Posts tagged ‘Versailles’

August 18, 2018

The Hameau de Marie Antoinette,Versailles!

Well going again at my blog, surprise ,not written on one of my favorite subjects on it’s history! And this is my beloved Versailles, a city I lived for almost 10 years!! The place was closed by for  my leisure hangouts with the family on our weekend walks. Well ,its time I catch up on my old neighborhood!

Let me tell you a story on the history and the places there, as the touristic part I have in my previous blog posts here:Hameau of Marie Antoinette

Stories of Versailles: the Hameau

Let me get you right into the history I like, stay tune ,it is long,but beautiful!

The Hameau de la Reine ( hamlet of the Queen)  was born from the imagination of Marie-Antoinette. Bored by the Versailles court, she wanted to rebuild a farm by bringing animals and peasants not far from the Palace of Versailles, to teach nature to her children. But this secret garden will finally be destined for walks and sumptuous receptions, to which she invites her loved ones. Of the vine, a farmhouse and its farmyard, cottages, and a mill surround an artificial lake.  If the exterior looks rustic and simple, the interior is glitzy. To reproduce the atmosphere faithfully, some rooms have been refurnished. The royal Prestige is found in the decoration of the Maison de Marie-Antoinette, with its golden lanterns with fine gold which are now electrified.  The hamlet of the Queen is a dependency of the Petit Trianon located in the park of the Castle/Museum  of Versailles this hamlet of pleasure was commissioned during the winter of 1782 – 1783 by Queen Marie Antoinette  with the nostalgia for a more rustic life, in a decor of nature inspired by the writings of Rousseau, a small paradise where the theater and the feast would make her forget her  condition as Queen. This rural place, which was also a farm, marked the influence of the ideas of the physiocrats and philosophers of the Enlightenment of the aristocracy of the time.

The construction was entrusted to the architect Richard  Miqué on the inspiration of the hamlet of Chantilly and the drawings of the painter Hubert Robert. This fashion was a reflection of the Rousseau cult for simple rural life and the reminder of the ancestral virtues.  Launched during the summer of 1783 by the Queen, construction began with rustic houses. King Louis XVI had given, in order to establish the hamlet, a plot located to the northeast of the English garden, between the allée de  Saint-Antoine and the  Allée de Rendez-vous and the Bois des Onze Arpents forest. To the northeast of this small wood was the hamlet of Saint-Antoine-du-Buisson, whose church depended on the parish of Chesnay (nearby town). The main work was completed in 1786 .

Around an artificial pond for carp and pike fishing, Richard Miqué had erected twelve wood-framed cottages, of Norman or Flemish inspiration, in the northern part of the gardens, on the outskirts of the Petit Trianon and in the extension of the English garden.  A farm to produce milk and eggs for the Queen, a tower as a lighthouse, a dovecote, a boudoir, a barn, a mill, a house for the guard were thus built, each building being embellished with a vegetable garden, an orchard or a flower garden. The most important of these houses is the Maison de la Reine (House of the Queen) in the center of the hamlet, which divides a river crossed by a small stone bridge. The beds were planted with Milan sprouts, cauliflowers, artichokes, black beans, peas, strawberry, raspberries, gooseberry, plums, pears, cherry , peaches, apricot and walnut trees. More than a thousand vegetables were planted in the garden. The lake was also populated by twenty-seven Pike and two thousand carps. The Queen had hoped that in the spring of 1787 all the houses would be filled with flowers. During the winter they were busily cultivated in greenhouses specially fitted for the occasion. And by the end of the summer, bunches of grapes were hanging from the pergolas.

It was found that the flow of the basins, and in particular the clover, was insufficient to feed the lake and the streams. It was then necessary to work to bring the water from the plain of Les Chesnay, going up to the stream of Chèvreloup. The work, begun in 1784, was extended until 1789, with some 20 workers working daily to dig wells and aqueducts.  During one of his visits to the hamlet, King Louis XVI decided to create a triumphal arch at the entrance to the estate, at the edge of the Bois des Onze Arpents, at the north end of the Allée de Saint-Antoine; The construction of this new Porte Saint-Antoine (my entry point to the property) ended in June 1787 and was ornated with a lion’s body, emblem of the King. (My entry point to the Domaine for walks with family).  The place is completely enclosed by grates and ditches; It enters from the Trianon either by a covered and sinuous road, which allows  to discover with surprise the smallest houses, either by the edge of the Bois des Onze Arpents  and a meadow with light slopes forming tiny waterfalls, which offers a plunging view on the Main house and the village of Saint-Antoine.


Despite its idyllic aspect, the hamlet is a veritable farm perfectly managed by a farmer designated by the Queen, with its vines fields, orchards and vegetable gardens that produce fruits and vegetables consumed by the Royal table. According to the Queen’s instructions, farm-reared animals came from Switzerland whose animal breeds are reputed to be the most authentic, which often gives  the name of the Swiss Hamlet. The Queen invited her guess upon her request only and many were jealous to be left out; some of the regulars were the Count of Vaudreuil, the Baron of Besenval, the Countess of Polignac with her daughter Aglaë de Guiche and her sister-in-law Diane, and the Count of Esterhazy . The Prince of Ligne does not missed an opportunity to visit the hamlet or, at the very least, to keep abreast of the news of the Place .  The Queen appreciates the company of her sister-in-law, Madame Elisabeth, and the Princess of Chimay. Madame Campan, first maid, and Countess of Ossun, Lady of D-Atous, accompany the Queen on all occasions ; the children also benefit from this relative simplicity: even Madame Royale, judged by her mother (Marie Antoinette)  too imbued of her rank, is sent to pick up with the other children of the hamlet the eggs of the hen house, in a nice basket . It is rare that King Louis XVI goes to the hamlet, the freedom of tone is therefore only easier: the meals are lighter and simpler than at Château, and you have fun during only a few steps away, in an empty castle of any courtyard animation, the nobility maintains hatred and jealousies.

