Posts tagged ‘Paris’

August 16, 2018

The Summer feasts of Wine in France!

This is a nice breezy not too hot not to cold day in my lovely Morbihan and we set out to do many things (more of that on later post). However, wine is in the air, Summer is the tradition of wine and the refreshing idea of drinking it with friends and family.

In my humble efforts to tell you all about wines in France from a seasoned taster, drinker, collector and diplomé person of France let me tell you the latest happening. Oh yes I will be in the trail by August 21th in the Loire.. Some of the tourist activities you can join are

Tasting under the Earth , some of the latest tasting going on in my belle France.
The Ardèche winegrowers make their wines grow old in spectacular galleries, and on the Cave of Saint-Marcel. A speleologist guide and a wine expert take you to taste them in the dark. Spéléoenology, 58 euros/pers. (2 h 30 to 3 h 30.)  more at

For tasting on the waves , see Denis Retiveau, winemaker and Marinier, embarks on his cabin flat bottom boat ;this flat-bottomed boat, topped by a hut, slips over the Loire (or Vienna) river while you enjoy a drink of wine from his Domaine des Champs Fleuris.
From 25 euros/pers. More info at

A canvas at the vineyard. In Puyloubier, Provence, in a Transat, enjoy a cinematic projection in the vineyards. A food truck treats you all night. 11 Euros/pers. Every Friday night, until September 7th. More info at these sites : and

Have a carriage Ride at the Château Fontainebleau du Var , they organize carriage rides on its field grown in organic farming and biodynamics. 11 Euros/pers. (30 minutes.). More info at

Have a “Escape game “ in the property. At the Castle of Rayne Vigneau, in the Sauternes, invites you to unravel the mysteries of its property. Its thrilling escape game ends with a tasting.  30 euros, from 4 pers. (1 H 30.) Book 72 hours in advance. More info here:

How about an animated course. The visit of the cellar Robert and Marcel, very close to Saumur, is worth visiting. Eight scenographies, around the wine, punctuate the course in the underground of the La Perrière. 5 Euros. The cellar with sensations. Until September, 11h to 15h and 16h to 17h. More info here:

The latest and 15th edition of Vines, Wines, Randos is upon us!

Event held from 01 to 02 September 2018 by the Interloire,association of vineyards and growers . Offering to you for the occasion 15 unpublished courses each composed of a exceptional stage. 3 hours of relaxation, conviviality and taste sensations on the occasion of VVR.. All guided by a winemaker, you leave for one of the 15 walks offered, punctuated by tastings, pairings and wines and discover the wine know-how. The kit of the perfect hiker in hand, you have all the ingredients to taste the savours of the terroir and discover the riches of the Loire heritage.

On your return, you are welcomed in the village VVR, in a festive atmosphere ensured by a group of music.. This VVR event is routes of 6-9 kms , with a family trail of 3 km, 2 days of hiking, -15 winemakers walks, including three new courses, 20 appellations tasted. 400 winegrowers. And 12 000 participants.

Practical information :Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 September 2018
Timetable: Departures between 9h and 16h15; Price: 6€ and 1€ for under 18 years pre-registration on the site before August 30th, on site 10€. Address: 62 Rue Blaise Pascal, 37019 Tours. More in English here:

Some hints on where I am going next: Loire


And do enjoy it all or as many as you can !!! It wonderful in my belle France. And remember , happy travels ,good health, and many cheers to all!!!

August 16, 2018

Museum of Paris, Arts et Métiers!

I will like to expand on a museum not as known in Paris but just as nice as any. This is an oddity as really never been in the Museum per se …(see at end of post)  As the times are hot with a heatwave just past and now cooler times , let me expand on it while at cooling off at home.

The museum to start.

The Museum of Arts and Crafts or Musée des Arts et Métiers is a museum of Science and Technology, as the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, in the 3éme arrondissement of Paris. (Near Church St Nicolas des Champs -see post), founded in 1794 on a proposal by Abbé Grégoire at the National Convention. The Conservatory of Arts and Crafts was originally an institution designed to train technicians and engineers using demonstrations made from scientific and technical objects. While the Cnam is now a major institution of higher education and research, its museum retains all the machines, models, designs that were used throughout the 19C and 20C. It continues to enrich its collections, in particular with the national mission for the safeguarding of the contemporary scientific and technical heritage, which has been entrusted to it since 2003 by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. By the metro Arts et Métiers of line 3 and 11 .  However, I will get off at Metro Rambuteau line 11 near the Centre Pompidou and walk along Rue Beaubourg to the Arts et Métiers museum on a nice walk in Paris, and if like I , need to work on the run then stop by Café Unicorners at No 67 More here:
Or for something more casual try the Café des Arts et Métiers off Beaubourg at 51 Rue de Turbigo  ;more here:



A bit of history I like

The Museum of Arts and Crafts is located in the buildings of the former Royal Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs. Nationalized in November 1789, this considerable architectural ensemble was assigned to the conservatory in 1798. The museum occupies the bodies of buildings where the monks of the ancient religious community were housed as well as the ancient Priory Church.


The collections of the Museum of Arts and Crafts currently account for nearly 46 000 inventory items. This includes about 80 000 objects (including 20 000 photographs) and 15 000 technical drawings forming the “Industrial portfolio”. Only about 2 500 objects are presented in the galleries of the museum, in Paris, the remainder being kept in specially arranged premises and meeting the standards of preventive conservation, in Saint-Denis.

The first collections were assembled at the initiative of the French mechanic Jacques de Vaucanson. In 1752, the latter installed at the Hotel de Mortagne, rue de Charone in Paris, a mechanics ‘ office where he gave demonstrations, particularly with the objects he designed and built, as the automations. Some of them, such as the mill to organize silk or the loom weaving the crafted fabrics, are among the oldest collections of the Museum of Arts and Crafts. Near the National Museum of Natural History, formed from the Old King’s Garden, the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts will bring together collections of aristocratic physics cabinets or the former Royal Academy of Sciences.

The galleries of the museum open their doors in May 1802. According to the idea of Abbé Grégoire, demonstrators explain to the visitors the operation of the machines.


The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Arts and Crafts is organized into seven thematic collections themselves divided into four chronological periods (before 1750, 1750-1850, 1850-1950, after 1950): Scientific Instruments, Materials, Construction, Communication, Energy, Mechanics and Transports. Additional presentations focus on particular points: the Lavoisier laboratory, the Automation Theater, Madame de Genlis’s teaching models. The ancient Church presents, among other things, the experience of the rotation of the Earth with the help of the Foucault’s Pendulum.

Since 2010, the model of the Statue of liberty of Bartholdi is exhibited in the Place de General Morin, forecourt of the museum.

I have been shown the museum rather brief quick on a business presentation so no pictures as many rooms photos are not allowed. However, have great funny experiences in the meeting here at the Conference room or Salle de Conferences, more on this place that can be rented is here:

Meetings :

Now in reverse, let me tell you the story now.

The funny story is that having accepted to come to a meeting of top managers of French corporations, I decided to invite my assistance for the sake of training and initiation in the world of management.. As she is a Parisian of that time of 55 yrs old, I simply gave her the address of the conference entrance on rue Réaumur and the museum as guidance. Funny thing in my previous travel forum where I read people telling their experience because a Parisian told them as proof that they are on the right. Well this and many other experiences can tell you not so folks. My assistance was late by about 20 minutes to the meeting, and when asked why, she told me thought been by there but frankly got lost! How can a Parisian native gets lost in Paris? Very simple they go as I found out later by the quartier or neighborhood and as much as the arrondissement or district (see those posts in my blog) and only there is their home. The rest of the city is like a foreign port ,after all in their quartiers they have everything they need to live, and not even a car! needed. So, therefore, make sure the person of Paris has done some travel ok.

