Posts tagged ‘Versailles’

March 6, 2021

The other sights of my Versailles!

And this is a small old post I like to revive, update as it is from my dear Versailles. If you have read my blog you know that I lived there for 9 years before moving to the Morbihan Breton in France. It is one of those cities that no matter where you are now in the world you always look back to it and re visit again and again. Hopefully the soonest will be back. For now, hope you enjoy this post on the other sights of Versailles!

Coming along on my latest trip to the Paris region and a visit to my  mother-in-law in Seine et Marne, I could not resist not passing by my beloved Versailles. So many great memories of it that will stay with me and my boys forever, these were really happier times. Versailles is it, royal beautiful quiet and just quant. We love it and its shows in my posts.  We had little time on this trip as our final destination was the family on wife’s side in Seine et Marne 77; however, we made the best of it by walking all over our old neighborhood of Notre Dame. I like to tell you about these sights of Versailles.

We first stop by the gorgeous wonderful lively Notre Dame market (see post) at the square crossing of rue de la Paroisse and rue du Maréchal Foch; we even walked our dog Rex on the streets and he love it, looking and smelling everywhere! It was memorable for all of us including Rex! As this is my old neighborhood!!! Notre Dame!!!

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Of course, we stop by the neighborhood Church and the Royal Church of Versailles, Notre Dame, (see post) behind it was my home ::) . This is a very nice historical Church of France; the kings and family members were baptised here and birth recorded and deaths all is here in the basement sacristy!

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We went over to see the Porte Saint Antoine (see posts) on bd Saint Antoine, which was our easy entry to the property of the castle and our jogging, walking and just killing time space with glorious lunch/snacks at the Petit Trianon, Angelina (see posts).   While driving out we went by the new renovated and very nice Monument Américain , the American monument featuring the heroes of the US war of independance and the help back to France in WWI, statues of the Marquis de La Fayette and General Pershing (see post).

We, then were able to take new shots of the businesses we patronise while living here and then visiting, such as the Gibert & Joseph book store in rue de la Paroisse as well as my Nicolas wine store, the old favorite resto Le Boeuf à la Mode, and the old Cyrano cinema as well as some shots of Rue de la Paroisse and Rue des Reservoirs. And of course, the big photo on my way to my old house behind Notre Dame.  Gorgeous Versailles always was and is and will be me think!

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I leave you with that though a medium size loaded with commodities town full of architecture, history of the world, and quant streets to walk by with friendly people even in the maze of tourist, over 7 millions come over each year 98% visiting the Chateau de Versailles, but do come out , it is full of off the beaten paths beauties to see and marvel. Enjoy it fully without moderation!!! And take a look at my other posts on Versailles in my blog.

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

March 6, 2021

Salon de Diane , Versailles of course!

And I have many many posts on Versailles in my blog, and if you have read it you know why. One of these older post was on the Salon de Diane, one of my favorite rooms. I like to update, revise links on this post and hope you like it as I.

And as I am on a roll in my beloved, beautiful and Royal Versailles ; let me continue somethings to ahhh about. Versailles is sublime and one needs to see it more to understand is not Paris it preceeds Paris, it is part of the constitution of France a de facto capital of France! My kind of town!  While walking in the city you come to realise the multitude of things to see that is not castle related. However, there is always the castle. Inside of it one of the places that always fascinates me is the Salon de Diane ,and I like to tell you a bit more about it.

The Salon of Diane is a room of the Château de Versailles, and my favorite room. Part of the King’s Grands apartments, this room decorated with the theme of Diane, goddess of Roman mythology, served as a billiard room in the time of Louis XIV. The lounge communicates to the west with the Salon de Mars and to the east with the Salon de Venus. And the door of the bottom, on the right, led to the second flight of the staircase of the  Ambassadeurs. You will see in the center of the ceiling, Diane accompanied by the nocturnal hours and the cool hours of the morning, presiding over hunting and navigation. The salon is  about 10 meters long by 9 meters wide and 7,5 meters high.

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The King’s Grands appartements constitute the public part of the monarch’s life, which received the court and foreign ambassadors with pomp. There, especially at the time of king Louis XIV, was a veritable staging of absolute power,   great power for official receptions, feasts, concerts, etc. The decor, of infinite richness, constitutes a real work of art , and it is not an inch of ceiling, tapestry or furniture that does not advocate the virtues of the king. The walls of the Grands appartement are panelled with marble and were exhibited in the Royal Collection of antique statues and busts or enriched with paintings, a number of which are now  taken to the Louvre Museum.

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King Louis XIV originally used the Salon de Diane as a billiards room. He was a master at this game. The billiard table stood in the center of the room, covered with a fringed crimson velvet carpet. Stands covered with Persian rugs embroidered in gold and silver were placed around the room on which the women sat to observe the game.

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Some of the decorations to keep an eye on are in the ceiling; Diane on her chariot presiding with hunting and navigation, in ancient Greece, the goddess of hunting, Diane, was associated with the moon for her coldness. She was also the sister of Apollo, the god of the sun. The covings are adorned with hunting scenes of ancient heroes. Here the allusion is transparent, because it is common knowledge that Louis XIV was a great hunter. At the north side see Alexander chasing the lion, the east is Cyrus chasing the boar, and on the south Julius Caesar sending a Roman colony to Carthage,and the west see Jason and the Argonauts.

The chimney is surmounted by a painting representing Iphigenia saved by Diane. A small relief of marble representing the escape in Egypt is embedded in the apron of the chimney. In the middle of the wall facing the windows stands a bust carved in 1685 of king Louis XIV at the age of 27 years. The brilliant performance of this sculpture is one of the masterpieces of the artist Bernini.

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Some of the nice paintings here are all by Louis-Gabriel Blanchard  witht the exception of this one: The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, by Charles Le Fosse; then,  Diane and Endymion, Camaïeu above the doors, evoking the legend of Diane:; Diane and Actaeon, Diane protecting Arethusa, and offering of flowers, and the Sacrifice to Diane.  Some of the nice sculptures here are: Bust of Louis XIV by Bernini from 1665 in white marble; Ancient Roman woman bust with head in white marble, onyx shirt from Egypt or Asia Minor, tunic in Brocatelle; Ancient bust of Roman Empress with head in white marble, the onyx shirt of Egypt or Asia Minor, the tunic and the pedestal in flower of peach, this marble comes from Serravezza in the Carrara basin in Italy.

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Just marvelous indeed the whole and its parts. You must come even if lately due to its worldwide popularity has become a bit crowded. Pick early hours, bring your ticket with you, go in by the back either the orangerie or the better and mine  porte Saint Antoine, and try the Wednesday mornings when school is out and kids with their parents are elsewhere.

The Grand Apartments including the Salon de Diane (Diana Room) at the Château de Versailles:  http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/palace/king-state-apartment#the-venus-room

Enjoy it fully ,its a must to see in your lifetime . See the Salon de Diane in the Château de Versailles, sublime! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 4, 2021

The Grand Trianon of Versailles!!!

And here I am updating this wonderful monument of my beloved Versailles in my belle France. I have come here many times even if pictures are scarse; as said, living and visiting are two different things. Let me update for you and I , the Grand Trianon of Versailles! Hope you enjoy it as I, and see my other post on it.

Now going back to my previous neck of the woods so saying, this is Versailles hello world!! The Royal city of Versailles has many wonders and some seldom visited . Surveys done by the city of Versailles tell us that 98% of visitors to the city only come to see the palace/museum!! Oh my God, there is so much more in Versailles, my town ,another beloved spot on earth for me.  9 glorious happy years of family living with memories to last a lifetime. Let me tell you about a gem, call the Grand Trianon.

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Before the current Trianon there was a building built by the architect Le Vau on the order of king Louis XIV, which was called the Trianon de porcelain. Its walls were covered with Delft tiles. Destroyed in 1687, it was replaced from the following year by the Trianon de marble. The architect was Jules Hardouin-Mansart. This is the palace we see today. The king reserved it for the feasts, the concerts, the snacks in the middle of the rest. His garden was covered with flowers, specially chosen for their colors and smells.

