Our Lady of the Sands) . At the back of the chapel, an unsigned painting of the martyr of Saint Sebastian represented in an unusual posture which does not lack originality.  The very luminous stained-glass windows They represent the different sacraments (baptism, order, Eucharist, extreme unction) as well as very symbolic reminders of the passion of Christ. The setting and its view of the sea at the end of the putting green, the sobriety of the chapel, everything contributes to serenity and meditation.

frehel

The webpage at Fréhel for the Chapelle Notre Dame des Sables in French: https://frehel.info/fr/rb/109553/la-chapelle-de-sables-dor-les-pins

The Kasino of Fréhel or actually at Sables d’Or Les Pins resort. It has Black Jack, slot machines, electronic blackjack, and electronic table games. The Restaurant open every day of the week including Saturdays. The bar is located in the center of the casino, come and discover this Italian place setting from 10h and until 03h or 04h on Saturday evening and the day before a public holidays.

frehel casino ent oct20

Official webpage of the Fréhel kasino: https://frehel.kasino.bzh/

frehel casino closeup oct20

You arrive here on the D786 and then towards the ocean on the D34 road. A wonderful entry to this beautiful area , we like it very much and will be back. Hope you enjoy this brief ride into beautiful Côtes d’Armor in my lovely Bretagne. There is more a lot more here.

This is a general webpage on tourism information about the Cap Fréhel , Erquy and Fréhel town in English: https://grandsite-capserquyfrehel.com/en/

Hope you enjoy the tour and do visit, recommended. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 26, 2020

Pontivy and L’Aiglon!

Well guest what I found out!lol! We went out enjoying that we are still able to go out anytime and went to the north of Brittany (more later). As we were going to arrive at a time when restaurants are closed here, I decided to eat lunch on the way. Most smaller towns the choices were limited so I entered Pontivy, a town that we have visited several times as less than an hour from us. Of course, in the Morbihan dept 56!

Once in city center I remember a restaurant by the castle of the Rohan and decided to have lunch there. This is the L’Aiglon restaurant. Looking back in my blog I had briefly mentioned in post of Nov 26 2017 best restos in Bretagne)!!! Oh oh my , well we were back! I told you the choices are too many here and you are bound to take time between one and the other. We were glad to be back!

pontivy l aiglon resto facing castle oct20

This beautiful restaurant will offer you creative traditional cuisine, homemade, fresh and gourmet with a menu that is revised every three months, according to the seasons. These are varied and original dishes that this Maître Restaurateur offers, in a very contemporary decor, with natural sources that are mentioned on a board as you enter ,so you know where the ingredients comes from!. L’Aiglon has been run by the Morvant family for more than 10 years.

pontivy l aiglon resto side arriving oct20

We, of course, had no reservation but the seating was fast on a high table for 5 as took my Dad as well. He usually likes beef but in his condition I gave him fish and he ated well! The setting of course is contemporary with impeccable cleanniness and nice friendly attention by servers. Even the chef owner comes around to ask you on the meal. Very traditional indeed!

And we started with an old familiar a bottle of red côt or malbec red wine from Poiron-Dabin of Château Thebaud! Funny we have visited the winery and are a frequent buyer of these wines, we have them at home too! Of course very good quality/price wines. Here is the wine from the source: http://www.poiron-dabin.com/fr/product/cot-malbec-2014/

pontivy l aiglon resto dining room oct20

We follow with the entrée which was a frosty egg soup type, very innovative light and good! the main dish was roast codfish with white butter and risotto rice, very nice. And the finish was the dessert fig pudding in red wine flambée! delicious. I finish with a coffee expresso, my sons skip the dessert and had the café gourmand coffee expresso and small desserts. All for about 27€ per person, nice and easy.

pontivy l aiglon resto cave a vins oct20

The official webpage of the L’Aiglon Pontivy: http://www.laiglon-pontivy.com/

pontivy l aiglon resto facing the castle oct20

We spent quite a bit of time here and had a look at the castle of the Rohan across the street! We continue our route towards the coasts of the Côtes d’Armor of my Bretagne. Hope you enjoy the resto trip and story.

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

October 26, 2020

Getting to/from Versailles!

I have done a post on this subject when I started my blog long ago. I feel it needs update so here it is folks. Hope you enjoy it

How to come to Versailles? A question many times asked and usually connected with Paris. First, an explanation on geography as I lived in Versailles and worked in Paris. We are a separate city, in a separate geographical area totally independant of Paris. We are the Capital of the state,province or as we call it , Department 78 call Yvelines in the west part of Paris. We are the de facto capital of France for any constitutional changes to the French Constitution when the government moves over to the city.

The most direct way to come to us is by car, renting one at CDG airport is the most usual route or Orly can be done too. As you know done all but still a road warrior soul. There are many route planner sites and now even GPS navigation, just sometimes does not provide the uptimum route. I found out. . Here are my routes as follows

From CDG Roissy en France ( department 95, or Val d’Oise northeast of Paris) ; You go out of airport on the N104 or Francilienne road, the signs along the route tells you that you are on the Francilienne or A104, direction Cergy-Pontoise , the entire western section got new additions and number changes (like A115) but the road remains the same, it later changes to the N104 before coming to the N184 by the intersection with the A15 (that can take you into Paris or towards Rouen in Normandy),you stay straight on the road and it brings you to the N13 road to Le Port Marly and continue on the N186 Route de Versailles onwards to Versailles going under the A13 autoroute de Normandie  by Les Chesnay-Roquencourt it becomes the D186 or Route de Saint Germain , then , boulevard Saint Antoine , at the traffic circle with the twins towers or monument to the fallen at place de la Loi turn right into boulevard du Roi , becoming Rue des Réservoirs, and you will see passing the Montansier theater (right hand side) and then the palace of Versailles! Yes the numbers change, the streets change but it is really a straight line direction Versailles!

From Orly airport in city of Orly, department 94 or Val de Marne south of Paris, you take from either terminal Ouest /West or Sud/South the road A106 direction Paris, signs N7 and take the exit to the A86 exchange direction Sceaux/Antony/Versailles that is get on the right lane and turn around towards the left or west into the A86. Follow this road to the N12 and at exit 2 /N186 Rue du Pont Colbert same into the Rue des Etats Généraux , then left on Rue de Limoges , then right on ave de Sceaux, then right on ave Général de Gaulle and left on Avenue de Paris to palace of Versailles. Again easy, the key here is to take the exit 2 above!