Some webpages to help your plan your trip here are

It is really a nice place, and more time is needed indeed. Hope you like the post enough to come to see it.

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

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August 13, 2018

Gare Saint Lazare, Paris!

So here I am very nice and cool at 20C or about 71F , when writing this blog post so bear with me oops my porto red is glamorously cool… vacation time is near so what’s the heck!! Life goes on , always with memories never forgotten, but I need to move on for the rest.

I like to tell you today about a train station dear to me. Not your fan of public transport if you followed me but sometimes for one reason or another they are needed. I worked for many years in Paris and my entry point from Versailles rive droite was the Gare Saint Lazare in Paris. Great memories even if some late arrivals due to technical problems on the tracks lol! Anyway this is my rendition on history of this wonderful old train station. Saint Lazare.


I have written a blog post on it before, more on the touristic side, this one is now more historical. My previous post is here:

The Gare Saint-Lazare,  is one of the seven main stations of the SNCF network in Paris. Located in the 8éme arrondissement or neighborhood/quartier of Europe, it is one of the former heads of line of the West network. First station built in Île-de-France region from 1837 and affected mainly since by the commuter traffic, it is the second station of Paris and France by its traffic and the second in Europe.  The station is 32 meters above sea level, in a very dense urban environment. It serve most of Normandy and the western suburbs of Paris, thanks to a wide range of lines extending from Pontoise and Ermont to the north , in Versailles to the south, assuring it a particularly high passenger traffic. The first breakpoint encountered when leaving the Gare Saint Lazare is the Pont-Cardinet station, in  the Paris-Saint-Lazare line at Le Havre served by the trains of the L line of the Transilien. As well as been one of my favorite parking spots on street in Paris!


The Transilien line on Saint Lazare is here:

A bit of history I like.

The history of Gare Saint-Lazare began during the reign of King of the French, Louis-Philippe I in 1837 with the opening of the Paris track to Saint-Germain at that time, a temporary wooden station, the Pier of the West, was built on the Place de l’Europe, in the out of the Batignolles Tunnel, located at the former Tivoli Gardens Park. The line serves then for travelers the current stations of Pont-Cardinet, Clichy-Levallois, Asnières, La Garenne-Colombes, Nanterre-Ville and Le Vésinet-Le Pecq. In 1841, a second temporary station, in masonry covered with a yellow coating, is built on rue de Stockholm, right in front of the Place de l’Europe . The intention of developers Pereire brothers, promoters of this railroad, is to extend the line to the center of Paris until the rue Tronchet!  that leads to the Church of the Madeleine (and my walking beat to work for several years). However,  opposition of the municipality and the owners concerned, the project of the station of La Madeleine is abandoned in 1841. The third station is built  at the corner of  rue d’Amsterdam and Rue Saint-Lazare, which the station takes its name. The work spans a long period of 1842 to 1853.

In 1867, becoming the most important in Paris, Gare Saint-Lazare receives such extensions that one can speak of a fourth station, inaugurated moreover on 2 June, 1867 on the occasion of the Universal exhibition held in Paris, by the Emperor Napoleon III, accompanied by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria and Emperor Alexander II of Russia. In the same year, the Europe tunnel was abolished and replaced by a double metal bridge , reconstructed in concrete in 1931. From 1885 to 1889, a major expansion saw the construction of the current façade with two lateral wings at the tracks forming a “U”, and gave the Saint-Lazare station its present physiognomy. In 1885, a decree declares the extension of rue Saint-Lazare to 30 meters on the even numbers side between  rue d’Amsterdam and rue de Londres of public utility. The houses are destroyed and the Hotel Terminus is erected in their place. There are also the two squares that frame it, right in front of the main façade of the station to which it is connected by a walkway covered (now abandoned).  In 1919, the courier’s hall is extended by a second hall going to Boulevard des Batignolles (current parking lot of the Pont de l’Europe).


Although the station is mainly dedicated to commuter traffic, its international vocation has been marked by the existence of transatlantic trains to Le Havre-Maritime and Cherbourg-Maritime, in correspondence with the ships for New York. If the New-York-Express of the transatlantic General company circulated until the withdrawal of France in 1974, the Transatlantique-Express of the Cunard Line (for passengers of Queen Elizabeth 2, later Queen Mary 2), continues to circulate, even if the station Maritime (now called the Cite de la Mer) is no longer directly served. As for the Paris-Saint-Lazare-Dieppe-Maritime boat trains, in liaison with the ships to England, they circulated until 1994, replaced by the Eurostar service. Passengers to Ireland by boat continue to take the Paris-Le Havre trains.

A shopping arcade is created in 1974 in the basement of the Galerie des Pas Perdu , the general Tele display is installed, and escalators are set up towards the road to facilitate the correspondence with the Metro, in particular with the line 13 extended in 1976 to the south of Paris . In 1972, the line of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, integrated in the RER A line is transferred to the RATP and leads to the new underground station of  rue Auber  in the neighborhood  of  Chaussée d’Antin, located about 500 meters. Still with the Connection of the Cergy line, opened in March 1979, the RER A on  May 1988, followed by the Poissy line in 1989. The Gare Saint-Lazare has 27 lanes and is in correspondence with several urban transport lines (Metro, bus and RER).


Its attendance continues to increase, especially due to the new link Ermont-Saint-Lazare, to the point of claiming, according to the SNCF, the second place in Europe behind the station of Paris-Nord for its volume of trafic. From 2003 to 2007, the station’s work concentrated on the space of the Transverse wharf, a waiting area which gives access to the 27 tracks of the station. The work of the sector passage and cours d’Amsterdam, initiated in 2006 and completed in 2008, consisted of a widening of the existing passage towards the cours d’Amsterdam, leading to the rue d’Amsterdam, with the creation of a real secondary entrance on this axis. From 2009 to 2012, the most important phase of the work is underway; it has as its object the modernization of the heart of the station with the transformation of the old Galerie des pas Perdu (Hall of lost steps) in a shopping center Saint Lazare on three levels along the 194 meters long Hall (213 meters in front), the creation of an underground parking lot and the creation of simpler connections with the metro. End of 2009, the bunker of WWII, implanted in the first basement facing the tracks 4 and 5 at the back of the old shopping arcade was destroyed, because its presence was incompatible with the facilities retained. The new Saint-Lazare train station was inaugurated on March 21, 2012. The Galerie des pas Perdu  has now become a skylight thanks to the development of the canopy and the arrangement of the new eighty boutiques spread over three levels; It is equipped with 20 escalators, 300 information screens and a new acoustic comfort. Thus, the passenger traffic was fluidized and a waiting room was opened. The final component of the Saint-Lazare project is the renovation from May 2013 until the beginning of 2014 of the two courtyards Rome and Havre (cour de Rome and cour du Havre), and that of the inner street, between the main building and the Hilton Paris Opéra Hotel.

The 27 tracks of the station are assigned in the following way:

1-4 (group II): Versailles-Rive-Droite and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche;

5 to 8 (group III): Nanterre-University, Maisons-Laffitte and Cergy-le-Haut;

9 to 12 (groups IV and VI): Ermont-Eaubonne, Cormeilles-en-Parisis;

13 to 17 (group V): Mantes (by Poissy), Evreux, Vernon;

18 to 27: Departures and arrivals outlines, tracks 26 and 27 also used for the trains of group VI towards Mantes (by Conflans-St. Honorine), Pontoise and Gisors.   Info SNCF on the train station link below.