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The pieces of the Grand Trianon are all marked by history. The Kings and the emperor who lived there left their mark. The most visible are those of Napoleon I and Louis-Philippe. The Trianon-sous-Bois wing was a time reserved for the President of the French Republic. After the visit of the castle, the visit of the Grand Trianon is indispensable. Apart from the architecture, the furniture and some pieces of porcelain, you can admire dozens of beautiful paintings of the great century, including the works of Charles de la Fosse ,and Jean Jouvenet .

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The water plays an important part in all the property and no exception at the Grand Trianon, when you see the Buffet d’Eau done in 1703.  A huge fountain topped by figures of Poseidon, and Amphitrite, a wonderful fountain by the gardens.

The gallery of the Cotelle or galerie de la Cotelle done in  1687, to decorate the gallery, it was ordered 24 paintings illustrating the groves and fountains of the gardens of Versailles. 21 of these paintings are of the painter Jean Cosuch (1645-1708). The room is 52 meters long and 7 meters wide. Done by the Jean Cotelle, the young. They show forest or gardens that today are no longer, but were, such as the Bosquet de Labyrinthe, bosquet de l’Arc de Triomphe, Bosquet du Théatre d’Eau, and the bosquet du Marais de Mme de Montespan. They were re installed later by Louis-Philippe and do not shown inside the castle until 1913, in memory of François Francine, a great gardener influential in Versailles the same as André Le Notre. It  communicates with the so-called Trianon-sous-Bois wing. It was built to serve as a reception room. Under the Empire, it housed a collection of model boats; Under Louis-Philippe, a collection of bronze and art objects.   As in the past, this gallery is now and then used for official receptions. So it is quite often closed to the public.

The Music Room or salon de la musique, after being the first antichamber of king Louis XIV, this room became a music parlor. The shutters that are seen at the top of the wall facing the windows opened in a grandstand where the musicians were installed. The room became an officer’s lounge under the Empire, then a billiard room under Louis-Philippe.

The Grand Trianon or Trianon de marble is  within the park of the castle or more appropiate the Domaine of Versailles. The exterior of the building is constructed of pink marble which gives it the name Trianon de marble, as opposed to the Trianon of porcelain which preceded it in the same location.  The Grand Trianon is made up of a courtyard, of a palace, and of a set of gardens and basins;  it includes at its entrance a large courtyard called the Cour d’honneur, framed by a building divided into two wings connected by a gallery with columns. The right wing is extended by a perpendicular wing called Trianon-sous-Bois. The building overlooks a set of French gardens and basins, including the flat bottom basin, the so-called ear basin and the Horseshoe Basin.

It was the place of residence or passing of several French or foreign royal figures, including king Louis XIV, tsar Peter I of Russia or queen Marie Leszczyńska, wife of king Louis XV. More recently there were General de Gaulle, or foreign heads of State on official visits to France, such as the American President Richard Nixon in 1969, or the Queen of the United Kingdom Elisabeth II in 1972. The bit of history I like tells us that in 1663 and 1665, king Louis XIV bought from the monks of the Abbaye Sainte-Geneviève de Paris the lands and the village of Trianon (named Triarnum in a papal bull of 1163).

Completed in 1672, the first castle of Trianon, known as the Trianon de porcelain, will remain so for 15 years. In Faïence porcelain very fragile, it quickly suffered the wear and tear of time and stopped pleasing the king who ordered its demolition in 1686, shortly after the visit of the ambassadors of the king of Siam, to build in his place a wider abode and a style resolutely different. The Trianon de marble is rebuilt on the rubble of the former Trianon de Porcelaine, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the first architect of the King, is responsible for its construction. The project is established in 1687. The Grand Trianon, or Trianon de marble, was inaugurated in the summer of 1688 by king Louis XIV and Madame de Maintenon, who make it their private residence. The king regularly organized dinners with the aim of controlling the Court. Few guests were sleeping there because of the limited number of rooms. At the end of his reign, king Louis XIV opened more widely the Grand Trianon.  The panelling of the lounges welcomed many princes of the Royal house like the Grand Dauphin, the Duchess of Burgundy, the Duke of Berry and Duchess of Berry, the Duke of Chartres, the Duchess of Bourbon and the Duchess of Orléans, Madame Palatine.

King Louis XV is totally uninterested in the place, but he comes to hunt. the Queen Marie Leszczyńska, who resides there since August 1741 with more retreat, and pushed by her favourite, the Marquise de Pompadour, king Louis XV decided to retake the palace of Grand Trianon in 1749. He built the French pavilion, endowed with a farmyard, and the French garden. Finally, the construction of the Petit Trianon,(next post) between 1761 and 1768, gives its new name to the Trianon de marble, the Grand Trianon. Marie-Antoinette far prefers the Petit Trianon to the grand, spite of this, she gives some performances in the gallery of the Cotelle.

We have to wait for the first Empire for the domain to regain its importance. In 1805, emperor Napoleon I ordered the restoration of the two palaces. The emperor made many stays at the Grand Trianon between 1809 and 1813. In order to guarantee its security and to facilitate direct access to Grand Trianon without going through the Palace, it erected the entrance gate of the front yard and the two pavilions reserved for its personal guard. Under king Louis XVIII, no change is made to the Trianons, only the imperial symbols are removed.  In 1830, king Charles X stopped for a few hours on his way to exile. From 1830 to 1848, Marie-Amélie of Bourbon-Sicily renovated the castle to the liking of the day to live there, and married his daughter, Marie d’Orléans, with Alexandre de Württemberg, in 1837. Like his predecessor, king Louis-Philippe I made a halt at Trianon on the road to exile in 1848.

The Treaty of Trianon, which split the Balkans, was signed at the Grand Trianon by the warring powers of WWI in 1920. From 1959, General de Gaulle thought of making the Grand Trianon a presidential  residence. Only, the costs to be incurred for this were very important ; however it serves as a framework for the official receptions of the French c Republic, including the G7 Summit of 1982, the presidential guests residing in the wing of the Trianon-sous-Bois. Among the welcomed heads of state were the American presidential couple John and Jackie Kennedy, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the Duke of Edinburgh, the latter being the Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1992. The room occupied by General de Gaulle remained as is, with two separate beds, very long ,due to his size.

A bit of overall description on the rooms are:

Apartment of the Impératrice, Chambre of the Empress ,Salon of the Chapel ,Salon of the Lords. The péristyle  of the Grand Trianon is the colonnaded gallery connecting the right wing and the left wing of the Grand Trianon, but also the courtyard to the gardens. It consists of open arcades on the courtyard and a colonnade on the garden. The nickname Trianon de marble of the Grand Trianon is due in particular to this peristyle whose pilasters are made of this rock=marbre.  There is a large living room ,salon de Musique,  Salon Louis-Philippe’s ,Salon of Malachite .The gallery of Cotelle, located in the north wing, features 11 windows and 5 windows are connected to the Garden lounge. It takes its name from the painter Jean Cotelle the young, portraitist and miniaturist of king Louis XIV who realizes 21 out of 24 paintings that are attached to it Salon of Jardins.

We come out again, in my game, to the fountain of L’Enfant au Carquois at the garden,  by the old garden of the king on the north wing, a fountain with shells,and the only of its kind in France at the théatre d’eau one of the most famous gardens of Louis XIV done by Andre Le Notre between 1671-1673.  You can see the other two element of this triology at the National Gallery of Washington DC USA. We go back in to the chambre de l’empereur or emperor’s bedroom, at the petit appartement of the Emperor at the north wing. This was the personal bedroom of Napoleon Ier,  he has five rooms such as the antiroom, personal office, bathroom, bedroom, and breakfast room. They were decorated and setup between 1805-1807 by the best artists of the time. Even after the divorce with Josephine the colors and decorations stay.  Napoleon could see the castle from the Grand Trianon and only the abdication in 1814 stops receiving the entire imperial family at the Grand Trianon. The emperor’s office finish in 1812 is the only room completely decorated to his tastes.  Inside by the middle wing, you will find the Boudoir de l’Emperatrice Marie-Louise. In 1805 the emperor has done it for his mother but never use it, and in turn was given to his new wife in 1810. Marie Louise is the daughter of the niece of Marie Antoinette!  We stay inside to go to the Vasque aux malachites, done on 1807-1809 at the salon des malachites in the north wing. This is a huge table cover given as a present by the tzar Alexander 1er to Napoleon Ier for the alliance of Tilsit in 1802.  A huge gift as the malachite is a precious stone only found in Siberia.