From Paris most folks don’t do it, so won’t go into that, but its very easy indeed as the avenue de Versailles in Paris takes you straight by the Porte Saint Cloud  to the avenue de Paris in Versailles following the old royal route on the D910/D10 now that leads to the palace of Versailles. Royale lol!

The city has plenty of parkings all over, my most useful are these: parking ave de Sceaux ,this is just after the rive gauche-château RER C train station on ave Général Charles de Gaulle, intersection with rue Royale turn left and first ramp up to the parking. Metered machines are spread out for your ticket. . Parking avenue de Saint Cloud, very easy at the avenue and corner with ave de l’Europe away from the chateau will be your right hand side, you see the flower market on your right too. Parking place du Marché Notre Dame, at the market right off rue du marechal Foch, a bit tight but very nice and elevators bring up right in the middle of the market ! Parking place Saint Louis, this one is by the Cathedral Saint Louis, the big P and Cathedrale will guide you to it. Its right off place Saint Louis. You have a smaller parking right on Parking ave de l’Europe open air but very convenient to castle and market too.  Once on avenue de l’Europe to to avenue de Paris turn sharp right into the entrance.

Some info in English from the city of Versailleshttps://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/se-deplacer/parkings/

You can park on the street , but they have meters  unless park far off the main tourist spots. I used them if moving around town because we walk here but normally for long periods and visiting I will recommend the parking garages.

Then, for the public transports inclined there are many ways too. There are by way of RER/Metro/Bus, this is RER B from CDG airport to Gare de l’Est train station in Paris, here take metro line 4 direction porte d’Orléans but stop at Strasbourg-Saint Denis to connect with metro line 9 direction Pont de Sévres and get off here. Then take bus No 171 right to the front of Chateau de Versailles on ave de Paris! One more from CDG airport is to take RER B to St Michel-Notre Dame train station in Paris, and there change to RER C to train station rive gauche-château in Versailles , which is the closest to Chateau de Versailles! While walking around Paris there are other connections on the RER C to Versailles.

You can,also, take the Le Bus Direct (old Cars Air France) on line 4 to Montparnasse train station, there take the regular train to  Chantiers train station in Versailles, the farthest from Chateau at more than one km easy for us but maybe too far for you. At Chantiers especially in high season you can take the Phebus network TRI buses to the domaine de Versailles (castle , trianons, hameau etc).

Yet another one is to take the Roissybus bus service to behind Opéra Garnier and there take at the Opera metro station connection with metro line 3 to gare Saint Lazare to take regular train to gare/station rive droite in Versailles, then connect with the Phebus network TRI buses to the Domaine as above.

From Orly airport, take the Le Bus Direct bus line 1 or 4 to Montparnasse, then regular train to Chantiers train station in Versailles. You can ,also ,take the navette bus from Orly airport to the gare de Rungis, from here RER C to gare d’Austerlitz, and again the RER C direction Versailles rive gauche-château RER station.

There are several private lines taken this route today I will just list one naturally call Versailles Express webpage: https://www.versaillesexpress.com/en

And even from low cost Beauvais-Tillé airport you can do by taking a taxi to the  gare or train station at Beauvais (11 – 15€ update prices please) ,then take the train to the  gare du Nord in Paris. There take the RER B to stop St Michel-Notre Dame, and follow that with the RER C to Versailles rive gauche-château RER station. Walking distance to the palace of Versailles.

If you are a curious visitor and like a bit of adventure into off the beaten paths places go to bus depot at avenue de l’Europe at the corner of ave de Saint Cloud. You get here walking from the palace to your left and take the ave de Saint Cloud stay on the right hand side to just before reaching avenue de l’Europe, there is the bus stop No 19  every 30 minutes or so take it stop Arboretum/Parly II , get off walk back down towards Versailles about 300 meters you will see the porte de Saint Antoine, on your right hand side. Walking in is free on the gardens and the Hameau de Marie-Antoniette is on your right as you enter, then the Trianons one after the other.Sublime!! My jogging and walking favorite spot in Versailles and there is a branch of Angelina cafe next to the Petit Trianon!

The RER C can be taken at several locations in Paris to go to Versailles in addition to St Michel-Notre Dame, there are gare d’Austerlitz, Auber, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Champ de Mars/tour Eiffel, Pont de l’Alma, Javel,Porte Maillot, Ave Foch, Ave Henri Martin, etc etc. Best to grab a metro/RER map right off the airport by the RER B train station in the airport.

And of course, the city has a lot more than the Château. As I told several times before, Versailles has a lot more indeed. Just walk into the districts of Notre Dame (left side facing out the chateau,and my old home) or Saint Louis (right side facing out the chateau) or go up ave de Paris into the district of Montreuil and see the mansions of the court (they want it some privacy away from the bustle of the castle so build away) here is Madame Elizabeth  (sister of louis XVI who ended in the same faith as his brother) and Madame de Provence (the sister in law who made thru the revolution) and others. See my posts on them in my blog.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and you must visit Versailles are:

The site for the ile de France region regular train service, Transilienhttps://www.transilien.com/en

The Paris and surroundings transport by RER train, bus,tram RATPhttps://www.ratp.fr/en/

The unique bus No 171 at pont de Sévres to Versailles is here: https://www.ratp.fr/plans-lignes/busratp/171

The  TRI bus service from Phebus network in Versailles. It connects arrival at all 3 Versailles gares or train station to the Château and Trianons. All local bus lines are here. However, bear in mind seasonal line in Summers, check if it will be still running next Summer when info available here: https://www.phebus.tm.fr/se-deplacer/toutes-les-fiches-horaires/horaires/main/Search/

There you go a nice way to come into my beloved Versailles, hope it helps your planning for the future. I have updated info and webpages here. I have other posts with pictures but this is just for information only. Versailles is a must visit in France!

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

October 25, 2020

Florida,the Sunshine State!!

I am changing? do not know, but have some lately posts without photos. Well, you need to search because they are here in other posts. I am just updating very old posts that I feel the text is good to refresh , update for the history of my blog and me! Hope you enjoy them as I do!

A wonderful 18 years in the State of Florida, my biggest chunk of life! In one region/area.  Memories that will not go away easy. The State is sunshine, family, friendly, and happy; so many things to do it will take an entire blog history to tell. Florida is University studies, work life, marriage, fatherhood, joys and tears , the human struggle! I will hit the highlights of my favorites.