Regional lines on Saint Lazare are here on the TER train page:

Some of the goodies here in addtion to many other is the opening last September 2013 of the Restaurant Lazare by star Chef  Éric Fréchon  that you can access from the shopping center and the inner street (rue Intérieure). Super good!!! More here:

Some of the artsy things that happened here were :

In 1877, Claude Monet left Argenteuil for Paris, and the painter asked for permission to work in the Gare Saint-Lazare, close to his home. He finds inspiration in the modernity and mobility of the subject, its changing brightness, and the vapor clouds. He produced a series of twelve paintings from various viewpoints, including views of the vast hall, where he focused more on light and color effects than on a detailed description of the railway universe.

Since 1985, two works of art “accumulations” of the French painter and sculptor Arman, five-meters highs, were placed in the two courtyards of the station: Consigne à vie ( a life-time deposit), representing a stack of suitcases, in the cour de Rome and the time for all, representing a stacking of pendulums(clocks), in the cour du Havre.


There is now a great shopping center  Saint Lazare in the train station, superb, we went from Morbihan there just to see the opening! The webpage for the shopping mall is here:


In the cinema, La Bête humaine (the Human Beast), a French film of 1938 adapted from the eponymous novel by Émile Zola and directed by Jean Renoir, takes place in part in the Gare de Paris-Saint-Lazare and its surroundings.

The station also appears in the songs: at Gare Saint-Lazare (lyrics by Pierre Delanoë, music by Renard Jean, new editions Meridian, released at Polydor in 1962), which is interpreted by Colette Deréal, it is practically entirely dedicated, to the station even it is only fleetingly quoted in the song. Vesoul, written, composed and performed by Jacques Brel in 1968. We can also cite Snack-bar Gare Saint-Lazare, which dates from 1956 (lyrics by Boris Vian and Geo Dorlis, music by Louiguy).

What are the transports here, plenty.

The Gare Saint-Lazare is served by the RER E line on the RER A in case of a breakdown of interconnection in Nanterre-prefecture, the trains destined for Cergy-le-Haut were terminus and origin Paris-Saint-Lazare, joining the normal route from Houilles-Carriéres-sur-Seine.

The Saint-Lazare metro station is on Lines 3, 12, 13 and 14. A corridor connects Saint-Augustin station from line 9 to Saint-Lazare station on line 14 and, as a result, to Gare Saint-Lazare. It is possible to reach the Opéra station from Saint-Augustin and Saint-Lazare by going to the RER E quays and then taking the corridors leading to the Metro lines 7 and 8 at the Opéra station and at the Auber station of the RER A.

The station is served by Bus lines 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 43, 53, 66, 80, 81, 94, 95 and 528 of the RATP bus network and, at night, by the lines N01, N02, 15, 16, 51, N52, N53, N150, N151, N152 , N153 and N154 of the Noctilien network.


Always the useful Paris tourist office on Saint Lazare: Tourist office of Paris on Saint Lazare

There you go folks, a memorable Saint Lazare train station indeed, full of nice souvenirs and good cheers. Enjoy Paris but do check ahead for strikes, yikes!

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


August 13, 2018

Gare du Nord, Paris!

At the time of writing this post in my blog, we were fully into Summer ! Plenty of hot weather in August around my belle France rising as much as 37C in the south, while we were at 33C in sunny Morbihan Breton! This is hot but it is ,also, a time to say farewell to collegues who take vacation earlier. And now we are at 22C lol! cool Brittany!

While, I will tell you a bit about one of the train stations in Paris, and one used often by me on my trips to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam for business. I have gone to all those cities by car with the family as well. Like my life in splits , business on trains/pleasure by car!

Oh yes , written posts on transportation in Paris but not on this train station in specific, talking about the Gare du Nord. The North station or Paris-Nord. My first encounter with it was circa 2011 on a business trip to Olen near Anvers! I went from Nord to Midi in Brussels where tired of the train rented a car to get to Olen!.


A bit of history I like:

The Gare du Nord station as we know it was opened to the public on April 19, 1864, in the 10éme arrondissement of Paris. It replaces a first station, inaugurated on 14 June 1846, a pier of the north railway  which was then the second Parisian station after Saint-Lazare. The line was opened with the Northern Railway Company  on the north line to LIlle, it covered 12 000m ² and serves only two lanes, one for arrivals, the other for departures;  the structure of the building remained  almost  the same today. The large Universal exhibitions of 1854, 1889 and 1900 have been opportunities for expansion work, which are also needed by the strong growth of its attendance. For the 1889 and 1900 Universal exhibitions, the number of  tracks increased from 13 to 18.

The most notable changes were  in  1906, with the arrival of the Metro (line 4); In the years 1950 and 1960, with the electrification of the tracks, between 1977 and 1983, with the titanic site of the underground station dedicated to the suburbs, in 1993 and 1994, with the arrival of high speed train with the TGV Nord and the Eurostar. June 1996: Commissioning of the Thalys, connecting Paris with Amsterdam via Brussels; 12 July 1999: Inauguration of the E line of the RER and the station of Magenta; 1998 to 2002: Operation Gare du Nord station exchanges. The Gare du Nord , also known as the Paris-Nord, is the Parisian head of the railway network serving the north of France, as well as the neighboring countries. Because of the proximity of Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany, it has always possessed a marked international vocation, before its regional traffic has developed strongly.

It is, with an endowment of thirty-two lanes at the quays  since 1993, of which four underground, the station Gare du Nord occupies, in France, the first place in traffic. On this set, from west to east, track 2 (track 1 has been removed) is located between the Post Office building and the Eurostar-controlled area, four customs lanes reserved for the Eurostar service, 15 lanes for Thalys services, main lines ( TGV and Intercité) and TER Hauts-de-France, seven lanes for services in the northern suburbs of Île-de-France (line H and line K of the Transilien Network), and under the latter a underground station consisting of four lanes used by the traffic of lines B and D of the RER. The trench extending north of the establishment has fourteen lanes, four of which are destined for suburban traffic alone. There are four underground lanes under the latter, heading towards the underground station and beyond, to the interconnected lines of the suburbs, apart from Japan is the world’s first station in terms of traffic. And now you need good directions to get thru ::)

A note for those tourists: The Gare du Nord station serves the northern suburbs of Paris, which concentrates an important part of the social difficulties of the region. Due to its large attendance and the social geography of the suburbs served, it has regularly become the scene of various clashes. A word to the wise, be careful especially if traveling at night and especially on the periphery of the station.

Now let me tell you a bit on the architecture.

The Roman-inspired façade is organized around a central pavilion forming a triumphal arch framed by two smaller pavilions. It is characterized by the use of large blocks of stone. The façade is adorned with twenty-three statues ordered from thirteen eminent sculptors of the time, representing the main cities served by the company the most majestic statues, which crown the building, are 5.50 meters high are of international renown. National destinations, represented by statues placed on the facade and less high, of only 4 meters. The statue of Paris, naturally is at the summit top of the façade.

And about all those transport options here

Transports by here are the metro station Gare du Nord, where lines 4 and 5 pass, which also serve the Paris-East (Gare de l’Est station.  Since the1990’s, a connecting corridor connects the underground station to the metro station La Chapelle of line 2. On the surface and in the bus station you can find the buses: Lines 26, 30, 31, 35, 38, 39, 42, 43, 46, 48, 54, 56, 65, 302, 350 and the OpenTour tourist line of the RATP bus network; and the lines N01, N02, 14, N43, N44, N140 and N143 of the Noctilien night time network.



And places to eat and wait inside the station.