We continue our walk inside to see the bed or lit de la chambre de l’imperatrice, done in 1809, at the south wing. The bed was ordered b Napoleon Ier before been use by Louis XVIII in 1824;  It was Louis Philippe who brought back to the castle to show the legimate claim by the Orleans side of the royals to the claim of the kingdom of France. Worth mentioning that he voted for the execution of Louix XVI being a Bourbon in 1793, and his wife Marie-Amelie de Bourbon-Sicily was the niece of Louis XVI!!! cousin of Louis XVII and of the Emperatrice Marie Louise. He Louis Philippe took the throne after replacing Louis XIX that ruled for only 20 minutes ! It was here in the Grand Trianon in 1830 that he took over after firing all the ministers. In his favor, in 1837 he declare the Domaine de Versailles for the Glory of France, a museum!!! so saving it from demolition and allow us to see the beauty we see today.

Moving on to the  Small apartment of the emperor’s , Bedroom of the emperor’s,  antichamber of the emperor’s , topographical office of the Emperor’s,  cabinet particular of the Emperor’s; Breakfast living room, bath of the Emperor , and Trianon-sous-Bois in the north wing of the Grand Trianon built in to overcome a lack of space, this wing is built shortly before 1708 and is occupied by Madame Palatine, sister-in-law of King Louis XIV, and his family.  The billiard room is transformed into a chapel under king Louis-Philippe Ier. The marriage of Marie d’Orléans, daughter of Louis-Philippe, with Alexandre de Württemberg is held here in 1837. Columns in the Chapel come from the grove of the Dômes, and a stained glass window representing the assumption of the Virgin an order of the National manufactory of Sèvres.  And we finish the tour with the Bailiffs ‘ room ,waiting room for first aid and office of the President , the small living room , dining hall , Chapel of Louis-Philippe during the construction of the Trianon de marble, André le Nôtre traces in the gardens geometrical figures in compartment sections of greenery. The gardens are completed after his death, in 1700, by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, who, in 1702, decorates them, among others, with a water buffet and creates groves and halls of greenery. Only the pride of Le Nôtre, the garden of Springs, located in the hollow of the gallery of the Costelle and Trianon-sous-Bois are preserved.

We move a more recent historical room, Bureau du Général de Gaulle, or his office. apartements of the Presidency in the wing of the Trianon under woods, or sous bois. In the extreme north of the Grand Trianon, you find this room ,redone since 1962 ,and not well known to the public. It was redone after Napoleon III left it; and given to the chief of State. He was used for receptions and welcome of dignataries visiting France. This events were terminated by Jacques Chirac that from March 29 1999 returned it to the castle to show as museum piece to the public.

There you go a full story tour. A wonderful place indeed in my beloved Versailles. You can avoid the lines rush from place d’Armes by going thru the porte Saint Antoine direct to the Grand Trianon ;this is done if you have a car or take bus line 19 by ave Saint Cloud to stop Parly II le Chesnay, walking down couple hundred meters on your right hand side.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and you must come are

The Château de Versailles on the Grand Trianon:  http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/estate-trianon/grand-trianon

The tourist office of Versailles on the Grand Trianonhttps://en.versailles-tourisme.com/the-grand-trianon.html

Hope it helps you enjoy the Grand Trianon as much as it does me. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

February 27, 2021

How about shopping in Versailles!!!

Ok not the most expert person for shopping… but did some in my lovely Versailles and would like to update the post on shopping in Versailles with new links. Hope you enjoy it and do shop in the city while visiting it, great combination indeed me think. This is a black and white series post as pictures in the many other posts on Versailles! Shopping something I would love to do there right now!!!

The question is ,how about shopping in Versailles?  Anyway, when most come to Paris and think that a thing to do IS to go to Versailles is not right. Paris is 75, Versailles is 78. Paris is the Capital of France, and Versailles by constitution is the de facto capital of France if changes or modifications are done to the constitution. Versailles is in another province/State/Department than Paris, that is Yvelines dept 78.  So, I worked in Paris but lived in Versailles, so I know the shopping from both sides. Versailles is the normal everyday town you love to live in ,yes!

One was on the wonderful shopping center mall of Parly II, the best mall in the whole region of île de France in my opinion. Even if actually is the town next over Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt. Here you have the main department stores like in that other town, Au Printemps and BHV as well as Lenôtre, and many many other stores even a Toys R Us and Truffaut, and FNAC as well as grocery store and cinema. The now Westfield Parly II mall webpage: https://fr.westfield.com/parly2/stores

The Parly II is a housing complex chic Chesnay-Trianon , the biggest division housing in Europe with an extension on two neighboring towns ,Le Chesnay and Rocquencourt (now join as one town); and the mall, it is also, the high school for my boys in the town of Le Chesnay that is just crossing a street to Versailles and uses the same transport network. It now has 182 stores with over 4000 parking spaces! The Parly II housing webpage: https://www.parly2.com/

In fact,the story tell us that the center was to be called Paris 2 but the Parisians objected for fear of losing business, so the name of Parly was used instead ( a town in the dept Yonne ,region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté). The idea really is to do something on the American style mall/living. You can reach it on the Phébus network of Versailles on lines 1 2 3 5. Also, line 19 of Transdev will get you there from the stop terminal at the avenue Saint Cloud just before the Ave de l’Europe bus depot and direction Les Mureaux you stop at Parly II.

However, there is a lot more than just a mall. Plenty of nice stores some very historical all over town in inner Versailles. Some already with posts and pictures in my blog.

The marché des fleurs is open Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays from 8h to 19h and Sundays mornings. This is at corner of Ave de l’Europe and Ave de Saint Cloud.  Further away you come to my favorite of all markets the Marché Notre Dame of course at the Place Notre Dame. The non food market is held Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 11h to 19h, and the food markets out on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays mornings from 7h to 14h , and inside the halles on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 7h to 19h30 and Sundays from 7h to 14h. Plenty of underground parking too. The Sun King Louis XIV gave us the Marché de Notre Dame in 1721. the actual place was given out after the Domaine de Clagny built in 1665 was demolished. It was renovated with todays halles in 1841. It is the center of the city, if you want to know us! The stories tell us the first inhabitants of the city started arriving in 1671 and so did the market!

The city of Versailles on the Notre Dame market (mine!!!) : https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/notre-dame-market.html

The city of Versailles on the Flower market (yes!! ours) : https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/flower-market.html

And right around here you have the Place du Notre Dame with plenty of shops and restaurants as well. Ahh but wait, did you know the market at Place du Notre Dame is older than the castle? And the halles that surround it are 360 years old? Located in the heart of the city around the Place du Notre Dame and two big streets crossing in a cross the square such as rue de la Paroisse, and Avenue du Maréchal Foch; then you have streets all around the halles such as rue Durcis,rue au pain, Rue de la Pourvoierie, and rue André Chenier ,all founded by king Louis XIV. The old pavilions were destroyed in 1841 and replaced by the covered halles you see today on the method Baltard.

About 20 years ago you can buy here in wholesale, where the store owners came to buy their products that eventually will sell to you in retail. They will buy their products by aisles such as fish, herbs/spices, flour,and beef and these gave the name to the covered halles you see today. There was even an animal market with cows, pigs, and chickens sold.  However, even the above is newer. There was an even older market here when in November 1634, on the initiative of Martial de Loménie ,king Louis XIII ordered installed a market here, even replacing an even older market. In August 1740, there were manifestions here due to the little finding of wheat, the bakers of Paris came here to buy flour and the locals repulse them strongly. A permanent presence of the Swiss guards was needed.