Starting with the Daytona Beach area, NASCAR ,the 500, the Pepsi 400 ,the moto 200, the 24 hrs of Daytona, and the Spring Break, the beach season from Memorial day but all year for our snowbirds from the North. You see the Daytona International Speedway, you are now waiting for the Daytona 500 ,in my time I used to sneak in to see the races for free (inside the car trunk!); those were the good old university days.  You have my University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University the best in the air, Eagles Soar. Go Eagles. That I visit as much as possible now far away. I was for a while until moving to Bretagne, the mentor for my alumni assoc in France, about 3 high schoolers from France who went there got the complete rundown from me. ERAU, the founding chairman of American Airlines (1934) , trained in civilian disguise the British pilots in four Florida airfields to be able to defend Great Britain in WWII; and lately about 50% of US pilots graduates with college degrees from there! Awesome experience!

I have my memories with the  Aquatic park (now call Daytona Lagoon) and an unlimited amount of water activities, not to mention the Angel & Phelps Chocolate factory and store tour, the Bulow plantation ruins, Sugar Mills Botanical Gardens, Ponce Inlet lighthouse, Jackie Robinson memorial park, the Casements (old Rockefeller house now museum), and Tomoka Indian Mound. The hotels are plenty in which either have stayed later visiting or had school or business conferences in them such as Treasure Island Hotel, Daytona Hilton, Daytona Inn, Acapulco Hotel, etc, Glorious eating establishements like Barnacles (now gone); Alfie Restaurant, Aunts Catfish, Oyster Pub, etc, and a wonderful Daytona Beach International Airport,for the ins and outs.

Out west along the SR 40 you reach Ocala, old home of Tarzan and Silver Spring park where the first movie was film with Johnny Weissmuller. Cousin lives there!

Up in historical Saint Augustine, you have the oldest city in the USA founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565! Here you have Lightner Museum, Ripley’s Believe or Not, Fountain of Youth ,where the great Pedro landed; Fort Matanzas , trolley tours, horse wagon tours, the oldest House in America, and the Bridge of Lions,old world setting. The Spanish Columbia restaurant ,like you were in Spain.  So many weekends spent in this town, I can walk it again blindfolded. See the beautiful Cathedral, with its Spanish mudejar construction.

Moving to the west along the I4 expressway, you reach the Orlando magical area, what can I say here, Disney, Universal, Medieval Times, International Drive, Lake Buena Vista drive, the Florida Gator Bowl, the lake at Eola, so much that is impossible to list all.  You have the more affordable area of Kissimmee just by the Disney entrance with many hotels, and restaurants  to choose from; my favorites were the Santa Fe Disney hotel, and the Caribbean Hotel too. The restos were the Hemingway at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel, Bongos Cafe (now closed), Rainforest Cafe, Wolfgang Puck, Red Lobster, etc. The best location for staying other than inside Disney property or Universal official hotels is to find a property by Lake Buena Vista.

A bit further in Kissimmee you have restos Applebee’s, Chili’s, Dennys’s Friendlys , the choices are endless here.  You have shopping at Florida Mall, Pointe Orlando, and The Mall at Millenia, and International Premium Outlets, in addition to those in the theme parks areas. The area is very well serve by the Orlando International Airport which have used. Cousin lives in Orlando now!

Moving further west still on the expressway I4 you will reach the Tampa area, more wonders, like Busch Gardens,the aquarium at St Petersburg (now closed) ,wonderful beaches like Fort De Soto National Park, Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island,St Pete Beach, and Ybor City in Tampa, Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, etc etc . You get nice hotels like the Grand Hyatt, Marriotts, Intercontinental,Embassy Suites, and Holiday Inn Busch Gardens locations.  The Tampa international airport never got to use it. I have several cousins living here!

At Ybor City you will find the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA ,est, 1905. Columbia our home away from home wherever they were in Florida.  Also Shells, and shopping at Channelside, Hyde Park Village, Westshore Plaza,and Ybor City own stores.

Going even further west , you have the wonderful Saint Petersburg greater area, the Sirata Beach Resort is marvelous to stay in, and restos like Sloppy Joe’s, and PJ’s Oyster Bar are great.

Coming down on the I75 you will reach the Cape Coral area, where I spent many times because my parents used to owned land there. However this area is best known for the Sun Splash Family Park, great rides in water and else Hotels the Holiday Inn Express at the entrance to the city is great, as well as the Casa Loma Motel (now management and new name OYO reviews are not good).  Shopping best is by the Coralwood Shopping Center or the outlet mall by the I75 road at Miromar Outlet. I have cousin living here now!

You will head down on the I-75 and east on the Alligator Alley to Miami area ,and the wild Miami Beach. You can see the Miami Seaquarium, Miami MetroZoo, Barnacle historical Park, ancient Spanish monastery (North Miami Beach), Vizcaya castle and gardens, Fairchild Tropical park, Everglades Alligator Farm, Island Queen Cruises, Miccosukee Indian Village,Wings over Miami museum (aviation museum) , etc.  there is more the above are just my favorites.

The beaches the nightlife is awesome , so much to tell, Lincoln Road is great down to South Beach at Miami Beach, then up north Bal Harbour is nice and trendy. Coconuts Grove is quaint and chic, as is Miracle Mile.  Shopping /resto is wonderful in the places above as well as  Bayside Marketplace and  Miami downtown or city center area offers plenty, by the port of Miami . Plenty of Restaurants, from La Carreta, Joe Allen’s (gone), TGIFridays, Puerto Sagua, Smith &  Wollensky, Joe’s Stone Crab,  Bongos Cuban Cafe (now Estefan Kitchen I am told),Versailles,News Cafe, so many good ones over the years,but I can narrow them down further see post. Shopping you have International Mall, Dolphin Mall, Aventura Mall, Dadeland Mall, Bayside Marketplace as my favorites

For transportation best is get in by Miami International Airport, so many times by here even if it has change quite a bit in the last few years. You can see a great basketball game of the  Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena in city center. I have aunt and cousins living here!