The station’s Buffet is the renowned restaurant at the station, the hotel Terminus-Nord, facing the station, and its 1925 Art Deco-style restaurant have been renovated for the arrival of the Eurostar. The Exki by the Eurostar area. By the Rue Dunkerque Le Zinc du Nord. Le Fournil, located at level /niveau 0 ,the unmissable premises stands within a striking glass structure, near access to quays  30/36, and next to the ticket office of the Transilien regional train network.  A new buffet, the L’Etoile du Nord (named after the famous Express Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam), operated by the chef Thierry Marx, near the track 19, is opened since  2016. Wonderful place indeed. More here L’Etoile du Nord

Some artsy things inside the Gare du Nord

Several works of literature have as a setting this station as well as several films were shot at the station. A couple I remember are the   2001: The Fabulous Fate of Amélie Poulard of Jean-Pierre Jeunet; and the  2004: Ocean Twelve by Steven Soderbergh. Some scenes from the police television series Quai n ° 1, aired on French TV channel F2  between 1997 and 2006, were shot in the station. As well coming up in several older songs.

New things will and are happening in the Gare du Nord, ready for the Olympics 2024 and UK Brexit. Here are the latest.

The Gare du Nord station will triple in volume by 2023, from the perspective of the 2024 Olympics. And, world premiere, a 1 km trail will be installed on its rooftops for the benefit of all athletes. It was with the Auchan Group (Ceetrus) that the railway company finally chose to do the work for  600 million euros   invested to transform the station, by 2023. In the long run, the SNCF will only be a minority shareholder, while Ceetrus will be the majority shareholder for a period of 46 years. Remember that the Gare du Nord station is already the largest station in Europe. And it is not likely to lose its title since its surface will go from 36 000 m² to 110 000 m², i.e. a multiplication of spaces for travelers.

It will be first of all, the creation of a single entrance, large loggia open on the forecourt, to the east of the historic station which gives access to an inner hall  of 300 meters long covered by a canopy. This path of light crosses the new building, guiding users to the departures of all destinations and serves the new activities, commercial, cultural, sporting and co-working. Existing surfaces are quintuplets. The interior façade of the Great Hall designed by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff in the 19C has been restored to its original state and becomes a masterful element of reception for travelers of the European main lines. A new departure terminal will be built and significantly increase the station. Thus the arrival and departure of the station will be distinct and improve the flow. The construction of footbridges above the existing lanes will allow the movement of those who leave while the arrivals leave the station by the quays. An expansion of the Eurostar terminal will also better meet the challenge of strengthening customs controls related to Brexit. If the original hall will overall remain the same, the entrance Transilien, with its glass walls, will be deeply transformed. This entry will indeed become a central “street” in the station, surmounted by a transparent roof, a passage of more than 300 meters by 18 meters wide, from where it should be easy to access the various quays: Eurostar, TGV, RER and Transilien. The station will be beautiful with a new façade, on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Denis and direct access to the departure terminal.

The above work translated by yours truly from the city of Paris. More at the source the City of Paris webpage:

Some webpages to help you plan your trip around this train station are

Official SNCF site in French on the Gare du Nord :

Transilien regional ile de France trains in English on gare du nord :

In French but a practical simpler guide to the Gare du Nord :

In English a practical guide to the Gare du Nord:

You are now set to go, the Northern encounter to France is ready and will be even better soon. Enjoy the trip!

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

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August 12, 2018

Gare de Lyon , Paris!

And like to continue with the train stations in Paris. Read I like train stations lol! nooo rather take the car, but in France as in most of Europe , public transport is a must many times, usually forced by work. This is the case for the train station Lyon of Paris.

So ,therefore, let me tell you a bit about the Gare de Lyon of Paris.  I have come thru it for business trips to Geneva, Basel, and Zurich, as well as my sons going on ski school trips. It is a very nice station and something inside worth coming to even if not traveling on the train…Let me tell you a bit more on it.


Gare-de-Lyon is also a train station of the RER network of Île-de-France. It is located in the 12éme arrondissement or district of Paris, mainly in the neighborhood or quartier of Quinze Vingts ; however, the southeast of the tracks and quays being located in the neighborhood of  Bercy. It is the third station of Paris by its traffic , and a train station of main lines ensuring the service of a large southeast quarter of France and intermediate regions. Gare de Lyon is the head of the TGV line to the southeast of France. I have taken it for business trips to Geneva,Basel and Zurich. It is also, a Transilien train station making the service of the southeast of the Parisian region with the line R of the Transilien (lines Paris-Montereau via Héricy, Paris-Montereau via Fontainebleau and Moret and finally Paris-Montargis). An underground station, common to the RATP and the SNCF, is located under the Rue de Bercy. It is part of the RER A and D lines and offers a correspondence with lines 1 and 14 of the Metro. The main entrance, on the Place Louis-Armand , is on the Rue de Lyon, which leads towards the Place de la Bastille, and on the boulevard Diderot. This station is distinguished by its belfry, a square tower of 67 meters and with clock dials on its four sides.

In my business trips, couple times had to stay overnight there and use the wonderful next door Mercure hotel.  More info here: Mercure hotel Gare de Lyon

A bit of history I like

The Lyon Pier has been operating since 1847. It is officially open to the public on August 12, 1849 under the name of “Paris Railway Pier” in Montereau . The PLM company was unflattered to arrive in front of the new   Prison Mazas. It hoped to be able to go to the Place de la Bastille. The route was used for the creation of the Rue de Lyon. With the increase in rail traffic and the ramp-up of PLM, this pier has been expanded on many occasions.

In 1855 as terminus of the lines of the railway company of Paris to Lyon . This train station is built on a 6 to 8 meters land lift to protect it from the floods of the Seine. It comprises only five lanes covered by a large hall of 220 meters and wide of 42 meters. A portico, spanning the entrance of the courtyard of the arrival, on the right, connected the station proper to a central administration building on the side, building X overlooking the Boulevard Mazas. This station was partially destroyed by a fire in the commune of Paris in 1871 and rebuilt in identical fashion.

In 1900, travellers visiting the Universal Expo in Paris arrived at a new 13-lane Gare de Lyon, inaugurated on 6 April 1901, by Émile Loubet, President of the French Republic. It now has a façade on the place Diderot (present place Louis-Armand) and a high clock tower of 67 meters, covered with a zinc dome. Each side of the bole, of square section, is 8.5 meters wide; The cube of the clock measures 10 meters on the side. We climb to the top by a staircase of 400 steps. The monumental clock is from Paul Garnier with four dials of 6.4 meters in diameter and a surface of 140 m2 of stained glass. The Roman brass numerals are hand-painted and measure one meter high. The needles are aluminum; The big ones weighs 38 kg and measures 4 meters while the small weighs 26 kg and measures about 3 meters. The dials were illuminated from the inside by 250 oil spouts, until 1929. They were replaced by electric lighting, modernised in 2005 by the company Bode .It was stop due to the storm of 26 December 1999, and restarted on 15 February 2005 (with its original mechanism, modernized by a system of Motorization and synchronisation on the hourly signal transmitted by the transmitter of Allouis of France Inter on large waves. This clock tower was thus restored twice: in 1948, then in 2005. The passengers of 1900 also discover the first line of the Parisian subway, which serves the station.

The 13 tracks of the station put into service in 1900 corresponded to the current “letter” lanes. The “figure” lanes, located at the end of the ticket room, are added later, and were originally used only for trains departing from Gare de Lyon. The building evolves little until the 1960’s, the decade in which is built the line RER A network of Île-de-France. The facade on the Rue de Bercy and the Halle Bercy are destroyed; A suburban railway station (now RER D station) and, below, the RER A train station (inaugurated in December 1977) are dug.The creation of a new canopy of more than 4 400 m2 is also planned, in order to house shops and services.

A bit on the description and architecture

In the SNCF Gare de Lyon station, at the top of the columns, are the coats of arms of the cities served. In the wicket room, the large fresco spans a hundred meters parallel to the letter lanes, showing, on a continuous basis, the main destinations accessible by train from the station, to the Côte d’Azur and the city of Menton.