The Queen’s house  (Maison de la Reine) is located in the center of the hamlet. Its picturesque appearance is reinforced by the originality of its structure: a double body of non-aligned buildings and simply connected by a walkway covered with a round tower, outside staircases supported by wooden poles and roofs of various inclinations. It is the only one, with the cleansing dairy, to be covered with tiles. Its decoration is simple but elegant, far from the flamboyant luxury of the castle. Composed of two floors, it comprises at the top level an antechamber in the form of a Chinese cabinet, the small living room, also called  Hall of the Nobles, and the large living room with a stretched panel of Swiss-style tapestries embroidered with wool and basketry. Of the six crossings of the room, the Queen can easily control the work of the fields and the activity of the hamlet. In the center of the room is a harpsichord on which Marie-Antoinette loves to play. The access to the floor is either by a large staircase inside, or by the round tower, stopping at half-height and followed by a footbridge and then a volley of ten steps reaching the outer gallery. On the ground floor, the building features a backgammon decorated with a chessboard and a simple white stone-paved dining room with the cut corners making way for small black squares. The chairs, in the backrest lyre in solid mahogany and garnished with green Morocco leather.


On the left, another building is connected to the Queen’s House by a gallery of olive-green wood embellished with trellis and hundreds of pots of flowers in earthenware of St. Clement, marked in blue by the Queen’s figure, in a medallion suspended from a ribbon surrounded by Roses, which reminds the Queen of her Habsburg-Lorraine ancestry. An  eighty-foot garden  along the gallery allows you to grow flowers and grow up to the roof of climbing plants. A spiral staircase accessing it by the left is originally wrapped around a poplar present before the building. Upstairs, above the large billiards room, flanked by two wardrobes, is a small apartment, which seems to have been inhabited by the architect of the hamlet Richard Miqué and which includes five rooms including a library. Despite the rustic appearance of the facades, the furnishings and interior design are luxurious.  The Queen’s House and billiards are reopened to the public in May 2018 after five years of restoration!!!

The boudoir was originally dubbed the Little House of the Queen. Its dimensions are modest, 4.60 m by 5.20 m; It’s moreover the smallest construction of the hamlet, of very simple construction in apparent millstone. Marie-Antoinette withdrew alone or with one or two of her relatives, in the square living room which composed most of the place, at the fireside of a white marble fireplace decorated with twigs of ivy. The walls alternate embedded mirrors and drapes of tapestry cloth, which participate in the intimacy of the place. The woodwork was originally of mahogany-colored Holland oak, but they were replaced in the Second Empire. The windows are in Bohemian glass. the roof is covered in reeds. This cottage upholstered with a virgin vine is preceded by a small geometric garden, rather made up of flowerbeds than of cultures and surrounded by thickets. The small stream that runs along the boudoir marks the separation of the cottages for the Queen’s use.

The tower of Marlborough, built with the appearance of a vaguely medieval lighthouse, is originally called Tour de la Fishery (Pêcherie). Of the three floors of the tower, only the hexagonal base is of verge stone, to ensure its strength.  The tower is used to store boat fishing tools  in its basement. A narrow hallway allows you to go from the dairy to this circular room. From the foot of the tower, you climb up and down a wooden oak boat painted in grey, for walks on the Great Lake or fishing for carp or pike. The upper part is painted wood of a decoration imitating the stone and serves to communicate by signals with the castle.  The name Marlborough is a reference to the lullaby Marlborough going to war, written in 1722 but brought to the use of the day in 1782 thanks to Beaumarchais and its resumption to the court by the nanny of the Dauphin, Geneviève Poitrine.  After the revolution, the tower was one of the most damaged buildings.

The wind mill (Moulin) is one of the most picturesque cottages, with a pictorial charm reminiscent of the role of the painter Hubert Robert in the creation of the hamlet. The four facades of the building each have a different appearance and décor, although in harmony. The wheel driven by the brook derived from the Great Lake is only a decoration element and no mechanism or millstone was installed in this factory.  The ground floor room seems to have served a time of exhibition gallery for the first models of the hamlet. At this lounge is attached a small closet, serving as wardrobe. A small hallway provides access to a side entrance door. The square room on the first floor, four meters apart, is a small dining room or room, which is not known if it ever served. It is accessed by an outside complex of  staircase of two flights of stairs. On the front, a half-timbered cabinet is constructed as an outgrowth over the brook and is connected to the first-floor room by a walkway allowing access below.  The interior of the building received a sober but neat decoration. A tile is laid in all the rooms and the two main rooms each have a chimney in marbre. A molded cornice and painted faux mahogany wood panels complete the décor. The mill has a fenced garden in the south of hedges  and a pergola. A wash house is also attached to it, at the edge of the brook.

The réchauffoir (warming room)  is indented, about a dozen meters from the back of the Queen’s house, masked by bushy shrubs. It includes the premises necessary for the service: a large kitchen, a bakery, a lumberjack and a pantry, but also lingerie and silverware. The interior is made up of  stones and is illuminated by three windows. The food can be warmed up from the great common. Originally intended to be only a warming room, it actually cooks dishes intended for dinners given by the Queen in her house or at the mill. A large furnace of twenty-two fires, painted in faux-brick decor, is surrounded by a bread oven and a roasting-pan. A closet is intended to keep the royal dishes, porcelain and silver. A two-meter-high oven keeps the dishes warm. A beech table is placed in the center of the room. Running water is provided in the yard by a tank above the preparation dairy. A small adjacent house is designed to accommodate the workers.

The tradition of planting a dairy (Laitérie) in a Royal property is old . Marie-Antoinette ends up following the trend of her time, but preferring elegance and simplicity, far from any extravagance.  Originally, there are two dairies in the Queen’s Hamlet: the Dairy of preparation, in which creams and cheeses are produced, is located north of the tower. The milk is creamed from the cow and the butter is beaten. A stone table is surrounded by consoles on which are stored tin utensils. Pasteurization is carried out in a small adjoining room. The water, which also feeds the close houses, is stored in a tank cleverly concealed in the attic This building is  from 1783, but with another destination: composed of two rooms and a cabinet, it is originally a bakery,which the furnace is leaning against the west facade. The whole is covered with reed and the interior is tiled from materials recovered from the fishery The Queen comes to taste dairy products in the second dairy, named Dairy of Cleanliness, on tables of veined white marble arranged around  the room and supported by fourteen sculpted consoles. They are served in milk terrines, jugs, cups or butter in porcelain, made in the Queen’s protected manufacture, rue Thiroux in Paris. The floors are also covered with blue and white marble. In order to maintain the freshness of the room, a trickle of water flows into a central channel and four niches have been arranged with vases adorned with carved dolphins. The walls are adorned with a trompe-l’oeil decor. The dairy of cleanliness is, with the House of the Queen, the only thatched cottage to be covered with tiles, because of the fragility of the vault with painted caissons one builds even a small hangar simply equipped with two benches of stone, at the end of a wall pierced by two arches.