At the French revolution, the market falls in disrepair by 1835 the market is purchase by the city of Versailles; no longer part of the Royal domain, the merchants are taken their businesses and poorly indemnized. Several execution were carried out here. And after going in terrible shape the city eventually rebuilt them and the new market opened September 15, 1842.  There is a parking managed by Vinci Park underneath the place du Notre Dame with 700 spaces and the pedestrian access are on each square of the market with elevators/lifts or escalator. Since 2014, they have painted the square on the market with paintings or trompes-l’œil; they represent the knights of the Carrousel, reminding us of the equestrian history of the city, done by the school of mural arts or the École d’art mural de Versailles. 

The market is very close to another wonderful old world shopping experience that is the Passage des antiquaires. It is a pedestrian only passage of the rue des deux portes leading to the Place du Notre Dame and to the rue Carnot, itself next to the avenue de Saint-Cloud , and a bit further the Place d’Armes, in front of the central façade of the Palace/Museum of Versailles. The passage des Antiquaires webpage: http://www.antiques-versailles.com/le-quartier/le-passage/

I have to tell with pride, this was my district. The quartier Notre Dame, in the axis of the Avenue de Paris, and takes its name from the Church of Notre Dame, the castle parish and oldest (where all princes were baptized, birth certificates and marriages) created while the construction of the city was carried out under king Louis XIV. In this wonderful neighborhood or quartier you ,also, have the theater or Théâtre Montansier opening in 1777,the city history museum of musée Lambinet, the bailiffs mansion or Hôtel du bailliage that housed during the monarchy the local tribunal courthouse ; today the nice courtyard of the neighborhood of antiquaries ,and the shopping full streets of rue de la Paroisse, rue Hoche and the rue du Maréchal Foch.

The rue du Maréchal Foch, crosses the city north south and prolonged the Avenue de l’Europe, to continue until the Place Édouard Laboulaye. This was my train station or gare de Rive-Droite-Versailles! It went to Gare Saint Lazare in Paris.  Here you can find the merchants/businesses of Versailles with over 1700 you should find yours. In French, but easy me think. You go to the left hand side , you have three slots, Catégorie (category of stores you are searching such as antiquités/art), sous-catégorie (more in detail such as céramique but no need to choose this slot), and Quartier (district like Notre Dame).  Versailles commerces webpage: https://www.versaillescommerces.fr/marchands/

An interesting site the Cours des Senteurs (Court of Scents) with an offer on perfums like those in the Maison des Parfums, but also, fine gourmet grocery store, Toile de Jouy with fabrics in colorful motifs from a historical and famous manufacture. The restaurant Table du 11, not yet tasted but look good; and salon de thés with sweets goodies; and from here you can access the Salle du jeu de Paume, birthplace of the founding act of the French democracy, quaint streets of the district of Saint Louis, and into the Potager du Roi vegetable garden of the king. More in the Versailles tourist office: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/garden-and-court-of-scents.html

The above and more are in the other district Saint Louis on commerces/businesses webpage: http://versaillescotesaintlouis.com/les-commerces-adherents-a-versailles-cote-saint-louis

The Versailles tourist office has more info on the several shops/businesses in town here: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/the-best-shopping-districts-in-versailles#!/page/1

Of course, this cannot be all of them, will need a series of posts. I have given you above the most important me think and links to see others. And bien sûr if have a question on any let me know.  Hope you enjoy the ride to a Royal , magnificent city, that is a lot more than a castle. My VERSAILLES!!

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

February 26, 2021

Retirement time in France!!!!

And as I have done a couple of post on the question of Retirement time in France, this is my third update on the subject. Hope you enjoy the brief post and help some to think about retirement in France from a French perspective! Here I go!

If you have read my blog you know that I was living in the USA as an American for 31 years! While there met a French women in Paris and became my wife while deciding to live with me in Florida USA, where we spent the last 13 years of my life there. We had 3 boys born in Florida! We did visits to France every year of our marriage there and in the course of this life became fluent in French and a citizen of France!

Eventually, my dear wife Martine asked me if we can come back for her to live in France and after falling deeply in love with the country and she, I decided to make the move in August 2003 I was here and she and the boys and my parents followed after selling our home there in December 2003! We came to live in the gorgeous faboulous great city of Versailles, Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region of by then already my belle France! And to boot I worked in Paris and she at Roissy CDG airport! While here I had the sad episode of losing my dear loving Mother Gladys! on December 27, 2007. My father stayed with me.

As my job required a lot of international travel and many times expats renditions of up to 3 months away from home, she asked me to slow down. Again, I could not say no to my mamie Bleu and found me a job in near Vannes, the Morbihan dept 56 of the lovely region of Bretagne. We end up purchasing a home in Pluvigner.  The area was superbe and we really enjoy the country side having spent many time in Vannes proper and traveling all over France and Europe by car, train, and plane! We both thought of retirement.

Unfortunately for me as life can never be easy, my dear loving wife Martine passed away on April 30 2018 while living in Pluvigner. She could not make it to retirement which we have thought either in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Versailles, Vannes or south of Madrid Spain where we had thought of even if not retired there to purchase a second home for vacations. All thrashed due to her passing.

I stayed with my 3 young men and Dad at home. And now thought about my retirement time, where? As everything that has passed and my Dad Elio sick with a cerebral infactus or AVC Cérébrale we take care of him at home and so far so good. My decision was to stay in Pluvigner as my boys have jobs and support locally so at this stage a move would have been more disrupting to us.

I negotiated with my boss CFO an early exit or early retirement or retraite anticipée that can be done here and just got the written approval!!!!!!! This in a few words is when your company feels that they can save on your salary more by paying you a lump sum and discharging you than continue to pay your salary for probably a lot longer… I had the best timing as when I go out effective March 1 2021 I already can ask for my retirement here!!! And I did lol!!! well will do as officially is from March 1st.

This will allow me more time on the blog lol!! more time with my boys, and Dad been able to help him more. We will continue to travel as already done it with the whole gang including our border collier/labrador (borador) dog Rex who is now 3 yrs + old. And my dog is very good already laying down next to me and follows me everywhere!! love him dearly and my dear late wife Martine gave him the name as it is a dog from an Austrian police serie with a german shepperd name Rex too, the series is name Inspector Rex or Rex chien flic in French or Kommissar Rex in German and Il commissario Rex in Italian.

Here are my previous two posts on Retirement in France from

February 12 , 2019: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/02/12/retirement-time-in-france-opinions/

December 31 ,2019: https://paris1972-versailles2003.com/2019/12/31/retirement-time-in-france-opinions-2/

And this will be my retirement town as current Pluvigner tourist info: http://www.pluvigner.fr/listes/tourisme/

And this is our area tourist office, the Bay of Quiberon on Pluvignerhttps://www.baiedequiberon.co.uk/pluvigner

So after much thought and unfortunate events in our lives we end up deciding to stay put. Now waiting this pm for our delivery of farm produce from local farmers who deliver the goodies to us!!! The country kind of living in the real France as the saying goes. You are welcome to stop by or let me know if nearby for a get together of whatever! always nice to do me think. And of course, will continue with my blog posts and updates of older posts until possible again to travel. Stay safe

Thank you for reading me over the last over 10 years in my blog, really appreciated. It has been a pleasurable ride indeed. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!!

February 26, 2021

The Yvelines dept 78; memorable cities!!

And love it to update this older post in my blog! Talking about my former home department 78 Yvelines in the île de France region of my belle France! I spent my first 9 years in France here living in Versailles, but did went all over including these memorable cities that I like to tell you a bit more about! Hope you enjoy it as I.

On a mundane day in the west coast of France, we remember our wonderful times too in the west of Paris, Yvelines dept 78.  A magical moment to lived in the Royal city of Versailles and worked in the most beautiful city in the world , Paris. We went around a lot, and on many not your typical tourist towns but nevertheless it is our life and my blog is all about that. Footprints all over France ,and the world.  I like to share with my readers some of these towns, all memorable for our family. These are La Verriére, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, and Elancourt.