On the first floor, by the grand Staircase, is the mythical restaurant style Second Empire, the Train Blue , as well as its bar le big Ben. The blue Train is a gastronomic restaurant of neo-Baroque style and Belle epoque of the 1900’s. This is a must to try, lovely. More info here!


Some on the transports choices from it and within it

From Gare de Lyon Station originates many TGV running the high-speed south-east line and its extensions (LGV Rhône-Alpes, LGV Méditerranée and LGV Rhine-Rhône), it is, by the number of travelers, one of the first SNCF stations, and the first for large traffic Lines. The TGV to the southeast of France and the intermediate regions, as well as five neighbouring countries (Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and, Germany). The Gare de Lyon is served by two lines of the RER network (A and D), in a underground station sit under the Rue de Bercy, against the main station.

The Gare de Lyon train station is in line with the metro station Gare de Lyon   of lines 1 and 14. The station of Line 1 is located under Boulevard Diderot in the northeast, opposite the line 14 and the underground station (RATP and SNCF) located under the Rue de Bercy in the southwest. In addition, the metro station Quai de la Rapée, located in place Mazas, on the banks of the Seine, at 600 meters, is accessible by exiting the station and taking the street. It is also possible to walk to Austerlitz station (ten minutes walk), on the southwest of Gare de Lyon, the rue Van-Gogh, then the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. The station is served by Bus lines 20, 24, 29, 57, 61, 63, 65, 87 and 91 of the RATP network, plus the OpenTour tourist line, as well as line 4 of the Direct bus to Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. Finally, at night, it is served by the lines N01, N02, 11, 16, N31, N32, N33, N34, N35, N130, N131, N132 and N134 of the Noctilien bus network.

And anecdotes inside of it.  The Gare de Lyon station served as a setting for many films, including: A final scene of the Crossing of Paris (1956) between Gabin and Bourvil; Two scenes from the film The Man of Rio (1964) by Philippe de Broca; and a scene from the film La Grande Vaudrouille (1966) by Gérard Oury, actually play at the Gare de l’Est;

Parking Urbis Paris Lyon at 193 rue de Bercy , you can come in by two in and outs entries such as at 56 Quai de la Rapée and 193 Rue de Bercy. More here: Urbis Gare de Lyon parking

Some webpages to help you plan your trip and passage by here are

Tourist office of Paris on Gare de Lyon

SNCF on Gare de Lyon

Raileurope on Gare de Lyon

Practical info in French on the Gare de Lyon :

Now you are all set to know and come in and out of the Gare de Lyon. Another nice architectural building in Paris

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

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August 11, 2018

Bir-Hakeim , metro and bridge, Paris!

I am back at you , still sunny and nice ,this is Summer in the Morbihan. It’s going to get better at about 21C but heck better still than in some places in Spain up to 45C!!! (113F) , and even south of France! Easy living here lol!

It has become routine for me in these last few years so even if written a blog post on the line 6, figure nice for memories to write a post just on this station/bridge. The previous blog post is here: Metro Line 6 of Paris


My World HQ office at least until this 2018 is/was nearby passing the Tour Eiffel every month. I probably will have another office in 2019, stay tune.

Bir-Hakeim is a station on line 6 of the Paris Metro, located in the 15éme arrondissement. It is an aerial station located on the axis of Boulevard de Grenelle, on the left bank of the bridge of Bir-Hakeim (Pont de Bir-Hakeim), above which passes the line.


The station has two accesses on the sides at the right of  no 65/68 and no 63/66 of the Boulevard de Grenelle. On the occasion of its renovation of 2008, the station hosted Night and Day, a work by American plastic artist Judy Ledgerwood. It is a double stained glass window positioned on the canopy at each end of the station, above the tracks. The work was offered to the RATP in exchange for a Guimard entrance to the Van Buren Street station in Chicago USA..More on the metro here: Metro Bir Hakeim


The station is in correspondence with the station of the Champs de Mars-Eiffel Tower of the line RER C  via an  underground connection. Furthermore, the station is served by lines 1 and 2 of the bus network the Direct bus connecting Paris to the airports of Orly and Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle.. More on that here: Direct bus on stop at Bir Hakeim


Access Bir Hakein for the Tour Eiffel :

A bit on the history I like

The station was opened on 24 April 1906 under the name of Grenelle. It takes the name Bir-Hakeim on June 18, 1949, with as subtitle Grenelle,  when the Bridge of Passy is renamed Bridge of Bir-Hakeim.  Previously there was a pedestrian metal walkway, the Passy bridge built for the Universal exhibition in 1878 here. The subtitle is changed to the Eiffel Tower in 1998, as it is the closest metro station to the famous building (only about 650 meters). However, the Grenelle subtitle will remain displayed until the station’s deep renovation in 2008, where the nameplates are finally matched with the mapping.


Its name commemorates the Battle of Bir Hakeim.  The Battle of Bir Hakeim, named after a derelict water point in the middle of the Libyan desert, south of Tobruk, was a battle of  WWII, which took place from 26 May to 11 June 1942 during the Desert War.  During these 16  days, the 1st Free French Brigade (future 1st Free French Division ) of General Koenig resisted the attacks of the more numerous Italian and German motorized armies (the Afrika Korps), commanded by General Rommel. The respite gained by the Free French allowed the British, then in bad posture, to retreat and triumph at El Alamein.

A bit more on the fabulous bridge of which the metro station is name and very near the Eiffel Tower.

The bridge of Bir-Hakeim is  247 meters long for 25 meters wide passing over the Seine river, and  passing  upstream tip of  Swan Island(île aux Cygnes).  For the underground of the bridge perfectly flat at the bottom for cars and pedestrians, in gradual descent of the right bank(rive droite) to the left bank(rive gauche). The lower level comprises two roads 6 meters wide, separated by a walkway of about 9 meters and two sidewalks 2 meters wide. The upper level is reserved for the passage of the Metro line  6 Nation-Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile. This bridge is metallic throughout its length, except for a stone arch at the île aux Cygnes level and the pillars on either side of the shoreline. The bridge crosses the île aux Cygnes  with as the Pont de Rouelle and the Pont de Grenelle. It is located upstream of the Pont de Rouelle and downstream of the Pont d’Iéna.


The Pont de Bir-Hakeim Bridge, bears a plaque in memory of the battle: in Bir-Hakeim from May 27 to June 11, 1942 ;the First brigade of the Free French Forces pushes the furious assaults of two enemy divisions and tells the world that France has never stopped fighting.  Quay Branly: On the quay is installed a monument in homage to General Diego Brosset and to the dead of the 1st Free French Division , whose 1st Brigade fought in Bir-Hakeim in 1942.

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim is richly decorated with statues like on the stone arch: the Science and the Work upstream,  and downstream Electricity and Commerce. The batteries reproduced upstream and downstream, on each passage of the  Seine, the Nautes and the Blacksmiths riveters the tip of the island, the France Renaissance (reborn of France) , gift of the Danish in 1930..

Nearby are the  Eiffel Tower: Being the closest station to the tower.

Winter velodrome(Vélodrome d’Hiver), colloquially called “Vel ‘d’ Hiv” and famous for its cycling races, it was also the place of first detention of 13 000 Jews rounded up in the capital in 1942 before their deportation. The velodrome was destroyed in 1960 during the development of the Seine sides. A commemorative monument is erected south of the station, above the RER C  train track.

Some webpages to help your plan visiting in addition to my post on the line 6 above are

Tourist office on the bridge Bir Hakeim :

And if not coming by metro/bus here it is very easy:

Parking nearby:

Coming early or very late you can easily find parking along the Port de Suffren next to the Seine as well.