The farm (Ferme) of Marie-Antoinette is created, slightly away from the hamlet, to be a real exploitation. The various buildings that comprise it are built from 1784 to 1789, with numerous modifications during the construction: barns, a sheep barn, a pigs, hutches and a hen house.  The farmer designated by the Queen to drive the farm but also the dairy. He arrived from Touraine with his family. Their residence, built in 1787 and composed of three bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining room, is, like all the houses of the hamlet, decorated in the rustic taste. A dairy boy and a cattleman come to assist them in the farm. In 1787, the construction of a new barn in the farm enclosure allowed the first to be transformed into a ballroom. A bridge over the ditch allows access from the rendezvous aisle, thanks to a large awning door. The farm courtyard has a water trough and a well. In the direction of the hamlet rises another portal in masonry and stones , topped by two big balls.

Also close to the lake, the House of the dovecote (maison de colombier)  houses a dovecote, in its attic, and poultry house, on the back. The House of the Guard (Maison de la Garde),  is located on the edge of the estate. The house is in the center of a cultivated enclosure, made up of small plots. During the creation of the hamlet, a barn is built between the preparation dairy and the dovecote, and shows the Queen’s desire to be close to the peasant life.  On the other side of the barn is the two-window bedroom, which is accessed by a staircase of about fifteen steps overlooking a bin garnished with pots of flowers. Above it is a small attic used to preserve the seeds. The whole is covered with a very complex roof, straw, reed or even tiles, alternating the right and nested pans, which gives its charm to the building. The garden of the barn has the peculiarity of being completely enclosed of hedges and gates. It is accessed by three main entrances. A wide right path to the West is covered with a cradle of climbing plants and allows to go to the farm.

Reservoirs at the back of the belvedere flow from thin, cascaded streams in the middle of a low-slope meadow: the Cascatelles, designed by Richard Miqué, to fill the great lake. This one,dug in 1785, forms, in its outlines, small bays and peninsulas. Its largest dimension does not exceed 130 meters. A first river escapes to get lost in the outer ditches. It is equipped with a small stone bridge connecting the Queen’s house to the dovecote, decorated with a cornice in modillions. Another arm flows in front of the mill, in a narrow half-meter deep groove, after feeding the wash-house .

But it is the afternoon of October 5, 1789 , summoned by a messenger of the king while she is in her cellars, she casts a last glance towards her hamlet that she will not see again.   Abandoned after the French Revolution, the hamlet of the Queen was the subject of three major restoration campaigns: One led by Napoleon I from 1810 to 1812 represents the bulk of the present base. The second was achieved through the sponsorship of John Rockefeller Jr. In the  1930’s. Finally, the hamlet was renovated from the years 1990, under the impetus of Pierre-André Lablaude, chief architect of the historical monuments, and it was opened to the public in 2006 within a space named Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The House of the Queen as above just came to be opened fully renovated in May 2018.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to this super wonderful place in my beloved Versailles are

Chateau de Versailles and the Hamlet

Tourist office of Versailles ,and the Hamlet

Now you are all set to visit one of the must to see in Versailles and in France and Europe. Wonderful, magical, and just gorgeous after all the nice restorations.

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




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 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 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 1, 2018

Some news from France CXCVII

Quick run down on the latest from my belle France. It was sunny in the morning now cloudy in the afternoon, temps at 72F where I am while in Paris is 82F. Here is 22C while in Paris should be around 27C

Now August is here, and vacation time also near, can’t wait even if this year will be sad as not with my dear late wife Martine around. Time goes on , memories flashing!

The renovation of this great Church of the 9éme arrondissement will begin in 2019. Steeple, lantern towers, porch and roofs it goes, the scaffolding on the facade of the Church of the Trinity ! Currently at the mid-height of the building, it should reach the top of the steeple, at 60 meters, at the end of August . The restoration of the façade which opens on the square, the steeple, the two towers-lanterns arranged on either side of the monument, the porch and the roofs :The great building site of the Trinity which will start in 2019, should be completed in 2023. During the work, the church remains open every day and the masses continue to be celebrated every Sunday at 11h and 19h. Very nice Church wrote in my blog on it before.

Well follies of our modern world will come to hunt you or make our taxpayers money out the window.    This past Tuesday, the 4 000 Autolib ‘ that are in the Île-de-France live their last hours. At midnight, it will no longer be possible to board a Blue Car. The autoparting service, which has been in place since 2011, ends on Tuesday night. The 150 000 subscribers have until Tuesday night to make a final farewell to their Autolib ‘. However, in case of non-return of a vehicle before 00H midnight, users are at risk of a financial penalty. 250m in debt! Leave us these dandies!

While the public transports problems continue with half hazard solutions and not long term;the beat goes on; lucky you only for a few days here, those that are here and need to work everyday is hell.I know it.   Again, yes again ; a technical incident on the tracks causing the giant blackout. The incident started last Tuesday at 20h (8:00pm) on this fully automated line that crosses Paris from east to west and serves many tourist sites of the capital (Louvre Museum, Tuileries Gardens, Avenue Champs-Elysées…). A technical problem that affected a train between the stations Saint-Paul and Bastille totally paralyzed the traffic on the line. After the big mess on Tuesday night, back to normal for the users of Line 1 of the Parisian metro. More than two hours of hell for more than 3000 travelers. With twelve trains totally blocked on this line 1, it was between 3200 and 3800 users who were trapped, from police source. These travelers had to be evacuated down the tracks!, in sometimes chaotic conditions denounced forcefully by many Internet users on Twitter. Welcome to public transport in Paris!

And, don’t we love strikes, heck is a national pastime. In front of the entrances to the Eiffel Tower (7éme), water foggers soften the expectation of visitors under the Sun this past Tuesday. But as every year, lines/queues often extend far beyond the barriers… and extend the expectation of tourists. One of the three entrances to the Eiffel Tower is only for visitors who have booked in advance. A third access exists, by staircase only: The third elevator is only used in case of troubleshooting, explains the direction the online presale should concern 80% of the tickets by 2021. Internally, the SETE (operating company of the Eiffel Tower) has ensured to keep all the jobs by training the cashiers to other trades, including hospitality agent. After several meetings this Tuesday, the threat of a strike always hovers over the old lady. !!! Be prepare call ahead.