La Verrière only 40 km from Paris and 20 km from Versailles. It is believe La Verrière occupy the site of the village of Watreias in the forest of Yvelines that was given by king Pepin in 768 to the Abbey of Saint Denis.

There are many good roads here and taken many times when lived in Versailles, the N10 passes north of the town and the D58 takes you to Elancourt ( mini France park) and the south to Mesnil-Saint-Denis to Dampierre-en-Yvelines. The D13 takes the western part of the town to the northwes at Montfort –l’Amaury ( Heredia’s house seat 79 académie Française) and on the south to Mesnil-Saint-Denis and later Chevreuse.  There is a great train service here and my oldest son used it a lot. There is a nice train station connecting with the line N Rambouillet-Paris Montparnasse and Line U La Verriére – La Défense.

A bit of history I like

The parish of La Verrière was created in 1739 with the fusion of three villages such as La Petite-Verrière, la Grande-Verrière and l’Agiot, it finally became a city in the French revolution but stayed small during the 20C even if the situation was good bordering the big road N10 that goes from Paris to Chartres.  In 1972 , there was a union of towns into a metropolitan area or agglomeration call the Nouvelle Ville de Saint Quentin en Yvelines, La Verrière was part of this area. Thing to see from afar and the gardens is the Chateau de La Verriére . It was in 1507, the lands were purchased by Barthélemy Séguier, noble and judge that starts to built the castle , his descendant Jean Séguier, adviser to the king Louis XIV finished it in 1660. The gardens were done by André Le Nôtre gardener of the king. Over the years transformed into many things it is now the psychatric center Marcel Riviere.

The City of La Verriére on its history/heritage: https://www.ville-laverriere.com/?Son-histoire

However, how I came to know this town is because my oldest son spent his schooling here initial path to become a commercial agent or salesmen at the specilised school CFA AFFIDA; in lieu of University studies. The school was very nice, good folks and easy to go on direct line train from Versailles or even a bus. 401/415 of the SQYbus network. So , I can say came into this area by car, train ,and bus! for memory lane this is the Affida school webpage: https://www.affida.fr/nos-2-centres/cfa-affida-la-verriere-yvelines-78

In Saint Quentin en Yvelines we love to come shopping at the mall there ,for the cinema and celebrated many younger days birthdays with friends at the bowling alley. The cinema Cine Cité SQY is still there. webpage: https://www.ugc.fr/cinema.html?id=6#

Need to have this picture on the bowling entrance inside even if repeat!

montigny-ugc-cinema-kids-transf-2-movie-jul09

The shopping center has many stores gone now and heard they may demolished it for housing ,unfortunately, the memories will stay on . The Bowling Star is also gone ,I heard and is not listed in their official site so another one for the memories. In the nearby town of Montigny-les-Bretonneux there is an explanation on the bowling but no mention yet is gone: webpage: https://www.montigny78.fr/275/sports-et-loisirs/equipements/bowling-billards.htm

This later town of Montigny-le-Bretonneux ,we used to go to see the baseball games of the Montigny Cougars playing in the French second division or like Triple A level; since 2017 thereabouts ,they have move up to the First division top league in France, their stadium was on our way to the shopping center/cinema/bowling. webpage: http://www.montigny-baseball.com/

The city of Montigny-le-Bretonneux on things to see: https://www.montigny78.fr/116/decouvrir-montigny/patrimoine/le-chateau-de-montigny.htm

And we went as far on the N10 to the town of Coigniéres to buy fresh groceries at discount ;lovely my dear late wife Martine will search for anything! At the Marché-o-Frais, rue de la Gare , and the Grand Frais, 3 rue des Fréres Lumiéres angle rue du Gibet. webpage: https://www.grandfrais.com/magasins/coignieres

The city of Cogniéres on its history/heritage: http://www.coignieres.fr/ouvrages.aspx

And last but not least in this memorable dept 78 Yvelines, when passing on the D58 we had visited at ElancourtFrance Miniature park, model building of the main attractions in France. webpage: https://www.franceminiature.fr/en/attractions

The city of Elancourt on its history/heritage in French : https://elancourt.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir-ma-ville/histoire-et-patrimoine

In all many memorable moments with the boys and now missing their mother even more nostalgic indeed. We cannot forget these towns, it is part of us been French.

This is the agglomeration or metro area of Saint Quentin en Yvelines (SQY)  on tourist info; things to see: https://www.saint-quentin-en-yvelines.fr/fr/sortir-et-decouvrir/tourisme/le-tourisme-sqy

Hope you enjoy this other side of life in France, not visiting but living the real thing. Maybe just maybe you may feel to want to come to these areas just to take a look at how we live normal life away from the tourist throngs , just maybe ,you will be surprise. As I always said, Ernest Hemingway wrote about A Moveable Feast or Paris est une Fête because he only visited there, if he had gone out, he would had had the need to write a second book, France, is a moveable feast!!!

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

February 17, 2021

Some news from France, CCCXXV

And here back to my original Some news from France series that I have enjoyed writing and thank you for reading me all these years as this in my typical Roman numerals is the No 325. We have escape the cold weather and now in the mild usual temps. The virus is improving according to the latest bulletin from the gouvernement de la République Française . However, most businesses remained closed or on delivery status or pick and collect which makes visiting town worthless. We must continue!

The now un-famous Health Defense Council of France is telling us no re-containment planned before the end of the winter holidays. This last month of 18h curfew appears to have paid off: the government is not considering any further restrictions at this time. At least not before the end of the winter holidays. A new Health Defense Council is being held today Wednesday, February 17. The saga continues I am sure there will be movies afterward…..

The Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot said museums and monuments will be the first summoned to the reopening assured to the presidents of the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay , the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (Mucem , Marseille), the Musée des confluences (Lyon) and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille. We are still waiting….

The Notre Dame Cathedral is looking for timber. Foresters are currently roaming the Conches-Breteuil massif, in the Eure, in search of century-old oaks as materials. Their mission, to find the right candidates to rebuild the spire of Notre-Dame de Paris, which collapsed during the terrible fire of 2019. The perfect cast? Oaks that have been “led” so as to be straight, 50 to 90 cm in diameter and 8 to 14 meters in height. However, only hundred-year-old trees, even bicentennial, can boast of such statures. Don’t panic, reassure forestry experts in France: in both public and private forests, there are enough such specimens to reconstruct the spire. Indeed!

Unesco’s Intangible Heritage nomination from France will have a fratricidal war between the baguette and the rooftops of Paris. France will present a single candidate in 2022 in the race for the prestigious international cultural label. So take your peak, I go for the baguette yes!!!

And talking about heritage which is history and architecture my fav subjects we have the National Monuments going to give money to renovate places such as the Cité de Carcassonne, Château de Pierrefond, and the Hôtel de la Marine, renovated for 132 million euros. It should open the first half of April, if the government lifts the closure of cultural venues. Until 1789, this hotel housed the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (or crown furniture keeps) before becoming, for more than 200 years, the seat of the Ministry of the Navy. The National Monuments Center took over management in 2015, after the departure of the ministry. The opening expected in two months concerns the heritage spaces, former 18C apartments of the intendant of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne.This is at the Place de la Concorde, Paris. And these are just the ones that caught my eyes, there will be more building to benefit from this financial help and recognition!

Where do we live the oldest in Ile-de-France region? For the first time, the Regional Health Observatory (ORS observatoire regional de santé) is publishing a detailed atlas of health data in the 1287 towns in the Ile-de-France region. Regionally, the average is 80.6 years for men and 86.1 for women. In Paris, in the popular 18éme arrondissement, people live less well and less old than in the 16éme!, reveals a survey by the Regional Health Observatory. And in Jouarre (S/M 77), we live, on average, between 7 and 8 years less compared to regional figures. The ORS webpage in French: https://www.ors-idf.org/fichiers-des-profils-socio-sanitaires-des-communes.html

In the Winter 1879-1880: when Claude Monet painted the frozen Seine. Of course, no climate change then lol!! Are you shivering from the cold? Think instead of our ancestors who endured the worst cold snap in France. -26 ° C in Paris and worse still in Vétheuil (Val-d’Oise 95 ) where the painter, a young widower, warmed his heart by painting like the damned. By the Quai Saint-Michel, on January 3, 1880. During that harsh winter, the capital experienced 29 days of frost and the Seine froze!!