My last footprint here was moving a bit north to Miramar in Broward county, main city and near was Ft Lauderdale. In this area, you have for shopping the very best Sawgrass Mills, then Broward Mall (part of group Westfield now) , Pembroke Lakes Mall, and Galleria Mall as best known over the years. The Las Olas blvd area is fantastic,

You should pay a visit to the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Visit the Bass Pro Shops (Dania Beach) for fishing gear par excellence. More such as the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, Boomers (closed), Butterfly World (Coconut Creek), CB Smith Park, Seminole Indians Casino, Billie Swamp Safari, Flamingo Gardens, International Game Fish Association museum (Dania Beach), Jungle Queen Riverboat, and Anne Koln Nature Center as some of the best sights.  The sports enthusiast can watch a game of ice hockey at the Florida Panthers BB&T Center  in Sunrise.  Plenty of restos such as TGIFridays, Cheesecake Factory, China Grill (closed), le Bistro (Lighthouse Point), le Cafe de Paris (closed after 50 yrs!!) , Quarterdeck Bar and Grill with great munchies and beers always No hotels as this was my last home before leaving for France. Great times in the Ft lauderdale/Miramar area of Broward County. Ins and out on Ft Lauderdale airport!

But Florida goes deeper into the keys , wonderful heaven off the Caribbean and closer to old home! The Florida Keys, my fondness for Key Largo, Marathon (fam kept boats here), and Key West. Plenty of water sports, fishing, and good laidback eating. The best is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park the first underwater park. Everglades National State Park,and the Biscayne Park, all great nature lovers heavens.  Have a bite and great beer at Coconuts Restaurant (now closed), you could have rented fishing accessories and boat out of here too. Marathon is better for scuba diving, and has the keys Airport as well as the nicest beach at Sombrero Beach, a huge popular conservation program of turtles and dolphins, a city marina with 224 berth. For that leisure back Florida conch living and nice meal try the Porky’s Bayside BBQ, and still open!!!

And then we have Key West, the southernmost city in the USA, only 90 miles (145 kms ) from Cuba . Try the Dolphin encounter charters to chase and see them in the wild, get a seaplane adventure and head out for Tortugas isle even further from the mainland USA, at the Dry Tortugas National  Park, and see Fort Jefferson, get on the Trolley or Conch train for a ride thru the streets of Key West, and of course don’t leave without seeing Ernest Hemingway house and museum, Key West Aquarium, San Carlos Institute (a Cuban heritage center founded in 1871 by Cuban exiles who came to Key West to plan the campaign for Cuba’s independence),  the Mel Fisher Maritime museum, and Mallory Square  amongst the best.

For eating, we are regulars of Kelly Caribbean Bar & Grill, the old actress of TV and movie fame (Kelly McGillis) no longer owns it , and there is a new name as well First Flight , the site is the founding hangar of Pan Am airline. Then head for the El Meson de Pepe, and Sloppy’s Joes.

Hope you have enjoyed this overview of the great State of Florida with lots of memories for me. Some of the places are gone, others change names, and others still there. And of course, the faces do change and landscape. Do not know when our feet will cross again but the memories will stay for the rest of my life. Again, hope you enjoy this nostalgic post and do visit the Sunshine State!

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

October 25, 2020

My best restaurants in Florida!!!

To complement the shopping in Florida, will give out my best selection of restaurants in the areas that I lived, 18 years in Florida USA. The restaurants have usually  hours that start with lunch around 11am and continue straight to dinners open until about 23h. You have cafes, and restaurant that do the same thing, and then bars, the tipping is not included. Some restaurant come up to me already figuring the tip at 15%;18%;and 20% on the bill. The pay is low, so tipping is expected, but not obligatory. I tip if the service warranted it, and if I am a regular client I tip a bit more than just a casual passer-by. Again the choice is yours, but folks there are used to so they tip.

I am updating this post done first in 2011! and of course, things change indeed, my last time there was 2016. Some of my favorites were/are:

Columbia restaurant, the oldest Spanish restaurant in the USA. I have visited the properties in Saint Augustine and the original from 1907 in Tampa. 98 St. George Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084 . And , the original in the Ybor city area of Tampa at 2117 East 7th Avenue ,Tampa, FL 33605.. Fantastic Spanish cuisine with flamenco performers at nights in a quaint Spanish hacienda setting, very romantic and cozy. The best of Spain. webpage  https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/Menus-By-Location

TGIFriday’s chain of restaurant is fabolous for its spared ribs a la jack daniels, simply great and couple with great cocktails. The setting is Americana with lots of objects hanging out and frame to its wall of yesteryear. I have taste the ones in Ormond Beach (ocean shore blvd) , Sunrise (13350 w sunrise blvd) , Orlando( international drive) , Miami (s dixie and dolphin mall) , and Tampa (fowler ) the webpage is  https://locations.tgifridays.com/fl.html

Applebee’s, a chain where the the ambiance is more towards sports decorated walls, location been to Sunrise and Miami. I have gone for the trios and seafood platters with plenty of beers. webpage  as now part of a group Dine Brands Global that cannot be access from France! https://www.dinebrands.com/en

Quiznos, a great sandwich chain, with succulent big sizes and great prices ,wonderful for lunch and on the go eating. the taste is definitively great and fast service; to eat on site or take home.  Its a chain and even with international locations, my favorite location is near old home at Pembroke Pines, Miramar, and Sunrise; even if these branches are now closed. webpage  https://restaurants.quiznos.com/

Barnacles’ seafood at Ormond Beach, a great place with fresh product perfectly made all the time and right on the Atlantic Ocean. One of my all time favorite, and keep coming back when in the State. Fish and Chips, Schooner sampler or just a nicely made fish, great ambiance like a fisherman village.  This has closed here for the memories.

Julian’s, for the best steaks in the area, many times recognise by the leading ranking houses. You just come for those juicy steaks in a upscale ambiance of old New York. In Ormond Beach since 1967, now with new owners since 2005 but still all is good I am told.  Well eventually they closed for good, just for the memories.