Closest vélib bike station here :

There you go, hope it helps you enjoy this corner of magical Paris.

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

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August 10, 2018

The Grand Cascade at the Bois de Boulogne!

Here we are in Summer, and need places of shade and coolness, so why not head for a park and even better with plenty of water. Wait, you are in Paris, well no problem, the big city has plenty of parks and water spots. I like to tell you about a favorite of my family.

We really did not seek this even if I worked for a while not far across the Seine river. Seeking always new things to see in our belle France, I notice this big park, the Bois de Boulogne. Yes ,it is big ,but it has many things to see here. I rather just tell you about one, the Grand Cascade. The big waterfall!





Napoleon III, an emperor like his more-famous uncle, loved waterfalls as much as he loved hunting. So, when he ordered the massive renovation of Paris in the second half of the 19C, he was going to make sure there were waterfalls at the end of it.

He instructed his city planner, Baron Haussmann, to turn the royal forest on the west of Paris, the Bois de Boulogne  into a large park complete with lakes, 420,000 trees, waterfowl, and deer to hunt. And, of course, a big waterfall. La Grande Cascade was built in 1856 with four thousand cubic meters of  rock brought in from Fontainebleau, and two thousand cubic meters of cement. The lakes and the waterfall are fed with water from a canal on the Ourcq River, so that in this case the waterfall is gravity-fed. In addition to the picturesque waterfall, it has two artificial grottoes. one over the other, which can be visited.   What’s special is that you can walk inside the grottos behind the cascade and view the lake and the park through the falling water.


There was a hunting lodge ,later expanded and turned into what is today a Michelin-starred restaurant also called La Grande Cascade, one of our more enjoyable restaurant experiences in Paris. Located at Allée de Longchamp, 16éme arrondissement of Paris. More here: Restaurant La Grande Cascade

A bit of history I like on the Bois de Boulogne, briefly.

The Bois de Boulogne is a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Rouvray, which included the present-day forests of Montmorency, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Chaville, and Meudon. Today is a large public park located along the western edge of the 16éme arrondissement of Paris near the cities of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine, both in Hauts de Seine dept 92. The land was ceded to the city of Paris by the Emperor Napoléon III to be turned into a public park in 1852.

The Bois de Boulogne received its present name from a chapel, Notre Dame de Boulogne la Petite, which was built in the forest at the command of king Philippe IV of France . In 1308, Philippe  made a pilgrimage to Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the French coast, to see a statue of the Virgin Mary which was reputed to inspire miracles. He decided to build a Church with a copy of the statue in a village in the forest not far from Paris, in order to attract pilgrims. The chapel was built after Philippe’s death between 1319 and 1330, in what is now the city of Boulogne-Billancourt.

What things you can see here beside the Grande Cascade.

Within the boundaries of the Bois de Boulogne are an English landscape garden with several lakes and a cascade; two smaller botanical and landscape gardens, the Château de Bagatelle and the Pré-Catelan; a zoo and amusement park , the Jardin d’Acclimatation; also , the GoodPlanet Foundation’s Domaine de Longchamp dedicated to ecology and humanism, The Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil , a complex of greenhouses holding a hundred thousand plants; two tracks for horse racing, the Hippodrome de Longchamp and the Hippodrome d’Auteuil,  a tennis stadium , Roland Garros, where the French Open tennis tournament is held each year, and windmills, etc.


Napoleon III, in order to decorate its stops in the wood, built the Buffet of the waterfall in 1856. Enlarged for the Universal exhibition of 1900 it is enlarged and adopts a Belle Epoque decor. Damaged during the bombardment, in 1870, the pavilion was demolished around 1950. It is replaced by the current restaurant of the Grande Cascade , its style retro-modern.

Its creation date, its environment and its vegetation bring it a lot of charm. It can be a step in your walk in visiting this green lung from Paris. In the setting sun, the orange light shaving brings very colorful touches to this waterfall. A wonderful spot in Paris especially in Summer and Fall. Bring the whole family going under the grotto waterfall is fun!

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

City of Paris on Bois de Boulogne

Tourist office of Paris on the Bois de Boulogne

You will have a good time here for sure. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!





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August 9, 2018

The wine in Summer, wait the harvest!

And we are getting nice weather, cool breezy and sometimes rainy,  a whole difference from most of the rest of France. After a heat wave, now comes the flooding’s especially in the Gard, Drôme, Bouches-de-Rhône areas down south. We are cruising with 21C or about 70F.

And talking about weather, well it wine time as well. The season period is critical and some signs are ok for the big harvest in September, generally. Some of the latest news from France are

With the heat, the vintage 2018 of the French grape harvest is expected to increase compared to 2017, and quality too,  although some terroirs have suffered much from frost, hail in spring, and mildew mold.  In Bordeaux, two problems arise this year: 10,000 hectares of vine have been damaged by hail since late May and mildew molds have developed, following the rains of May and June.  Mildew has affected other French regions. The most exposed are the organic winegrowers.(BIO) It is Impossible for them to use chemical fungicides to get rid of the fungus that rots leaves and twigs.  Apart from the east, in Champagne and in Alsace, where the harvest is planned  “early “, the heat does not seem to have too advanced the date of start of operations, between mid-August and early September, depending on the regions and colors.  In Fitou, in the Aude (south of France), they start even two weeks later than the previous season. In this small village, was the first in France to launch the crops, which are traditionally in advance thanks to a micro-climate. The favorite wine of my dear late wife Martine, late maternal grandmother who always share it with me.  The  Interprofessional Council of Languedoc AOC Wines, the sales of the Aude whites have “doubled in four years”. With wines exported to the Japanese and American market.  In Alsace (east), Crémant will begin its harvest around 20 August.

Two properties known to me that are going the way of lodging rental and wines as many are developing into these arrangements. I will be in the Loire later this month on similar deals.

Eight Centuries of history , the Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in the Sauternes opens 10 rooms and three suites. The decoration is signed by the Maison Lalique with its crystal and light games. From 250 euros. Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey. Hotel & Restaurant, 33210 Bommes-Sauternes . More here : Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey

After a boutique, inaugurated in the building of the 18C, the trader, Champagne Leclerc Briant opens 5 rooms and a restaurant. From 300 euros per night. At 25 bis, avenue de Champagne, 51200 Épernay. More here: Le 25 Bis Laurent BriantLe 25 Bis Leclerc Briant

And here is one at you, we try for new things always here ,innovation my dear, elementary . A summer drinks: The Crémant d’Alsace Ice Petite Folie, signed Wolfberger, is savored on ice cubes in a pool glass! Try with: 5 thin slices of cucumber to arrange on the walls of the glass, 1 leaf of mint to rub, 12 cl of ice Petite Folie cold and and ice cubes.

In Spring and Summer to spawn and lay, sardines spend the Winter in very cold waters, between 500 and 600 meters deep. And then protects themselves by a thick layer of fat. But of “good” fat, rich in Omega 3 excellent for the heart and his vessels of us! The sardine is mainly intended to be grilled whole on a barbecue , but strong odors particularly unpleasant for the neighborhood. However, there is a way-too poorly understood-to reduce this disadvantage. it is enough to rub first the fish with laurel leaves, then to pour on the embers a few drops of vinegar flavored with thyme and rosemary !! voilà okay

And to wash it down once done, here are two suggestion from one of my fav magazine , Le Revue du vin de France.  A bottle or two to go along with them, well Sardines is one of my favorites fishes and grill on the barbecue is awesome.