Just in for the Eiffel tower from their official site: “Le août, en raison d’un préavis de grève, l’activité de la tour Eiffel pourrait être perturbée. Visiteurs munis de billets, consultez vos mails pour plus d’information. Suivez l’évolution de la situation sur nos réseaux sociaux et notre site internet”. Meaning there is a possible strike tomorrow August 2nd, those with already purchase tickets check your emails for more information,and follow the evolution of events in social media and the Eiffel webpage.

The exhibition presents nearly 80 photographs of the years 1945 to 1960, on the theme of the street, and for the most part unpublished, out from the reserves of the Centre Pompidou. A look at this post-war period, seen from the street in several European cities.  Sabine Weiss au Centre Pompidou ,expo until October 15 2018   Place Georges-Pompidou ,4éme. Centre Pompidou

The new sign of a escape game, You have Sixty Minutes, opens its first Parisian room: The Cannibal of Paris. It all starts at 57, rue de Maubeuge, in the 9éme, on a night of 1972. “Following a violent dispute, a man carried a fatal blow to his wife. Not knowing how to get rid of the body, he decided to cut it out, then came to mind the idea of tasting a piece. This experience was for him a revelation and will be the first of a long bloody series…  Open from Monday to Sunday from 10h to 22h. For groups of 2 to 6 players, starting at 16€ per person.   You Have Sixty Minutes  Le cannibale de Paris 57, rue de Maubeuge – 9éme. You can book your session online at  You have sixty minutes

A pint at 3€ with a portion of  French fries? It seems that is a yes at O’Petit Paris gathers the crowds from Monday to Sunday, from  14h  to 01h30, and water the barge with  its beers at 3€ in Happy Hour (3.90€ after), its planters at 2€ and its fries that fly out, all in a village atmosphere dear to Paris. Inside, this old tea room has a PMU atmosphere that will delight the fans and for others, the terrace would do very well. Attention, it closes at 23h  but the most seasoned will make their the end of the sidewalk past that time 8, cour des Petites-Écuries ,10éme. More here: O’Petit Paris

Some visit to the masters and inspirational folks on France can be found below for your Summer trips.

About 130 years ago, in 1887, Alphonse Daudet  buys the charming mansion below in Draveil, on the banks of the Seine, with its copyrights money. The writer wrote almost the most of his work knowing that he shared his time between his holiday residences and his apartments in Paris. La Maison Alphonse Daudet, rue Alphonse Daudet, 91210, Champrosay – 91210 Draveil . Count about 1h drive, RER D station Ris-Orangis, then 15 minutes walk.

The Departmental museum of Stéphane Mallarmé born in 1842, the poet is a teacher of English, his “livelihood obliged”, and has an intense poetic activity. The museum settled in its house on the banks of the Seine, although it also lived in Rue de Rome in the 17éme of Paris. The museum is at  4, Promenade Mallarmé-77870, Vulaines-sur-Seine. Count 1h40 by taking RER B to Melun station then Transilien R to Vulaines-sur-Seine Samoreau, then walk for 20 minutes

Château de Médan ; Maeterlinck, Belgian author, and Ronsard are roommates at the very beautiful castle of Médan, alongside Cézanne. We are obviously talking about their memoirs that still reign in this former hunting lodge, which was barely saved in the post-war period.Located at  50, rue Pierre Curie – 78670, Medan. One hour from Paris by car, not served by train networks

The Maison d’Emile Zola while you are in Médan, take the opportunity to discover the house of Emile Zola, who lived from 1878 to 1902 in this House which he was able to buy thanks to the success of his novel L’Assommoir. It was here that he wrote his novels afterwards and led a rural life.  Located at 26, rue Pasteur – 78670, Médan .An hour from Paris by car, not served by train networks.

The Maison de Chateaubriand, in the Valley of the Wolves, is the place where he fled after his exile from Paris by Napoleon because of his hostility to the first Empire. He will write several of his works, in particular Les Martyrs, the itinerary of Paris in Jerusalem, The adventures of the last Abencerage , and the memoirs of the Tomb, in the Velléda tower.Located at  87 rue de Chateaubriand, but better put in your GPS  rue Eugène Sinet. The Vallée aux Loups site can give more in French, need a car.

The Maison d’Elsa Triolet-Louis Aragon The couple blossoming in the heart of this 5 hectares park, at the Moulin de Villeneuve. This mill of the late 12C was often the setting and source of inspiration for their writings. Today, the House makes both office of Memory place with the apartments and the tomb of the two writers, a place of research with a library of more than 30 000 volumes and place of support for contemporary artistic creation. Always interesting to take a tour. Located at Moulin de Villeneuve – 78730, Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines. One and a half hours by car, not served by train networks.

The Château de  Monte Cristo is Alexandre Dumas who lived in this palace perched on a hill. He bought it in 1846 except that three years later he was riddled with debts and forced to sell this home. Located at Chemin du Haut Ormes-78560, Le Port-Marly. An hour from Paris about: Take the RER A to Saint-Germain-en-Laye and then the bus 259, stop at the station Jaurès

The Maison de Balzac ,he lived in this House of Passy under a nickname  “Monsieur Breugnol ” to flee his creditors . The little carousel lasted seven years thanks to a clever ploy: the house had two entrances, in two different streets, rue Raynouard  and Rue Berton. Entrance on 47, rue Raynouard – 16éme Metro Passy.

The Musée Jean-Jacques Rousseau Museum  is in the Val d’Oise dept 95, we go to meet the writer, musician and philosopher Genévese. It stays at the “Petit Mont-Louis” from 1757 to 1762, fleeing Paris,  “City of smoke, noise and mud”( really changed in almost 300 years lol!). He will come out with his Social contract published in 1762. Located at 5, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau – 95160, Montmorency. About an hour from Paris: Take the Transilien H train at Gare du Nord to the La Barre Ormesson, then the 337 bus to the cemetery of Deuil-la-Barre, then count a 25 minute walk.

The Musée Cocteau Museum; this museum house was the home of the French poet graphic designer, draughtsman, playwright and filmmaker. He will reside there for 17 years, first occasionally, then definitively from the moment he binds himself with his new companion Édouard Derma, far from the tumult of his Parisian life. Located at 15, rue du Lau – 91490, Milly-la-Forêt . At about 2h by car, not served by train networks

The Musée Victor Hugo Museum in the Marais, this is the hotel of Rohan-Guéménée where Victor Hugo lived, which  became a museum in 1902. He lived on the second floor from 1832 to 1848, before his exile. To this day, the apartment details the existence of the poet before, during and after this exile. Located at  6, Place des Vosges Metro Chemin Vert or Bréguet-Sabin line 4.