Aunt’s Catfish, on the river intracoastal at Port Orange, just south of Daytona Beach, an institution in the area, you can have a better fish resto with southern hospitality. Try the blue crabs!!! webpage  http://www.auntcatfishontheriver.com/

The Oyster Pub, a tradition of mine since college days!, still going strong, the IN place to be in Daytona Beach. oysters of course and plenty of good beer and good cheers, with great sports TV screen , the place to be and to be seen. Families ok for lunch. webpage http://www.oysterpub.com/

Razzles, if you want to party late and have fun while a block from the Atlantic ocean in Daytona Beach came here, another area institution visited since my college days!. Great ambiance to please until late hours.  Dance, Drink, and be happy here. webpage http://www.razzlesnightclub.com/

Maison & Jardin is no longer a restaurant but it was French back in my days in the State, and now its an event planning place for all your business or weddings, etc needs, worth checking it out, you never know if you need a place like this and its sentimental neighborhood for me (same owners thus). At Altamonte Springs, alond I4 goings towards Disney and before reaching Orlando. webpage tells you more , http://www.maisonjardin.com/

La Crepe en Haut, Ormond Beach, the ultimate French restaurant in my old town, a place to practice my French while dreaming of visiting France again, you will be in France, French owners; unfortunately closed, here just for the memories.

Mr Wich deli, is without a web still but confirm still there!, tuck away in a tree laden place in Ormond Beach, the best place for lunch in the area, and the best pastrami south of 45 st NYC ! sandwiches are huge, try the combo with chips and drink. 21 N Nova Rd Ste A,  Ormond Beach, FL 32174; just go from I95 direction Ormond Beach on the SR40 or Granada Blvd, same road, when reaching Nova Rd turn left and the deli is right on your right hand side.

New York pizza, the ultimate NY pizza in my times done ably by wonderful Marie of NY. Still going strong after so many years for good cause. You wont eat a better pizza in the area. Now at new location than on my days but taste it good in 2009,637 N. Grandview avenue , Daytona Beach, FL 32118.  https://www.newyorkpizzasubs.com/

Alfies restaurant in Ormond by the Sea next to the ocean, an institution near one of my old hangouts, indeed the best breakfast in the area, and a great opportunity to catch the latest in the world with the regular customers of many years. webpage  https://alfiesrestaurant.com/story-of-alfies/

Mr Dunderbaks, the German sausages and beer place, an institution still going strong after so many years and again for good cause in 2009. Inside the Volusia Mall, 1700 W. International Speeway Blvd. unfortunately this has closed, here just for the memories.

Inlet Harbor Restaurant and Marina, an institution in the south Peninsula, south of Daytona Beach, at Ponce inlet .  Now the resto is separate from the marina and call Off the Hook at Inlet Harbor. just great catch of the day straight from the fishing boats.   https://offthehookatinletharbor.com/

Hemingways inside the Hyatt Grand Cypress hotel, a wonderful time past of old Florida conch ambiance and great raffine seafood cuisine by the best in Orlando. Even if now closed due to the virus. https://www.hemingwaysorlando.com/

Bill Wongs Super Buffet,Chinese perfection at great prices in Orlando, 5668 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. tel +001 407 352 5373.  No web near Disney off I4. This is now closed, here just for the memories.

Wolfgang Pub  Cafe, now just a bit further at 1518  East Buena Vista Drive, Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. Great exotic cuisine with an American/Japanese twist. A renown chef in a wonderful ambiance. webpage  https://wolfgangpuck.com/dining/orlando-bar-grill/

Bongos Cuban Cafe, 1498 East Buena Vista Drive,Downtown Disney,Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. tel +001 407-828-0999. the best Cuban resto in the central Florida area, a resto own by Gloria Estefan ,famous American singer of Cuban origins(Miami sound machine). The latest in mojitos and daiquiris with modern succulent cuisine avant garde. This was the original location now at South Beach Miami and others too.  This one is closed, here for the memories.

Pacino’s Italian Ristorante, a great Italian with wonderful decorations and ambiance, mamma mia in Kissimmee, near Disney . 5795 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Highway 192, Kissimmee, FL 34746 tel +001 407-239-4141.  webpage  https://www.pacinos.com/

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament , an event to have dinner without utensils as in middle times with horse shows of lancers. A great family time, always remember well.  4510 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. Now at 4510 W. Vine St.  webpage  https://www.medievaltimes.com/plan-your-trip/orlando-fl/index.html

Shells seafood ,in Tampa, seafood with hollywood history, it has been reorganised lately so need to verify the decoration, but it was a great family time there. 202 S Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL 33609.  webpage https://www.shellsseafood.com/locations

Bennigan’s, an Irish resto experience, popular locations my initial contact was in Tampa around the Univ of South Florida and then continues to Miami locations.  The monte cristo sandwich is huge and yummy with a nice beer alongside, Guinness blue bacon hamburger is awesome. At Miami it was near the airport on Le Jeune Rd. Now all closed except at Melbourne Florida! webpage: https://bennigans.com/bennigans-locations/locations-domestic/

Croissan’time, a French institution in Ft lauderdale area, and our little piece of FRance there, the owners are from Avignon, France. You can have a bistro type setting next door and a delicatessen store next with all the goodies to take home from France or made by French in America. Sunrise Square, 1201 North Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale,  Florida 33304, Tel +001 954-565-8555    webpage  http://www.croissantime.com/

Joe’s Stone Crab, a miami institution of greater culinary sensation. One of my favorites and should be yours too…. 11 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139 . tel +001 305-673-0365. You guess it stone crabs and lobster the finest,  Now closed, here just for the memories.

Joe Allen, was in Miami and we met again in Paris (still open diff owner), great American steaks, burgers,and Americana deco. In Miami Beach at 1787 Purdy Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33139. Now closed here just for the memories.

News Cafe, the ultimate gathering place for talk coffee and know it all be seen and see in Miami Beach.Open 24 hrs !!!  800 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139. tel +001 305-538-6397. webpage http://www.newscafe.com/

Restaurant St Michel, yes refine and French, excellent cuisine in a old world ambiance. In hotel St Michel same refinements. 162 Alcazar Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134. tel + 001 305-444-1666. webpage  https://www.hotelstmichel.com/zucca-dining

Los Ranchos, for Miami best steaks Latin style, come here its an institution with several locations. My favorite was at Sweetwater(Miami) the original. webpage  https://www.beststeaksinmiami.com/

La Carreta, the best Cuban original and typical, the real thing if you are looking for that. A family tradition try again in 2009 on my visit back home. the Platters combinations are sublime. My best is at 106633 NW 12 street, next to International Mall, webpage  http://lacarreta.com/locations/

Hooters, in Coconut Grove at CocoWalk, the Americana sexy in you, for an American bar with burgers and nice girls.  3015 Grand Avenue,Suite 330
Miami, FL 33133. No longer at this address but in others around the area. https://hootersflorida.com/locations/