According to the Le Parisien newspaper, the struggling Vélib bikes   operator Smovengo will receive 4 million euros more for three years and the amendment to the contract will be validated on Thursday. In return, it will have to improve the quality of service, assessed by a user committee. Oh yeah more taxpayers money down the drain!!!

As of this past Monday evening, only one terminal will continue to welcome passengers at Orly airport. At issue: the recent border closures to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, which are causing air traffic to fall. Only Terminal 3 remains open, which is more modern and suitable for national and international flights. Webpage: https://www.parisaeroport.fr/en/orly-airport/terminal-orly-3

Abandonment of tramway 4 or T4 at Roissy airport (CDG) ,the projects to the airport are in the hot seat. The abandonment of a new terminal at Roissy also casts doubt on plans for access to the airport platform, namely the direct CDG Express train and the future metro line 17. Yes we are not moving forward and more closures and more traffic than ever!!!

The Grand Véfour, temple of French gastronomy, will take a 180 degree turn as soon as the restaurants reopen in Paris. Director since 1991 of the famous Palais-Royal house (17, rue Beajolais, Iéme), Guy Martin, its chef, has now decided to devote himself to market cuisine, more spontaneous, less expensive too. Hence the loss, last January, of the two stars it had held in the Michelin Guide since 1991. I am going to make this heritage house, founded in 1784 and listed as a Historic Monument, accessible to as many people as possible. Not without recalling that “originally, the café de Chartres, which became Véfour after its owner’s name in 1820, is open all day”.

The animated reconstruction of a panorama 120 meters long and 9 meters high takes us back to the murderous battle of Champigny, 150 years ago now depicted in detail the Battle of Champigny, a highlight of the Franco-German war of 1870. Inaugurated in 1882, the canvas was exhibited until 1887 at the Panorama National in Paris. These huge paintings were arranged inside a rotunda, allowing the public to immerse themselves in the story told by the painters. Once in the rotunda, visitors climbed onto a central platform and found themselves in the middle of the canvas. The two painters in this panorama, Alphonse de Neuville and Edouard Detaille, both took part in the war of 1870. Edouard Detaille was even present at the battle of Champigny. He made sketches of what he observed. The City of Champigny sur Marne intends to go even further, by then reconstituting the original panorama. The city of Champigny sur Marne on the battle in French: https://www.champigny94.fr/article/immersion-sonore-1870-la-bataille-de-lhiver

The Louvre museum conservation center was installed in 2019 in Pas-de-Calais. The museum’s reserves, which, under the public establishment, were located in a flood zone, were 80% emptied of some 150,000 works stored there. The Louvre has deployed great resources such as a huge building was built in Liévin (Pas-de-Calais), for a budget of 60 million euros, a few km from Lens, where the decentralized branch of the National Museum is located . Since its inauguration in October 2019, semi-trailer shuttles have not stopped between rue de Rivoli and rue du Docteur-Piette. More info on the Louvre webpage: https://www.louvre.fr/en/louvre-conservation-center

And now controversies even on a tomb stone. The tombstone of Constantin Brancusi, simple and discreet in the Montparnasse cemetery, informed visitors preferred to meditate on his Baiser (kiss) statue. Somewhere in Division 22,section 22 they could admire this exceptional sculpture by the Romanian artist, watching over the tomb of Tania Rachevskaïa, a young Russian exile who committed suicide in 1910. Following a judgment by the Paris administrative court of appeal of December 11, 2020, the Ukrainian descendants of Tania Rachevskaïa obtained the right to recover the work. For ten years, this family has been in dispute with the public authorities, who have been fighting to preserve this stone couple, entwined for eternity, of which there are several versions, produced by Brancusi between 1907 and 1945. The Paris tourist office on the Montparnasse cemetery: https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71295/Cimetiere-du-Montparnasse

Keep an eye on this one folks ! It is the most anticipated exhibition of 2022: 20,000 m2 entirely dedicated to Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, and the entire universe of the saga. On the program, a crazy immersive scenography, original accessories and costumes straight out of the archives of filming locations, original installations, sets, experiences … In other words, a dream come true for any aficionado of the world of JK Rowling . The exhibition will tour the world for an entire year, stopping in almost every continent. Europe is on the program, but the cities and their dates have not yet been announced a stop in Paris is very likely, in line with other world exhibitions that have set down here: Jurassic World, Tutankhamun or even Game of Thrones. We’ll keep you posted.

A free outdoor exhibition dedicated to Louis de Funès (see post). The most famous French comic actor is in the spotlight in an exhibition at Bercy Village from next February 18 2021: it’s time to revise your classics. Passionate about jazz, Louis de Funès de Galarza began as a pianist in a bar during the war. It was long before Daniel Gélin gave him a chance, Sacha Guitry his confidence and Claude Autant-Lara locked him up in front of Gabin and Bourvil in the cellar of La Traversée de Paris. It was not until 50 years old that the little jazzman finally climbed to the top of the bill and shared his burlesque genius with the whole world. His roles describe his life, the rise of a rank-and-file: from small conductor to conductor, from non-commissioned officer to captain of industry, from deprivation to the disruption of consumer society. Thirty-eight years after his death, Bercy Village is dedicating an outdoor exhibition to him from February 18 to May 31, echoing the exhibition at the Cinémathèque française. “Laughter is the sun, it chases winter away from the human face”, proclaimed Louis de Funès, whose career, although started late, will forever mark the 7th art. Fantômas, Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez, La Folie des Grandeurs, The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob or La Grande Vadrouille, who has never watched one of his films with the family in peace on the sofa?   echoing the exhibition at the Cinémathèque française. The classics of your ancestors (and perhaps yours). will be, all in a free course that will undoubtedly bring back beautiful memories. Louis de Funès exhibition at Bercy Village 28, rue François Truffaut – 12éme. From February 28 to May 31, 2021. More on the entertainment webpage of the city of Parishttps://quefaire.paris.fr/114442/louis-de-funes-s-affiche-a-bercy-village

Did you think Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel was creepy? So you haven’t read anything about this story that really took place in Paris in 1848 yet. It was during the summer of 1848 that we began to discover corpses unearthed every morning in the various cemeteries of Paris: in the famous Père-Lachaise cemetery, in others much smaller, but especially in the Montparnasse cemetery. The peculiarity of these corpses is that they were all corpses of young girls who were found mutilated and often stained with the criminal’s seed. Very quickly the story spread throughout Paris and began to frighten the population. It was the cemetery administration that launched the idea of ​​setting a trap for him to stop this man who was terrorizing the city: a large metal wire was installed around the gate of the Montparnasse cemetery. This large wire is connected to a grape shot which is triggered at the slightest contact. So on the night of March 15, 1849 (it’s still more than six months after the first events) the man was wounded by the grapeshot, he managed to go for treatment to the Val de Grâce military hospital. which is not very far. It was, in fact, François Bertrand: a fairly respected Army sergeant in Paris. He will only receive a one-year prison sentence for “burial violation” because even today necrophilia is simply considered “attacking the integrity of a corpse” and punished by only one year in prison and 15,000 euros in fines!

Something not travel related but me think worth to put in my blog.