White wine, I will take one in Roussillon, in Baixas, at Domaine Brial. Its cuvée Château Les Pins, a Côtes-du-Roussillon, made of white Grenache, Malvasia and Roussanne, is a pure delight. In the nose, notes of grass, thyme, pineapple, chamomile… In the mouth, a good power in alcohol with a final a little minty . More here: Domaine Brial

For a Rosé, I go to Cases-de-Pène, at the Château de Jau (which houses a splendid space of contemporary art, to be visited absolutely). The wines produced here by the Dauré family in the three colors are superb, and I have a weakness for this rosé of Syrah and black Grenache. In the nose, it is an explosion of red and black fruits (strawberry, blackcurrant, and even Violet), in the mouth, there is power, enough roundness to counter the salty side of the sardines and a final of a beautiful length. More here: Chateau de Jau

They are vines that extend to the western limits of the Médoc Vineyard, where the sands of the Landes and the forest eventually prevail. The AOP Listrac-Médoc is with its cousin AOP Moulis-Médoc  the most “continental” of the communal appellations of the Médoc. The area of Listrac and Mouldis is one of the most belated of the vineyard Bordeaux. And this is real wine country, what is commonly refers to as Bordeaux (which is a huge area) the fame comes from the Médoc peninsula.

The soils of the Médoc depend largely on the six old terraces of the Garonne. The floors from Terrace 4 (Terrace 1 being the oldest) are common to all the appellations of the Médoc except those of Moulis and Listrac. In Listrac, it is essentially the deposits of terrace 1 that are found and, to a lesser extent , those of terrace 3. The vineyard rests on a clay-limestone plateau and on the rumps of Graves  and the sandy-gravelly grounds that cover it, coming from these famous terraces of the Garonne. The vineyard soils are generally more clayey than in the other Médoc communal appellations. Hence a higher proportion of merlot (63%).

More on the wines of Listrac: Wines of Listrac Médoc

And more of the wines of Moulis: Wines of Moulis

And to finish two webpages to help you understand the wines of France. First a site on how to present the French wines in the world or Vins de France: Wines of France

And another, from which I got my first Wine knowledge diploma on French wines course many many years ago; they are the main venue for exports of France in what we do better than anyone, Food and Wines. This is Sopexa: Sopexa: Food and Wines from France

Enjoy, we are reaching weekend soon. Enjoy  yours. And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!



August 9, 2018

The Chapelle Expiatoire, Paris!

On the nice month of August ,when all of France is in the midst of its vacation time and me getting ready for middle August to go, let me tell you about something historical, sad, and true located in Paris. I have passed by many times on foot,and once went in, was very moved to see history that can be cruel; then , I have come with the family to talk about it and history behind it.  For those interested in knowing the true France.

I like to tell you a bit about the Chapelle Expiatoire. or Expiatory Chapel or Atoning Chapel in English me think ::)

In the heart of the 8éme arrondissement, halfway between the Gare Saint-Lazare and the Church of the Madeleine, on the Place Louis XVI, (29 rue Pasquier), there is an unknown monument: the Expiatory Chapel or Chapelle Expiatoire.


Sosthène de La Rochefoucauld  duke de Doudeauville , aide-de-camp of the Count of Artois, future king Charles X(younger brother of Louis XVI), proposed first,the building of it  at the end of the year 1815, the creation of a monument atoning in memory of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. King  Louis XVIII (middle brother of Louis XVI)  had then decided to raise at his expense a commemorative Chapel. He commanded it to Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine . The monument was built from 1815 to 1826.


The traditional manifestation of legitimate Royals of France is the annual commemorative Mass given on January 21th  for the peace  of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at the Expiatory Chapel, whose legitimists had obtained the reopening.(The legitimists are those who claim rightful blood rights to the true king of France ,Bourbons now in line Louis XX).

A very interesting monument to discover both for its architecture, but especially for its historical interest. Built on an ancient cemetery that received hundreds of bodies during the French Revolution, witnessed said about 1343 corps, the Chapel was indeed built in the same place where King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were buried after their execution in 1793.


In 1814, the monarchy was restored to France. King Louis XVIII, freshly mounted on the throne, wishes to revive the memory of the Royal family. He decided to transfer the remains of his brother Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette to the Basilica of St. Denis, and to have a atoning Chapel built on the ancient revolutionary cemetery of La Madeleine. A monument that will have a dual vocation: prayer, and Remembrance.

This monument, is indeed a true immersion in the darkest hours of the French revolution, when the terror and executions of masses triumphed over individual freedoms. Receiving every day dozens of bodies, the Madeleine was more a mass grave than a cemetery. In this place were buried the hundreds of Swiss guards massacred during the arrest of the king and his family at the Palais des Tuileries on August 10, 1792 (now there is only the Jardin des Tuileries).


The tombstones that you will see aligned on the sides of the inner garden are also symbolic tombs built in remembrance of these Swiss guards. The guillotine, installed in Place de la Concorde (then called Place de la Revolution), will later operate without interruption from May 1793 to June 1794. From the Royal family to politicians and anyone suspected of royalist conviction, all of them would face  the same fate:   Became unsanitary and harmful, it will be closed in 1794, then the bones transferred to the Catacombs of Paris in 1859.

The composition of the Expiatory Chapel is somewhat inspired by the Queen’s Convent at Versailles. From the outside, the building presents itself as a closed enclosure with a gate giving access to an elevated esplanade framed by two cloistered galleries, Petit Campo Santo, an area of isolation and recollection. In the background, a tetrastyla portico with a Doric-style pediment giving access to the Chapel. Thus the plans are in a Greek Cross, and one sees the balanced harmony born of the dome and the half-domes surrounding the cubic massif softened by the peristyle. Three vaults, in the butt of a coffered furnace and illuminated by an oculus in their upper part, contribute in  the central dome also with caissons and lace, resting on pendants. The lighting is natural, only shown by the Oculus of the vaults.


In neo-classical style, the Chapel made numerous borrowings from Roman antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance for its realization. Although being a place of worship, you will also notice the discretion of Christian elements, reminding us of the main mission of this Chapel: memory. Inside, you will discover the statues representing Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. On the pedestal of Louis XVI is engraved the testament of the King written before his execution, on that of Marie-Antoinette with the last letter written to the King’s sister, Madame Elisabeth(later ,also guillotine 1794). The building houses two sculpted groups of white marble showing the sovereigns in ecstatic attitude: Louis XVI, to which an angel shows the sky, and Marie-Antoinette supported by religion. Other sculptures, are a bas-relief showing the exhumation of the King and Queen of the Madeleine Cemetery. Finally, the black and white marble altar, visible in the crypt, marks the exact location from which the King and Queen bobies were exhumed.  An unsung monument of great historical richness!


François-René de Chateaubriand said that the Expiatory Chapel  was “perhaps the most remarkable monument in Paris.” I could not argue really.

You can get there on several ways even walking from afar, I go often by car or train and walk from Saint Lazare station. You have the parking Saint Lazare off rue Saint Lazaire with entrance on 20, Rue de Rome. At the Gare Saint Lazare for many public transport choices such as  metro Saint Lazare lines 3, 12 , 13, and  14 metro Saint-Augustin, lines 3 and 9, metro Havre-Caumartin, lines  8, 12, and 14,and Bus lines 32, 43,49, 84 ,and 94.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Chapelle Expiatoire official site

Tourist office of Paris on the Chapel

National Heritage site of France on the Chapel

The Museum Pass includes the Chapel

Enjoy, the real history of France, a time to seek facts and not fake news! For the lovers and seekers of history , this is a must in Paris.  Hope you enjoy it.

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


August 8, 2018

The Seine, the river of Paris and France!

And gosh!! just realized not written much or nothing on the Seine river!! This is the best most glamorous river of France, and not just because it passes by Paris. It goes a long way thru some wonderful towns big and small and full of history and things to see.

In Paris is it just romantic, wonderful, great, gorgeous well you get it right! It has 37 bridges passing over it, and I have written a piece on the bridges of Paris in my blog, here it is.