The Rusty Pelican,steaks but best seafood on Key Biscayne overlooking the bay of Miami, best views in Miami. Lovely evenings with locals, and the fishterman,yatchmens of the area and beyond. 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149. tel +001 305-361-3818.   webpage   https://www.therustypelican.com/

Latin American Cuban Cuisine, at Bayside Marketplace downtown city center Miami by the port of Miami, Great sandwiches and vaca frita, the Cuban staples. 401 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132. tel +001 305-381-7774. webpage  https://www.baysidemarketplace.com/directory/restaurants/item/latin-american-cuban-cuisine-2

P.F. Changs, Mary Brickell Village, 901 S Miami Ave., Suite 104, Downtown Miami, FL 33131. In the former fire dept house and previous Fire House four cigar bistro, there is the chinese cuisine par excellence. This is a chain, and the setting and ambiance here is special at least here. webpage  https://www.pfchangs.com/locations/us/fl/miami/901-s-miami-ave/9931-brickell.html

Little Havana Restaurant, 12727 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami, FL 33161.  The best Cuban in the north of the county, really nice setting with fish tanks and inner patio. The food is well done and authentic. Try the stuffed fish dishes or the ropa vieja dish. webpage  http://www.littlehavanarestaurant.com/n-miami

Red Lobster, a chain of seafood restaurants but very good, my favorite in the area was at 1750 West 49th Street (Palm Springs Mile shopping road that is NW 103 St for Miami), Hialeah, FL 33012.  webpage  https://www.redlobster.com/?locationSelect=1&rlid=10246

Chili’s Grill & Bar, tex mex at its best with a great selection of cocktails, my gathering place at lunch whle at work in the area. Still meet old friends there when visiting like in 2009. 8696 NW 13th Terrace, Miami, FL 33126. The Beacon Center park, webpage  https://www.chilis.com/locations/us/florida/miami/beacon-center/

Flanagan’s Seafood Bar & Grill, another hangout about a block from the above place at NW 12 street, Miami (Doral). This is seafood, and buffalo wings, Spare ribs with great beers and sports screen all over. Best at nights, when the action is hot and fast.  webpage  https://www.flanigans.net/location/doral/

94th Aero Squadron Restaurant, the old hangout for Eastern airlines employees and locals, now the best view of the airport landing fields at MIA/while listening on earphone of the air traffic control tower . You have great drinks and burgers, steaks, and the ambiance is aviation. 1395 NW 57th Avenue Miami, FL 33126. webpage  https://www.94miami.com/location/94th-aero-squadron/

Le Bouchon du Grove, real French guy from Lyon will transport you to the bouchons of Lyon France. Exquisite cuisine in a wonderful village like setting. 3430 Main Highway – Coconut Grove FL (Miami). https://www.lebouchondugrove.com/

Cafe la Bonne Crepe, another wonderful French ,this one in Las Olas blvd of Ft Lauderdale, fine expert cuisine from the best in the area; 815 E. Las Olas Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.  You missed those crêpes from France well here they do it as identical as can be. webpage  https://www.labonnecrepe.com/

Olive Garden, italian and greatly made dishes , it was near us so we took many partakes here and never disappointed. In the Pembroke Lakes Mall property outside, but locations everywhere in FL.  11425 Pines Boulevard
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026. webpage  https://www.olivegarden.com/locations/fl/pembroke-pines/pembroke-lakes-mall/1409#restaurant-hours-reload

The Hurricane, at St Pete’s beach on the west coast just west of Tampa. A wonderful laidback Florida lifestyle ambiance with great seafood sandwiches and beer to go along your trip on the west coast. 807 Gulf  Way, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706. webpage http://www.thehurricane.com/
Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Grill, an exquisite extention of great seafood fingers, drinks, sports bar, and great local ambiance you will love in your stay in Florida. This one was after an indoor soccer/football match,and it was great memories indeed. 12370 West Sunrise Blvd, Plantation 33323. Now only one left at 1035 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale.  webpage  https://quarterdeckrestaurants.com/

The Globe, great bar and ambiance, sophisticated,business casual , evening dress to kill. The IN place in Coral Gables and sooo many years at the top. Cant missed it if in the area. 377 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables Fl 33134. The mojitos, daiquiris and classic Champagne cocktails are wonderful to go with Spanish chorizos and manchego quesadillas. webpage  https://theglobecafe.com/

Churchill’s, the British in south Florida, great drinks and great sports venue. My favorite soccer/football matches were always here to go alone with a great pint ::) 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137. webpage https://www.churchillspub.com/

Piccolo Pizza, a great pizza place and more run by folks from Nice,France. On your way to North Miami Beach,   2104 Northeast 123rd Street, North Miami, FL 33180. the webpage mentioned closed but cannot tell if it is just now or for good, https://www.piccolo-pizza.com/

Versailles, THE Cuban resto in Miami Little Havana neighborhood, the in and out of the city and all the political, economic ,arts discussions you can handle. You know it first here. The food is authentic and the ambiance very latin.  Name in all travel guides to the city as a must stop. 3555  SW 8th St Miami, FL 33135. webpage: https://www.versaillesrestaurant.com/

The Royal French Bakery, was run by Christian from Lyon, so it was heavens, not verify if still there but if they are, you need to go right away. We had our buche de Nôel always done here. 7370 SW 57th Ave, South Miami, FL 33143. Just off Sunset Ave or nw 72 st.  It is now closed, just here for the memories.

Le Provençal, French and from Aix-en-Provence, you cant go wrong here, exquisite refine cuisine with a mediterranean flair. One of our stops while living there, and keeping in touch with France. 266 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134. This is now closed, here just for the memories.

Casa Juancho, when my tastebugs switch to Spain ,this is as genuine as it can get over the ocean. Great Spanish cuisines in a fabulous deco and ambiance.  Codfish, shrimps, and tapas with great Spanish wine as well, all originally done by Spaniards. 2436 S.W. 8th Street, Miami, FL 33135. webpage http://www.casajuancho.com/

Well these are the ones that comes to mind, of course they are not all, just what brings back my most memorable moments eating in Florida.  Not prone to take photos at restaurants but have written on some of these properties elsewhere in my blog. Hope you enjoy them too when in the Sunshine State.