The singer Angèle supports cancer research by launching a raffle with great gifts. Winning Angèle’s autographed piano, Julien Doré’s santiags or even a day on the set of the film Asterix and Obelix with Guillaume Canet, it is possible thanks to the commitment of many artists alongside Kickcancer. Angéle has been a sponsor of the Kickcancer association for several years now, which is involved in research into pediatric cancers: she works in schools in Belgium, raises funds regularly … But this time, it is a very large raffle bringing together the outbursts of solidarity of many Belgian, French and English artists. The concept is simple: just choose the prize (or prizes) you prefer and buy a ticket for € 10 – or more, which necessarily increases the chances of winning. The money donated will then help in the fight against cancer through the association which finances scientific research, sets up awareness campaigns on pediatric cancers and fights to modify regulations that make it difficult to take action. care of sick children. Very worthy cause me think. More info at Kickcancer: https://kickcancer.org/?locale=en

And by now once in a while a good one recipe of the month: (metric measurements)

Ingredients for 4 persons: 1 piece of rump steak (about 600 g), 8 organic potatoes (Agria type), 400 g of various salads (lettuce, romaine, mesclun, lamb’s lettuce, treviso … depending on the season), 1 small shallot or ½ red onion, herbs fine (parsley, chives, chervil), optional.

For the vinaigrette: 1 tbsp. to c. mustard, 1 tbsp. to s. vinegar (balsamic or sherry), 3 tbsp. to s. olive oil, walnuts, or a mixture of the two, salt, pepper. For the mayonnaise: 1 egg yolk at temperature, 1 tsp. to c. mustard, sunflower or grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, vinegar.

Preparation: Bake the rump steak in the oven for 20 minutes at 190 ° C, then take it out and let it rest for 10 minutes. Clean and dry the potatoes without peeling them. Cut them into cubes, then sauté in a pan in sunflower oil or butter. Start on high heat, then reduce heat to low until tender and golden on the outside. Clean and wring out the salads. Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the ingredients together and adding the salt and pepper. Prepare the mayonnaise by whisking the egg yolk and mustard, then add the oil in a thin stream. Adjust the seasoning and soften with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice. Bon appétit!!!

And there I hope you still dreaming of Paris and France, we are all! Patience is a virtue and we needed now more than ever. Best wishes wherever you are and keep strong and safe.

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

February 14, 2021

Parc Balbi, Versailles!!!

And glad to update/revise this post from 2019 for you. This is my beloved dear Versailles and a nice park often on the off the beaten path trail as most folks go to the Palace. However, as I have said many times, Versailles is a lot more than the palace. The Parc Balbi has a nice history and wonderful family park. Let me tell you a bit on it ok, and hope you enjoy it as I.

In my beloved Versailles; there is so much to see here, pity folks only come for the castle,nice as it is itself, get out into the town and see wonderful sights. Versailles is my former home for those new to my blog.  I like to tell you a bit about a nice park which again been there with the family on picnics and just hanging around and so little personal pictures, found one of the front panel going into the park lol! sorry me terrible photo men especially in my own town; looking forward to be back as soon as possible.

Versailles-parc-balbi-panel-ent-feb13

Parc Balbi is an English-style park, located next to the Potager du Roi or King’s Garden in the Saint Louis district of Versailles, dept 78 Yvelines of the ïle de France region. It is part of the historical heritage of the city and very often overlook by visitors, but a wonderful park to visit as well.  You will go to very narrow old streets of old Versailles, the park itselt is 2,6 hectares ( 6.4 acres) and you access it by 12 rue  du Maréchal Joffre. One of my family’s favorite is the Parc Balbi, and as usual when living there not enough pictures lol! 

In 1785 the Count of Provence (brother of king Louis XVI , and future king Louis XVIII) and the Countess of Balbi (Anne de Caumont -La Force) buys the land here; to use as enjoyment for the Countess Balbi. The garden is done in 1786 by gardener/architect Jean-François-Thérèse Chalgrin. In 1791 in the French revolution they had to leave, and in 1792 the plants and vegetables, trees of it are taken and transfer to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. (always the same) The new garden had a winding stream, islands, and a belvedere atop an artificial grotto, in the picturesque style of the time. In 1798, the pavillon and garden features were demolished, but traces of the alleys and the lake are still visible, the park is still free.

After the French revolution, many owners passed by the park until finally in 1828 it is sold to the State.  In 1907 the school Jules Ferry is located here and a door had access to the Potager du roi. In 1914 the park is given to the horticulture school., and with the coming of WWI the park is left abandoned, until 1930 again it is renovated.  During WWII the park is again abandoned until 1960 a new plan of renovation takes effect.  Finally in 1982 the park is open to the public all done. It has a cave original from its creation in 1786 deep in the forest of the park, to reach it from the Potager du roi only. Very nice area.  It is open during the school holidays in the area, and normally Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays from 9h to 17h, sometimes later in summer.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The tourist office of Versailles on the Parc Balbi: https://www.versailles-tourisme.com/parc-balbi.html

A bit more in French from the Yvelines dept 78 tourist board on Parc Balbi: http://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/parc-jardin-yvelines/parc-balbi-versailles

Hope you enjoy , it is in a nice area next to the Potager du Roi and by the Cathedral Saint Louis area. Enjoy it with the family on your walks on the marvelous streets of Versailles.

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

February 5, 2021

How to moved around the Palace and Versailles!

So there I am again, time to update, revise links etc on my fav city of all France, Versailles! I like to tell you a bit on how to get around and go inside the Château de Versailles or palace of Versailles.  As many posts already and pictures, this will be another in my black and white series. Hope you enjoy it as I did reading it again!

I have heard many bloggers pointing of the crowds and transportation mishaps coming to Versailles, my former home in the Yvelines dept 78 , Île de France region for 9 years. I think I know a thing or two on how to move about in Versailles

Versailles is a city of a bit over 100K folks but it is done very wisely modern by the kings of France, it is pretty much rectangular and all starts at the palace. The three big avenues from it commands all, avenue de Saint Cloud, avenue de Paris, and avenue de Sceaux. The Domaine of Versailles as it is call the whole complex was much bigger than today, (8000 Ha) well have written several posts on it, right now there is about 807 hectares of it (about 8 sq km or 3 sq miles).

The Castle sits as independent with the neighborhoods coming out from it , mine was Notre Dame. Other famous are Saint Louis, Montreuil, Chantiers, and Montbauron. Folks as said come here for the palace mainly, not really to blame but a shame missing on so much, you need more time here. I have written on the monuments and their place in history many times before so will let you do some search in my blog.

The castle/palace/museum is open every day except Mondays from 9h to 18h30 , however, the Trianons opens at 12h (garden closes at 19h) , and the Coach Gallery (wagon carriages) open  by 12h30.;closing by 18h30 The park and gardens are open every day and they are free except on Musical Fountains Shows and Musical Garden. The Trianons you can come through the Gardens or through the city (by the porte Saint Antoine on ave de Versailles). Versailles has three city train stations the one closest on foot to the Castle/palace/museum is on the RER C express trains to the Rive Gauche-château station on ave Général de Gaulle; however, the other two Rive Droite and Chantiers can be access to the Castle/Palace/museum with the local bus network Phebus.

The park domaine per se has the following entry points  on foot thru the Main Gate (place d’Armes) 8h until 20h30; the Queen’s Gate (bd de la Reine and allée des Moutons) 7h to 20h30, Sailor’s Gate (Rue de Saint Cyr (D10)) 9h30 to 19h, Saint Anthony’s Gate (porte Saint Antoine ,along avenue de Versailles) 9h30 to 19h and the Grille of the Royal Star (further back of the Grand Canal on chemin Etoile Royale off the road D7) only accessable on weekends and holidays from 9h30 to 19h15. You can come with vehicles thru the Queen’s gate by 9h until 17h50 last entry and the   Saint Anthony’s Gate only on weekends from 9h last entry at 17h50.  The tricky part are the gardens where you need to verify the dates according to the times you will be here, otherwise the entry points and times are everyday from 8h to 20h30 with last admission at 19h and on foot you can come thru the Main gate 8h to 19h ,the Dragon’s Gate (side of theater Montansier off bd de la Reine) from 12h to 18h30, Neptune Gate (bd de la Reine  and Petit Allée Saint Antoine), Menagerie Gate (Allée des Matelots debut Grand Canal) and Little Venice Gate (by La Flottille resto debut Grand Canal) on similar times. At Porte Saint Antoine below, you can come from avenue de Saint Cloud on bus 19 and stop at Parly II/Les Chesnay(a nice shopping mall and my kids schools)  walk down and entered for free and no crowds to the gardens/Trianons and Hameau properties without going in .We love it for jogging and walking many times.