Some ideas for peace and quiet this Summer :

The Little Venice of the Val-de-Marne (La Petite Venise du Val-de-Marne) at metro line 8 Créteil-University. We find four islands bordered by the Marne river, nested in each other. An oasis of greenery in this bucolic landscape and on the river float some boats and kayaks… pretty walkways, original architect Villas; Even the pigeons have left room for swans and mallards. In case of small or big hunger, we stop at the Domaine de Sainte Catherine, where we taste a market cuisine , while admiring the banks of the Marne on the terrace shaded by centuries-old trees.

Just a few meters from the Seine, benches of rigor are hidden in a well-known square of the inhabitants of the district. In the shade of trees, one reads sitting or lying on stone benches… in the form of an open book to read is to live in full light. So why not, but in town and especially in Paris in the summer, it’s still nice to be in the shade and a little hidden to avoid those who speak loudly when you want to be quiet in our stories. Take advantage of these quiet spots to classic books, a novelty and all the other books you love! At the Square Gabriel-Pierné  5, rue de Seine 6éme.

What is calmer than the flowing water? Nothing, and it is not the aficionados of the Vert-Galant square at the tip of the island ïle de la Cité that will tell you otherwise. When you are at the end of the park, feet in the water and facing the capital, it is perfect to make the emptiness and dive into a novel. We love it!  Square Vert-Galand, 15 , Place du Pont Neuf 1éme

The garden of the Fondation Eugène-Napoléon, hidden in the depths of 12éme, at rue de Picpus, is an oasis of calm and voluptuousness as we love them. But it stays between us, please. Jardins de la Fondation Eugène-Napoléon;  1, rue de Picpus  12éme

And ready for Summer in Paris? I give some to think about!

After tasting the Frozé, the Granite with Rosé, or the Rosé Sangria, we get to the Rosénade, a subtle mixture of rosé wine and lemonade. Something to try this Summer in Paris.  The ingredients of the Rosénade:

30 ml of Absolut Vodka Lemon, 150 ml of rosé wine, 2 leaves of basil, 1 quarter of a lemon, 15 ml of sugar syrup, 45 ml of carbonated water. You do in a shaker: basil, lemon and sugar syrup are mixed. We fill the ice shaker and add the vodka and the rosé. Shake, Shake, shake. We filter the whole thing and we pour into a cocktail glass. We add the carbonated water, a slice of lemon and a leaf of basil. Voilà c’est Paris!

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

July 26, 2018

Ok, it’s Summer and wine is in the…..!

And we are still hot folks , temps in Paris to 36C (97F) and by neck of the woods closer to the ocean it was 31C (88F). Sunny no rain in sight, and we are thirsty!!! So refreshing wines and wines tastings are in order.

First let me tell you if around, I will be in Guérande, Loire-Atlantique dept 44 this coming Saturday for a nice tasting of local wines. The Place du Vieux Marché is very quaint nice but small so we already have figure out how to park our car lol! this is the city featuring the event in French, of course. Fête Vignerons Guérande

And of course, planning on visiting some local friends ex coworkers that now live there. So, now for the tastings and trivia and good points on wine in my belle France.

The Foires or festival of wines for 2018  in the supermarkets, this is an annual event and sometimes twice a year.  I will give all and highlight in black my favorites.

Auchan hypermarchés : Sept 25 to Oct 9
Auchan supermarchés : Sept 21 to Oct 7
Badie : Sept 7 to Sept 30
Biocoop :  Sept 4 to Oct 15

Carrefour hypermarchés : Sept 12 to Sept 24
Carrefour Market : Sept 21 to Sept 30
Casino supermarchés: Aug 31 to Sept 16
Casino hypermarchés: Sept 4 to Sept 16
Franprix : Sept 19 to Sept 30
Intérmarché : Sept 11 to SEpt 30
Lafayette Gourmet : Sept 7 to Sept 30
Lavinia : Sept 17 to Oct 15
Leader Price : Sept 4 to Sept 16
Leclerc : Oct 2 to Oct 13
Lidl : From SEpt 5th
Monoprix : Sept 12 to Oct 27
Naturalia :  Sept 12 to Sept 30
Netto : Sept 4 to Sept 16
Nicolas : Sept 12 to Oct 16
Repaire de Bacchus : Sept 6 to Oct 16

And ,if you are into internet purchases of wines, not me mind you, here are some of the popular ones here

20 sur Vin, Sept 14 to Sept 30; Cavissima, Sept 3 to Sept 23, C Discount, from Sept 6th, Chateaunet, Sept 7 to Sept 30, Ideal Wine Sept 6 to Sept 25, La Grande Cave, Sept 3 to Sept 30, Millésimes, Sept 5 to Sept 28, Netvin Sept 6 to Oct 11, Vente-Privée from Sept 4th, and Vinatis, from Sept 4th

Also, let me tell you about some nice getaways on wine country here. All compliments of my favorite newspaper and magazine Le Figaro.

Leaving from the cellars, picnic basket 48€ for 2 persons electric ATV bike half day 35€ Chateau Malherbe,  1 Route du Bout du Monde 83230 Bormes-les-Mimosas . The cellars open every day from 10h – 20h. Reservations at +33 (0) 4 94 64 80 11 . Chateau Malherbe

The cooperative cellars of Rauzan in the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux will give some get to know on the biodiversity. 1 km from the cellars a country walk of about 5.5 km with 13 different ecosystems. All along the circuit there will be explanation panels on the natural environment encounter. Caves de Rauzan ,1 l’Aiguilley 33420 Rauzan www.cavederauzan.comTel. +33 (0) 5 57 84 13 22

The cellars of the Château La Dominique welcomes you until August 26th with the exposition « Le rouge des villes et des forêts », something like the red of towns and forests.  About 30 works of art with photos, installations, sculptures, designs, lithographies, and paintings created by the international artists on the theme of nature culture and all phases of color. This will go on from 10h to 18h every day with reservation a must. Château La DominiqueExpo and tasting of two wines 15€. Tél. +33 ( 0) 5 57 55 20 73 or