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

October 24, 2020

My memorable restaurants in France!!!

Well I would like to talk about dining in the rest of France ,outside my current living area of Morbihan Bretagne. This is an updated old post done when I started blogging but many moons have passed and need to update. My initial post was in 2011!

I need to do some catch up so will list the ones that have remained memorable for me and my family and some repeat. It is a difficult task as there are so many good ones here, food is king or queen, and choices are endless. However, I will again dare to give my choices; hoping they will become yours in the years to come.

A bit of the ways that never change. The French follow a light breakfast, continental style , and lately some yogourt, are thrown in there. Sometimes you see heavier placing but this is only in tourist places or buffet style. Lunch is the main meal of the day, heavy and hearty, usually between 12h-15h where you need to be there on time or be square, place is closed or chef is out having lunch! Then dinner starts by 19h in most cases onwards to about 23h generally speaking. I know in some places nice folks have stay open for me until 01h00 when gathering with a group, but most like to leave by 23h and in some chains they stay until midnite 00h00, this is a lighter meal than lunch, but sometime hard to distinguish the two. Sundays lunch is our big gastronomic time, and we either go out or cook a big meal at home. More and more places are opening with Brunch , with one price all you can eat.

There are many places where you can eat in France, these are call auberge, hostellerie, relais (all a coaching inn or alternative to restaurant); a bar, a bistro,a cabaret or boite de nuit, brasserie, cafe, buffet , restaurant,hotels, pizzerias,libre-service (cafeteria style self service usually in hypermarkets and autoroutes/expressways), rôtisserie,salon de thé, and restaurants. The hours again, varied a bit as to more tourist big city areas to provincial inland towns, but normally are open from 11h to 23h or later in brasseries, cafes:bars are from 06h-07h until midnite 00h00, but they can be license to be open as late as 02h00. Restaurants are open for lunch between 12-15h but usually stop seating by 14h30, dinner is between 19h and 22h with some staying as late as 00h00.

The menus are displayed outside every restaurant or eating place, sometimes the meal of the day or plat du jour is posted in a board inside main lobby of the place, call the ardoise. You can have a set menu call menu prix fixe where for one standard price you can get a combination of entree and main dish or main dish and dessert or other combinations.  Some places will have a menu conseillé or advice menu which is often the cheapest combination available or you can have the other side of the most expensive with a menu gastronomique. The idea  of tipping is often raise by visitors, here there is something call service compris , meaning the total price including the tip and tax (VAT) is included. If it is not mentioned you can assume it is or ask. If the mention is only prix nets it means nothing extra has been added so you should tip. The tip is not obligatory, and it should be given with several variables in mind; like, what type of place you are in, if you will be a regular customer or just passing visitor,and the amount of services offered, as well as of course the excellence of the service. Its a personal choice. My take is ,if the service is good beyond reproach at a passing establishement, I tip a bit a few coins, if indeed is one of my regular joints where I am treated like a family then I tip as much as 10% of the bill. Again ,its up to you, and your habits.

Some of my favorite places over the years in France were/are:

le Lotus d’Or, 7 rue Bac, 92150, Suresnes; (this one is closed unfortunately here for the memories many times for lunch while working nearby) tramway suresnes-longchamps. tel +33 01 40 99 07 10. Just before mounting the highest hill in the Paris area at 162 meters in Mont Valerien, surrounded by the beautiful sight of the river Seine overlooking the bois de bolougne on the other side. Oriental chinese, vietnamese, thai food serve by an entire family with great service and prices,menus from 10€.

Donatello, 24 Esplanade Courtieux, 92150, Suresnes. tramway Suresnes-Longchamps, no web tel +33 01 42 04 41 67. An oasis of good inexpensive Italian food just over the bridge pont de Suresnes other side of bois de boulogne and on a courtyard where the market of Suresnes is held. Pizzas from 9€, and real Italian products and chef! More here:  https://www.suresnes-tourisme.com/donatello.html

Chez Clement, 15bis quai Requenequin Sualem, 78380, Bourgival. a chain that have gone thru bad times due to owner personal problems and now closed too here for the memories even my oldest had his birthdays there.  French cuisines in a painter’s old house cant be more romantic, and overlooking the river Seine,really French. You can take RER A to le Vésinet-le Pech and walk here.

Le Duc de Guise, 13-15  place Louis XII, 41000, Blois. Now closed, here for the memories.  traditional pizzeria and huge salads that wont break your bank and serve very good food. Near the Houdin magician museum,and castle.

Le Triboulet, 18 place du Chateau, 41000, Blois. French traditional in a house warming cozy setting with wood stove and fireplace. Just across from castle with a great view. Enjoy it, the family love it. More here:  http://www.letriboulet.com/

Cafe des Arts, 138 cours Victor Hugo, 33000, Bordeaux,tramway musée d’Aquitaine gets you there. tel +33 05 57 95 94 51. Traditional French cafe of old, nicely decorated, good food, if a bit slow at lunch times. More here:  https://www.lecafedesarts.fr/

Le Kayoc, 2 allée Pierre Ortal, 33680, Lacanau-Océan. great view right on the beach, and seafood galores ! an oasis our family trek practically every summer. More here:  http://www.restaurant-lacanau.com/

Le Colibri, 12 rue Chanzy, 51100, Reims.  Closed here for the memories. Great piano bar restaurant right by the Cathedral. Very cozy French traditional, and elegant. Our family love it.

La Scala, (now la Scaleta same owners) 1 Place Planchat, 18000, Bourges. Great food, ambiance, decorations like you were in Italy, the servers are Italian and you cant eat any better listening to Eroz Ramazzotti! and the waittress singing alone!!!! The reason for the name maybe .We have it mark. More here:  https://la-scaleta.fr/restaurant-bourges/

Le Palerme, 8 place de l’Eglise, 11990, Hourtin. The medoc again, central plaza overlooking the marché on your way to the beach. Nice setting ,simple but great pizzas good food, great service even in busy summers, you wont be disappointed.  tel +33 05 56 09 18 46. more here:  https://www.facebook.com/Lepalermehourtin/

Le Meridional, 27 ave Pierre Curie, 78210, St Cyr l’Ecole. Recently open and it was a surprise, great Italian dishes at good prices, and family fun, the owners are on board daily. Real Italians for that home cooking we seek always. no web, tel +33 01 39 42 02 95. right on road D10 coming into the city from Versailles. Cannot confirm if open or not but here for the memories anyway.