The Seine river has a length of 777 km, which flows in the Parisian basin and covers Troyes, Paris, Rouen and Le Havre. Its source is located 446 meters altitude from   Source-Seine, in Côte-d’Or dept 21 Burgundy, on the plateau of Langres. Its course has a general orientation from the southeast to the northwest. The Seine throws into the channel between Le Havre and Honfleur. Its watershed, with an area of 79 000 km2, is of interest to nearly 30% of the country’s population.

The Seine is divided into five parts, upstream in Aval: The little Seine, from the source to Montereau-Fault-Yonne (confluence with the Yonne);  La Haute Seine, from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris; The crossing of Paris; The Basse Seine, from Paris to Rouen; and The Seine maritime, from Rouen to La Manche.

The artificial lake of the Orient Forest, up Stream of Troyes, and the lake of Der-Chantecoq upstream of Saint-Dizier were created in the years 1960 to 1970 to regulate the flow of the river.

The sources of the Seine are the property of the city of Paris since 1864. An artificial cave was built the following year to house the main source and the statue of a nymph symbolising the river. It also houses the remains of a Gallo-Roman temple (now buried). Objects testifying of the cult to the sources of the river (Dea Sequana) are exposed to the Archaeological Museum of Dijon.

Here is a list of the main tributaries (greater than 100 km, or basin greater than 1 000 km2 or Débit medium greater than 10 m3  known to the nearest confluence direct from the Seine and located with their confluence by distance (km) with the Western boundary of the Seine estuary  : These are the  Oise Marne, Yonne, Eure Aube Loing Risle Essonne Epte,and Yerre.

The regions and departments crossed are the following, going from the source to the mouth: In the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté: la Côte-d’Or;  In the Greater East region: The Aube and the Marne;  In the Île-de-France region: Seine-et-Marne, Essonne, Val-de-Marne, Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-d’Oise and Yvelines;  In the Normandy region: Eure, Seine-Maritime and Calvados (along the extreme end of the mouth).

In Paris, the floods are measured since 1876 by a hydrometric scale installed at the Austerlitz Bridge( Pont d’Austerlitz) , nevertheless it is the statue of the Zouave of the Alma bridge (Pont de l’Alma) which remains the most popular. This indicator during the flood of January 1910, water reached on this scale the record height of 8.68 meters ( I guess an ecological disaster but we never heard anything much of it ::)) . Since 1870, the height is taken at the station Paris Austerlitz. Although there have been no large floods in the last sixty years, five large floods occurred in the 20C: in 1910, 1920, 1924, 1945 and 1955. The oldest known floods of the Seine were narrated by Julien (358AD) and Grégoire de Tours (February 582AD ). The last one in May to June 2016, the Seine experienced an important flood. The water level peaks at 6.10 meters on the night of June 3 to 4. It’s the biggest flood in Paris for over 30 years. However, it does not exceed the 6.18 meters of the 1982 flood.


The Seine maritime as well as part of the lower Seine are subjected to the tidal regime, which goes up to the dam of Poses in the Eure (60 cm tidal wave). It was still possible to observe in the 1960’s an imposing wave that could reach 4 meters at the time of the great tides and called Mascaret, more locally a Barre. The phenomenon reached its maximum in Caudebec-en-Caux, about halfway between Le Havre and Rouen.

For Mariners and river Navigation Services, the Seine is broken down into:  “Petite Seine” from Marcilly-sur-Seine to Montereau-Fault-Yonne; “Haute Seine” from Montereau-Fault-Yonne to Paris;  “Seine parisienne” inside Paris; “Basse Seine” from Paris to Rouen; and  “Seine maritime” from Rouen to the sea.

The Seine is navigable on a large part of its course. The responsibility for navigation belongs to the waterways of France (VNF) until  Pont Boieldieu in Rouen, and in particular to the navigation Service on the Seine upstream of Amfreville-sous-les-Monts. On the other hand, it does not include the Parisian canals (Canal de Ourcq, Canal Saint-Denis and Canal Saint-Martin) which are managed by the city of Paris.


Between Rouen and Paris, the Seine was channeled in the 19C. Seven lock dams located in Poses-Amfreville-sous-les-Monts, Notre-Dame-de-la-Garenne (Eure), Méricourt, Andrésy, Bougival, Chatou (Yvelines) and Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine) allow the navigation of self-propelled barges (350 tons of freight) Self-propelled Freicinet  template boats  of 38.5 meters, self-propelled river barges (from 800 to 1 350 tons of cargo), 48 to 70 meters, thrust barge convoys (3 000 to 10 000 tons  freight) and Sea-River coasters (4 000 tons of freight). These barges carry, among other things, containers, automobiles, petroleum products, cement, etc.


The port facilities located in Île-de-France belong to the autonomous port of Paris, the first French river port. The main port facilities for freight traffic are located in Limay (Yvelines) and Gennevilliers (Hauts-de-Seine).

The Seine has inspired many painters, and in the19C and 20C , Honoré de Balzac described the Seine from every angle. Gustave Flaubert uses the Seine as a metaphor for the linear flow of time, the symbol of narrative progress. Many poets, French and Francophone, sang the Seine. All too numerous to mention but huge names of all times.

More into Paris proper, the Seine cuts Paris in its midst even if the right bank(rive droite)  occupies a space more important than the left bank( rive gauche). In Paris, its length occupies nearly 13 km, with a depth varying between 3.40 and 5.70 meters. Its width varies from 30 to 200 meters. The normal holding of the reach of Paris, i.e. the altitude of the surface in relation to the sea level, is about 27 meters. In Paris, the Seine is crossed by 37 bridges, including four footbridges accessible only to pedestrians. See my post on bridges of Paris above.


The course of the Seine is dotted with many sights. Near Paris a springs from the Seine to Source-Seine; Châtillon-sur-Seine with the numerous tributaries of the Seine, its ancient streets and the Vauclusian source of the Douix; Troyes and its ancient city center with its Churches and Cathedral; Moret-sur-Loing, which is close to the confluence of the Loing with the Seine and the painters; Thomery and the Forest of Fontainebleau; Paris, and the  the banks of the Seine.

Outside Paris we have Bougival and its Frog Park (parc de la Grenouillére)  on the island of Bougival (île de Bougival) , whose extension is the island of Chatou (île de Chatou) ; Chatou and its Maison Fournaise, rendezvous of the Impressionists and often painted by them;  Saint-Honorine and the Musée de la Batellerie (river boat building) (Yvelines); Poissy and its 12C Collegiate Church, where King St. Louis (Louis IX)  was born and baptized; Mantes-la-Jolie and its 12C Collegiate Church; La Roche-Guyon and its castle (Val-d’oise), where the comic writer Edgar P. Jacobs has located one of the adventures of Blake and Mortimer, The Diabolical Trap; Giverny and the House of Claude Monet (Eure); The Andelys and the Château-Gaillard; Rouen, the medieval town (Seine-Maritime);  Caudebec-en-Caux and the Church of Notre-Dame de Caudebec-en-Caux, masterpiece of flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance; The Tancarville Bridge; The Pont de Normandie; Honfleur and its port; Le Havre rebuilt by the architect Auguste Perret after WWII.

Mantes La Jolie

The wonders of the Seine river even beyond Paris. It is good to take a cruise ride beyond the city into the dept 77 Seinte-et-Marne or to Rouen in Seine-Maritime dept 76.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The Seine from the city of Paris

The boat companies on the Seine by Paris:

Navigation maps of rivers of France:

Tourism navigation on cruises etc on the Seine river :

You have it all, now enjoy the Seine river, a magical body of water on a magical city of the world, Paris and beyond.

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

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