In the plains of the Maures, the Château Saint-Roux  serves a traditional cuisine done with vegetables of its garden of  3800 m2  to the table of their farm auberge. They have a many goats from which they do their own cheese , a producers market, a store, where you can taste a glass of wine with some cold cuts. Staying here goes from 150€ per night.Château Saint-Roux, Route de la Garde Freinet 83340 Le Cannet-des-Maures Tél. +33+ (0) 4 98 10 02 61

The Château le Crock, Cru Bourgeois in Saint Emilion has started this Summer with a escape game around wines  call  “Escape Ô Crock” ! During one hour the players divided in 4 teams try to figure out the enigmas .  The objective is to find the code that will free a bottle enclosed in a coffret.  All this goes on in the cellars of the Château Le Crock. You go August 8th for the next round, 30€ with reservation a must, includes wine tastings and a local products sample tasting too  at Tel +33 (0) 5 56 59 73 05 or email: More at   Chateau le Crock

Down by the appellation Bandol, facing Sainte-Baume and Mont Caume you have a farm auberge  of the wine domaine of La Font des Péres just opening its doors.  At the heart of a wonderful property of  15 hectares of vines, and the best products in your plate . A vegetable garden , fruit trees, and chickens all around you all the chef needs. Other local products available are goat cheese of  Cadière, fish from Sanary or mussels from Tamaris. Open lunch and dinner with reservations except Sunday evenings and Mondays.Lunch menu (entrée-plat or plat-dessert  from tuesdays to Fridays, from 19€, full menu evening 29€. Chemin de la Font des Pères 83330 Le Beausset. Tél. 04 94 15 21 21 more atDomaine la Font des Péres

Since already 10 years, the Château Le Bouïs, located in the Massif de La Clape, developped their oenotouristism center. A new cellar for tastings of  300 m2 just open in the historic vaulted cellars of the castle.  ALl with natural materials and sobre lines you see 15 cuvées of the property.  You have initiation to tasting wine as well as soon tasting from amphoras will be offered.  You will get the apps La Légende du Bouïs that accompanies you in 5 steps of the parcours to understand the visit of a multimedia expo gallery Route Bleue 11430 Gruissan Tél. +33 (0) 4 68 75 25 25. More here:Chateau le Bouis

Until Sept 30th the Chateau Sainte-Roseline , cru classé  from the AOP of Côtes de Provence presents the 18th exposition of monumental sculptures and contemporary arts in collaboration with the galerie Catherine Issert in Saint-Paul de Vence.  The works by artists such as Vincent Mauger, David Nash, Vincent Barré, Benjamin Sabatier ,and Vladimir Skoda will be displayed around the property. Free admission every day of the week. Château Sainte-Roseline, Route de Sainte-Roseline 83460 Les Arcs sur Argens Tél. +33 (0) 4 94 99 50 30 email: More here: Chateau Sainte Roseline

The grand site of France of Aven d’Orgnac, will provide a wine visit hors norm starting every thursday in Summer. You will be guided by an expert trained by  Néovinum-Vignerons Ardéchois,The amateurs of wines will reach a platform of tastings located 50 meters below ground.  There are preserved  10 000 bottles of the best years from the Vignerons Ardéchois.  You will be tasting 3 cuvées.  The visit continues at  121 meters underground for a wonderful show of lights and sound. All reservations is a must until August 30th at 18h30 and also Saturday September 22dn at 18h 19€ with tastings included. More atOrgnac site

The Château du Palanquey  has just been renovated with the opening of five rooms and suites in an authentic vineyard château of the Gironde. It has a spa, host tables and cuisine courses in the middle of 11 hectares of vines.  IF you ask they can give you a tour around the property. The night from 280€ per night, at 2 Lieu dit Palanquey 33350 Sainte-Colombe. Tél. +33 (0) 5 47 84 99 83; email: .more here: Chateau de Palanquey

And if thats not all, the Food truck festival of the Château de Berne ; a wine property and 5 star hotel ,spa, gastronomic restaurant, bistrot, cooking school, and back for a new edition !  There will be about 15 food trucks on October 14  facing the cellars of the château. World food, street food or country cooking; there will be for all tastes matching the wines of the property.  Live Music and election of the best food trucks of the event. All from 10h to 19h free admission at the property, Chemin des Imbert, 83480 Flayosc-Lorgues. More info here.Chateau de Berne

There you go , enjoy the wines is good for you with moderation. I just had my glasses with red from the Béarn area of the cave de Jurançon in Gan, we are direct with them.

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


July 23, 2018

Some news from France CXCVI

On a nice sunny breezy Monday I come back to you for the latest news gossips and whatnots of my belle France and especially gorgeous Paris.  The temp in my neck of the woods is 26C or about 78F and in Paris hotter at 87F no rain in sight !

It is becoming hotter and when you still need to work sad; folks asked me aren’t you at the beach, well I live here work here and not on vacation yet ok. It seems to me friends and family thinks that by living here we are on an eternal vacation time lol!

Anyway ,enough of my ramblings; here are the news.

Update:  More beautiful. Bigger. Enthroned in the heart of a garden facing the Museum of Modern Art, the Palais Galliera, which houses the Fashion Museum of the city of Paris, closed its doors last week. Objective: To make a new metamorphosis by doubling the area of its exhibition spaces thanks to the exploitation of the reserves. To develop new spaces in vaulted cellars in red bricks with a total area of nearly 700 m2. The new galleries will bear the name of Gabrielle-Chanel. Parisians and tourists will have to wait until December 2019 to discover the new face of the Galliera Palace which will become the only permanent Museum of fashion in France. More here: Palais Galliera