Brasserie Paul, 1 place de la Cathédrale, 76000, Rouen, a local gourmand place of French traditions. Open in 1898 and the quality continues, friendly fast service even at lunch. Great food and ambiance at the side of the Cathedral of Rouen. tel +33 02 35 71 86 07. More info here: https://www.brasserie-paul.com/

Ty Breiz, 59 Quai Henri IV, 76200, Dieppe, a great creperie in the best area traditon all done on order by mama and son themselves ,right by the harbor. Cant make it any better than like home. tel +33 02 35 82 86 56. Cannot confirm if open or not, here just for the memories.

Le Crystal, 3 Rue Haute, 14600, Honfleur, a beauty try the second floor inside a house on the pedestrian street out of the harbor to your right, left hand side. great seafood place. tel +33 02 31 89 12 02. No web but confirm still open!

Le Bistro du Port, 14 Quai de la Quarantaine,14600, Honfleur. whether its a seafood pizza or a plat from the ocean this is to be seen and be seen with great ambiance, friendly service always for many years. tel +33 02 31 89 21 84. More here:  http://www.bistro-la-grenouille.fr/le-bistro.php

Le Queen, 3 Place Gambetta, 80000, Amiens (closed now but here for the memories) ;it had a very nice terrace near hotel de ville, to be seen and be seen in town, great views, and ambiance. Come for a pint or a nice steak and fries, good prices,great service, a stop a must.

Le Bistrot des Brasseurs (3 brasseurs) , 18-20 place de la Gare, 59000,Lille,  a place to taste the beer made next door at the 3 Brasseurs and use here with some moules and frites, great people , come enjoy it.tel +33  03 20 06 37 27. More here:  https://restaurants.3brasseurs.com/fr/3-brasseurs-lille

Le Vieux Comptoir, 10 rue de la Rôtisserie, 37000, Tours, great family place, in an old street of Tours, very nicely decorated. French traditional of great estime locally, and wines of the Loire valley. very sympa. More here:  http://levieuxcomptoir.free.fr/index.html

Taverne de Bois de Maitre Kanter, Rue Georges Méliés, 41350, St Gervais la Forêt. on the road D174 towards the A10 or Blois. Great setting in the middle of the forest to sample Alsacien cuisine. A great tour to continue your journey with a great ambiance. More here:  https://www.la-taverne-blois.fr/

La Fontana, 2 Rue de la Croix de Fer, 78100, Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Great traditional Italian resto with Italian natives at the kitchen and serving. You will taste like mamma mia and just with the junction of the N186 to the A15 and Paris or the train at Saint Germain en Laye bel air-Fourqueux.  We love but now closed, just for the memories. I put what they put out in their Facebook page: “Despite the announcement of the reopening of restaurants on June 2, we are announcing the definitive closure of La Fontana.
After 25 years of good and loyal service, unforgettable memories, loyal customers in each decade of this great adventure … it is time to give back our apron!” Another sad story!

J’Go, 16 Place Victor Hugo, 31000, Toulouse. they have it now in Paris rue Drouot 9éme. The best of the southwest with an unique local flavor, my favorite in the city of roses. Good times ever roll. http://lejgo.com/toulouse

Le Louchebem, the butcher of Toulouse in the covered market of place Victor Hugo, great cassoulet toulosain, ambiance, service and great views on the second floor over the place.Cant beat it. 21 different meats to choose from but keep at the cassoulet ::) More here: http://www.lelouchebem-toulouse.fr/

Bar Les Clip’s , 1 place de la Trebaille, 81000, Albi . Great prices good view underneath the cathedral by the parking below its back. Cassoulet was good,and the service very family friendly. Good to go; no web but still open.

Les Berceaux,  13 rue de Berceaux, 51200, Epernay. Sublime Champagne resto gastronomic French cuisine at its best, cozy, ambiance sublime, regal, one of the best in the area. right in central town off  rue Eugéne Mercier, More here: http://www.lesberceaux.com/

La Cave d’Artagnan, 4 rue de la republique, 32000, Auch. Great tapas selection and ambiance, friendly service. The products comes right from the owners farm, great foie gras tapas. Cannot confirm if open or closed, here just for the memories.

La Vieille Auberge, at Mont Saint Michel. Lovely architecture overlooking the bay, good food friendly service in an area loaded with tourist is to recommend. More here: https://www.lavieilleauberge-montsaintmichel.com/fr/restaurant.html

Le Phare in the island or Ïle de Ré, wonderful quaint seafaring town of St Martin de Ré, and the place was just great: also, lodging available. More here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/French-Restaurant/Le-Phare-Bar-Lounge-Restaurant-%C3%AEle-de-r%C3%A9-222568304547053/

La Brasserie Royal at Pau. Grand of Pau; historical chic good ambiance right on the square Place Royale. More here: http://brasserie-royale.com/

Le Suisse, at St Jean de Luz right in the pays Basque, great location near all at place Louis XIV , and good times in family.  Cannot confirm if open or not so here for the memories.

Pizzeria Nota Bene at Nantes.  3 Rue Saint Denis near Cathedrale; excellent location , nice architecture, good food and soft prices. more here:  https://www.notabene-restaurant.fr/

Crêperie Le Blé Noir at Noirmoustier en L’ïle. A wonderful location by the place Saint Louis and good galettes! More here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Cr%C3%AAperie/Le-Bl%C3%A9-Noir-II-328855830658053/

Le Pub du Ralliement at Angers. nice central location good food and nice ambience; nice. They went thru a fire back in June 2020 but under control and back on. More here:   https://www.facebook.com/PubRalliement/

Crëperie La Flambée at Guérande. In the old town just next to the ramparts walls; good old fashion ambiance good service good food nice; more here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Cr%C3%AAperie/La-Flambee-373563996161994/

Le Café de la Plage, Batz-sur-Mer. Overlooking the sea cith by the harbor at the beach or plage Saint Michel.Very good family ambiance good food good prices nice. More here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/French-Restaurant/Le-Caf%C3%A9-de-La-Plage-162010783975192/

I have try to update as many. As usual some were already out of business, a very common thing here where competition and the tourist season are fierce, and of course, there are those still open that I like. Of course, you must verify before hand at the time of your travel if they are still open. hope it helps and bon appétit!

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

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