As told the main entrance is thru the main courtyard passed the grille iron gate and statue in front of king Louis XIV; if you do not have a pre purchase ticket (which you should), and not eligible for free admission (like a student or under 26 UE) go to the ticket office first, on the left of the Main courtyard in the South Ministers’ wing and then to Entrance A of the Palace. This is for individual entries. If you have reserved your tickets in advance then go straight to Entrance A with your ticket and proof of identity. And lastly, if going to the Trianons first opening at 12h go straight to them by their Saint Anthony’s gate (Porte Saint Antoine at Allée de Saint Antoine)) next to it is the Hameau of Marie Antoinette and then the Petit and Grand Trianon.

The basic info on influx of visitors is split in two ; high season from April 1st to October 31st and low season from November 1st to March 31st. However, avoid Wednesdays as it is school day off in France and mom stayed home thinking where to go out, and on Fridays which is the weekend. So come on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and be there at opening time with your advance purchased tickets.

Of course, the above days and hours etc are the norm, as current events dictate, you need to check the proper official webpage to know in advance the latest information.

Basic transportation info tells you that you can get here by

RER C to Versailles ChâteauRive Gauche from many points in Paris and it is about 8-10 minutes walk to the palace. Leaving from Paris Montparnasse you can come to the Chantiers station which is only about 20 minutes from the palace. And last my station the Rive Droite coming from Paris Saint Lazare train station and about another 20 minutes to the palace. The Versailles bus network Phebus is excellent on time, clean and very helpful drivers. For quite some time now there is a bus from Paris RATP Bus No. 171 from Pont de Sévres metro station to the Château of Versailles ave de Paris facing the castle. (see posts)

I must add driving here is easy, from Paris or Normandy on the A13 autoroute de Normandie on exit or sorties 5 and 6. Coming from the west as I do now I take the free N12 and exit:sorties 1-4. There is good parking underground at Notre Dame and Saint Cloud parkings and above ground my favorite at Sceaux next to the rive gauche-château RER C station. At the end of the Avenue de Sceaux, after the parking you have the wonderful garden of Jardin des Etangs Gobert.

You can from Paris following the old King Louis XIV road that still can be done in automobile as well. Leave Paris on rue de la Convention and cross the Seine river at Pont Mirabeau, next street over from the Seine is  appropriately Avenue de Versailles take a left on it and go to the traffic circle at Porte de Saint Cloud ; take direction Boulogne-Billancourt on the D910 ; continue past the wonderful traffic circle of Marcel Sembat, and continue on Avenue du Général Leclerc (same D910) ; cross the Seine river at the Pont de Sévres passing on your right hand side the museum of Sévres or manufacture and continue you are still on the D910 road. Passing the quaint town of Chaville, continue and entering Virofray the road changes to the D10 ,continue same road.(the street name changes to Avenue de Paris appropriable) but same road D10. And you know what, this is Versailles!!! Leading head on to the palace/museum!!! The road of the Kings of France coming from the Louvre fortress (now museum).

From the Hôtel de Ville or even closer from the rive gauche-château train station you go left (not right to the castle) and continue on avenue du Général de Gaulle continuosly street is the Rue Royale at the corner of rue d’Anjou you have the Carré Saint Louis many intimates stories of the kings and an antique shops heaven on either side, if you turn right and continue on rue d’Anjou you will reach the St Louis Cathedral, and onwards to Rue du Maréchal Joffre you hit on the Potager du roi vegetable gardens. If at this street, you turn left you will get to the romantic Parc Balbi on your right hand side.  If you turn right on rue du Maréchal Joffre  eventually becomes rue de Satory, you turn left on rue de l’Orangerie and you will reach the Orangerie from the outside go in on the porte grille de Cent Marshes (100 steps), and right across you see the Piéce d’Eau des Suisses walk alone the edge of the lake to the back you will see the only statue in Versailles to king Louis XVI! If you get off from the rue de Satory into the rue du vieux Versailles you will reach the Salle de Jeu de Paume and continue further you will reach the rue de l’independence Americaine (where the municipal library keeps the table where the support of France for the US independence was signed) . All within walking distance.

The city of Versailles on coming to the city in English: https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/se-deplacer/venir-a-versailles/#

The city of Versailles show a nice interactive map in English by the world globe click on it: https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/se-deplacer/plan-de-la-ville/

The tourist office of Versailles has plenty of practical information on getting,moving about in Versailleshttps://en.versailles-tourisme.com/useful-information-and-tips

Ahh this is the iceberg on the mountain of possibilities in my beloved Versailles, the Royal town of France, history on every brick or every tile on every stone of France and many of the World.  Hope you enjoy the post as I.

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

February 3, 2021

Auto en Seine, Les Mureaux !

Let me update this old post from an off the beaten path town, very well into French aviation/aeronautics, Les Mureaux! Of course, nothing on planes but cars this time. Hope you enjoy it as I

I like cars probably because grew up around NYC/NJ and Daytona Beach, Florida USA and now live in France. So when a car event goes up here I go usually , as time permits. This time there is no exception besides spring is in the air!; and I need to update links and text on this post from 2011!!! Auto en Seine at Les Mureaux!

les-mureaux-seine-en-auto-mar11

This event was call Autos en Seine in the town of Les Mureaux, dept Yvelines no 78 west of Paris on your way to Normandy on the A13 autoroute de Normandie exit/sortie 8. Its a town about 39 km (24 miles) from Paris. I believe this was a one time event as never seen it again oh well, one for the memory lane. You can easily get here by train from Paris gare Saint Lazare direction Mantes la Jolie. webpage: https://www.transilien.com/fr/gare/les-mureaux-8738668

I have written on Les Mureaux before as the town is the site of Aviation historically in France, and it houses today the EADS European Agency for Defense and Space, the equivalent of NASA in Europe. The rockets are only assembled here and they are taken to Guyana in South America for send off to destination.

Of further interest is the Château de Bécheville from the 17C who was visited by the writer Stendhal in 1811, the castle was renovated in the 19C and today it houses the Center of arts and music conservatory of the town.  There is a center for sailing boats Cercle de la Voile de Paris here since 1893 by the Seine river.

And the Church St Pierre St Paul built in 1896. Amongst the best parks is the  parc de l’Oseraie with a nice house from 1876-1879 and the Val de Loisirs du Val de Seine with plenty of games ,activities ,and a lake with boating out to the Seine river.

For those seeking lodging right off the A13 on your way to/from Normandy , you can have this logis de France property ,La Chaumiere  rather nice off the expressway. We have not stayed but visit seeking to pick up friends there after our suggestion and it was nice. Webpage: http://www.hotel-lesmureaux.com/

For eating I have tried the Le Bonheur de Les Mureaux, Chinese,Thai, Viet cuisine near the train station at 25, Rue Jean-Jaurès. It is closed and now a different Daadi Kitchen resto Pakistanais there. Will keep the old name just for the memories.

And Les Voiles restaurant part of the sailing club area,adjacent to it overlooking the Seine river for a bit more upscale dining rather nice we love it. Webpage: https://www.lesvoiles.net/

For a coffee, snack and overlooking the place de la Liberation people watching spot in town tried the Cafe de la Mairie, 2 place de la Libération while walking around. Good local ambiance. And a bit out of town , for hanging out with the astronauts folks and a drink try the Le Week End, 64 route de Verneuil . no webs.

The city of Les Mureaux on its history/heritage in French: http://: https://www.lesmureaux.fr/Histoire-de-la-ville/15083/

Hope you enjoy the Autos en Seine event and it was nice to catch up with the family and see some wonderful cars. I have catch up with some more of these events in my new hole in the ground and even visited the big one here Le Mans!

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

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