Just read in our nice little Parisian newspaper appropiatly call Le Parisien, that we will be for a long haul in parkings in Paris. At least as long as we have the immigrant from Cadiz in the Mayor’s office of Paris lol!  This is their reporting:  So far they were only used to park your good old car gas/petrol or diesel. Tomorrow, they will also be used to recharge your electric vehicle, to borrow or rent other cars, to park bikes or scooters, or even to… harvest mushrooms , this is in the underground parkings of Paris! The idea is  to equip with charging stations thousands of parking spaces. The objective of the city is to reach about 30% of the places equipped with terminals. A considerable upheaval when we know that Indigo(system)  currently has only 113 terminals on more than 57 000 spaces or… 0.2%;  diesel cars will indeed be banned in the capital in 2024 and it will take alternatives , well mine is due to be change in 2020 lol!!!.  The city of Paris plans to promote the parking of the two wheels underground (that is motos, scooters, bikes). According to our information, a “Multipark” pass will be proposed by the end of 2018. It will allow scooters and motorcycles to go down to park in any underground parking, from different operators, for about 70€  per month (50€ subscription for parking, plus 20€ to enjoy 4 hours of parking per day in other parks , without reservation). For secure car parks for bicycles, with offers of subscriptions around 10€ per month. In addition, with the failure of Autolib (car system similar to velib for bikes), new car-parting services are being deployed, and the underground parking lots will also have to be reserved for some places. The Saemes (parking group) thinks, for one of its next car parks, to create an urban farm on a level. The underground car park has little light and a constant temperature, which is an advantage for growing mushrooms or endive!! With all these new services, how to park your car “normal” like today? The city/town  hall of Paris is not worried. They claim the number of cars is dropping, and at the same time, the number of road places increases with the parking reform. they are at 12% of the “vacuum rate” in open spaces, the city is being assured. Source: Le Parisien

And more work… During the work, the trains circulate and the station is open! The RER A station has, at Vincennes, major restructuring work which will take place there for three years, until 2021 ,of course for the comfort of the passengers, namely the creation of a public bathroom, a bicycle set-up Véligo along the passenger building, rue Aubert, the improvement of accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities and the creation of an opening on the place Pierre-Sémard. The press kiosk will disappeared in the works, the city plans to install a newsstand on the place Sémard.  The extension of the passenger building on the place Pierre-Sémard, but also the expansion of the two secondary accesses located on Rue de la République, the complete renovation of the quays and, in the end, the main access will be by place Pierre-Sémard, facing the Rue du aprés-midi and not by Rue Aubert. As far as the pedestrian pathway is concerned, the signs have just been laid. A crosswalk, marked in yellow, was created to reach the north sidewalk of rue Aubert, so as to avoid walking on the roadway and to cross safely across the entrance to the station. More in French here: city of Vincennes on RER A works

The Butte aux Cailles, an authentic little village hidden behind the Place d’Italie(13C). In the enclosure of the butte by an open passage on the Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui. First, the inescapable historical reminders, like the worker’s past of the small enclave built on quarries. Here were turning factories and small shops of old trades thanks to the water of the river Bièvre (now buried ,you can walk on top at rue de Biévre near St Germain-des-Prés). It was in 1860 that the former Hill of 62 m in height, once attached to the nearby town of Gentilly, incorporates  into the City of Paris,  before playing an important role in the battle of the Commune of Paris, in 1871. In the previous century, it was also there that landed in 1783 the famous first balloon flight of Pilâtre de Rozier. Street art artists love to express themselves on the walls of these places. We pass the famous Rue des Cinq-diamants, or the cute place Paul-Verlaine has us the facades of the charming little Alsace, this set of half-timbered houses that once housed workers.  Next  photo Stroll call the  “quails and scoundrels” of Atypic’Photo will be July 29. Price:39€ (and 16€ for accompanying persons without a camera). Registration at A Typic Photo

Goodbye, Marks & Spencer. Long live the Galeries Lafayette. The department store will set up in the Beaugrenelle Shopping Centre (15éme) in the second half of 2019 in lieu of the British store specializing in ready-to-wear and food . While waiting for the opening of the future store, Parisians and visitors can discover the new store of 52 Avenue des Champs-Elysées (8éme) which should open its doors in March 2019.  Stay tune here: Galeries Lafayette

And my nostalgic beautiful Yvelines dept 78 , we have good news.    The mansion in which Georges Bizet composed and orchestrated “Carmen” was awarded the “heritage of regional interest” label. A new step in relaunching the site. This heritage of regional interest label is a label that covers the unprotected regional heritage of which “heritage value is a regional interest”. 30 sites in Île-de-France region  received this label: the house where Georges Bizet is the only one in the Yvelines. This boost allows the city of Bougival to advance on its great project of European Music Center on this site. It will be distributed in several places. First of all, Bizet’s house, which will host an artist’s residence, and the “Espace Carmen”, in which excerpts from the opera are broadcast in conference rooms. Also located in Bougival, Villa Viardot, which belonged to the soprano Pauline Viardot, will be part of the project. In ruins, it must, above all, benefit from important restoration work. This is a great effort and here are the other sites as well in French: Heritage sites of regional interest Ile de France

The Promenade des petits ponts,(walks of small bridges) in Chevreuse, is certainly the most romantic place in the Yvelines, Ile-de-France region. Imagine a trail along a canal that spans about twenty flowering walkways, not two alike. Beautiful stone houses and antiques. More vivid testimony of this story: The Château de la Madeleine, and its 12C dungeon, perched on a mound of land offering an incomparable view of the city. Chevreuse, it is also a city very quickly turned on water, with the Yvette river crossing it, and its canal not far from the beautiful Church of Saint Martin, the Place des Halles recalls the large wheat market, one of the largest in Ile-de-France which stood there until the French Revolution. The city has also seen many personalities: the beautiful Marie de Rohan, Duchess of Chevreuse to the many lovers, the sulphurous poet and revolutionaries Fabre of Eglantine, or the playwright Jean Racine. Chevreuse,  guided visits contact  email:  More information on  Memories of the Chevreuse

Since the death in 1975 of Baron Guy-François de Roig, the last owner of the premises, the Château de Jossigny had only opened its doors on rare occasions. It is therefore an exceptional visit of this 18C castle that the Heritage Festival of Seine-et-Marne (dept 77) proposed in recent days the 35th Heritage Days scheduled on 15 and 16 September 2018. For this reopening to the public, several rooms on the ground floor of the building were refurnished the “bean” sofas, closed to the public due to the collapse of the floors, thus took place in the alcoves of the Grand Salon, under the portraits of the castle’s sponsors, Augustin Leconte des Gravels and his wife Marie-Anne de Bragelongne. The vestibule, the gentleman’s Lounge, the dining room and the kitchen are also filled with precious testimonies of the life of a pleasure house, partly destroyed by the Prussian occupation in 1870. More here: Official site of the Chateau de Jossigny

Another great event at Chantilly is back!   On track. Warm lights, Oriental music… The horses and their riders follow each other in the great stables which will propose from this Wednesday the show “On the steps of Marco Polo”. Rehearsal started. For an hour, we witnessed the travels and meetings of the Italian merchant, first embodied by Moroccan rider Ibrahim Chihi. Eight riders accompany him from Wednesday to August 26th, at 14h30 (2:30pm), at the grand stables or Grandes Ecuries de Chantilly. admission 21€ adults. Information at tel +33 (0) More here: Domaine de Chantilly events

A dandy with new chef, admit been here on business lunch ,but the mounting of the top is great with wonderful views of Paris. Set on the roof of the Théatre des Champs-Elysées Theater in the 8th arrondissement, with its dining room and two terraces, each offering a sumptuous view of the capital, the Maison Blanche (white house) is one of the mythical places. The new chef is Fabrice Giraud, has nothing to envy  the previous ones. The light for lunch niçoise salad that has blown me away by the freshness of its ingredients and the tart-fruity balance of the seasoning. See it at the La Maison Blanche,15, avenue Montaigne, 8éme. Tél.+33 ( 0) 1 47 23 55 99. Formules lunch two dishes at 49€, three dishes at 59€.  Menu carte about 100-120€ with a half bottle of wine per person. More info here: Restaurant La Maison Blanche

Summer in Paris is without concession. Pushing us to look for the trenches. And we find this small square lined with roses with eternal flowers, protected by the Hotel du Grand Veneur, historical building reminiscent of the petticoats and corsets before the take of the Bastille. Great for a late afternoon picnic and escape the heat of Paris.  square Saint-Gilles du Grand Veneur 9, rue du Grand-Veneur, 3éme. Bring your baguette et voilà. More info here: Tourist office of Paris

And last but not least, we have away from Paris in beautiful historical stunning Rouen.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), the Museum of Fine Arts of Rouen in partnership with the Centre Pompidou and the  Metropolitan Museums,  presents an important exhibition devoted to his work, Until September 24th, 2018. Entitled “ABCDuchamp: the Expo to understand Marcel Duchamp”. It proposes a course in the form of an ABC to better understand the magnitude of his work, its impact on the artistic scene of the time and its influence on the different currents of Contemporary art and current creation.  Such work as the ready made and iconic fountain that created a veritable shockwave in 1917 in the art community. Nice.  More in French here: Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen

There you go for now folks, that’s is all … Stay tune as France is a movable feast ::)

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

July 17, 2018

Some news from France CXCV

Back starting the week and already cooler weather with a nice breeze in my neck of the woods , the Morbihan Breton.  and Temps are 22C or about 72F  with periods of cloudy to semi cloudy skies. Inland Paris is at 77F or 25C but cloudy too.

Let me bring you up to the news of my belle France.

By now you should know, France is the World Champion in football/soccer ,yes! A very young rich team won it with great team spirit and minimum ball possession a change from past winners. As their glorious elders-among whom was the coach Didier nDeschamps-, they descended the emblematic Avenue des Champs-Elysées on an imperial bus in front of about 300,000 people, according to a Police source. Overflow by the French patrol air acrobatic team, the itinerary had been marked with barriers to contain the impressive crowd coming to cheer its Champions, winners on the eve of Croatia (4-2) at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.  French Football Federation or FFF in French :

Another great , this time French institution, the Tour de France continues its rounds around the country (see my previous post on this years tour in my blog).   It will be going by Croix-Fry, Glières, Romme,  and Colombière as the tour tackles the first Alpine passes on today, in the 10th stage between Annecy and Le Grand-Bornand (158.5 km). Departure from Annecy at 13h15 (actual departure in 13h35), arrival at Grand-Bornand towards 17h57 (forecast at 36 km/h average). More here: .

The ranking so far :

Some bubblies to entice your summer, anywhere but better in France.  Of course, as always these are only my personal choices, no prices is needed…..It’s Champagne!

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte 2008 , this is a great vintage. This champagne is nervous with its pinot noir base. Chardonnay brings the elegance of white flowers and honey in a balanced field. The miller comes to complete the whole with a sweet fruity.

Champagne Veuve Clicquot Rosé , this is unique by adding red wine to its white wine to obtain a rosy colour and an affirmed structure. Madame Clicquot was still ahead of her time when she created it. If a word had to define it, it would be gluttony. It was born to arouse pleasure with a fleshy mouth dominated by red fruits and brioche.

Champagne Gosset  Grand Blancs de Blancs it has a clean style that it owes in part to the fact never to carry out, during the elaboration of the wines, malolactic fermentation. The wines are therefore always more acidic and keep well. The nose of this 100% Chardonnay is floral. Its flowers exude a sweet scent lemon worthy of those found in Sicily with, in their flesh, bursts of honey. In the mouth, vivacity dominates without obscuring delicacy.

Champagne Moët & Chandon Ice Imperial  this one ,thus comes out of its codes to be consumed with ice cubes, fresh, in a large glass with why not citrus zests. It’s very aromatic. Let’s go. And it’s so good!

Champagne Ruinart Rosé Chardonnay, one of the three main grape varieties of champagne with Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier, is his spine. For this rosé, the cellar chief has added Pinot noir. The wine has energy with a wide aromatic palette dominated by red berries and spices. In the mouth, the bubble is lively, the matter greedy on a final dominated by the freshness of the grapefruit.

Champagne Counts of Champagne Taittinger Rosé 2005 It is one of those rare vials where fullness has settled almost naturally over time. This champagne is now coming to its perfect maturity with its aromas of wood strawberries. In the mouth, it is a remarkable balance. We are hypnotized, glass after glass, by its crunchy, its measured gluttony while developing a remarkable acidity.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Grand Siécle  this prestige bottle, made up of an assemblage of Chardonnay (55%) and Pinot Noir (45%), is the fruit of three exceptional vintages. It is for this reason that the concept of vintage, dear to all the iconic bottles, is not on the label. This champagne has intensity and delicacy. It offers notes of citrus fruits, brioches and even Acacia honey. In the mouth, it is straight with a balanced mouth touch. Do not serve it too cold because it would not express all its qualities.

Champagne Mumm RSRV Blancs de Blancs 2012 , exclusively chardonnay, come from a single grape harvest. It’s a reflection at some point. This photograph projects in the palate notes of white flowers, citrus fruits with a hint of orange blossom. The mouth is lively but without aggression. The floral mixes with Acacia honey for a thirst-quenching finale.

Enjoy it fully from now is great, Champagne. Salut!

Another Paris innovation and where else!  Take a nap or sleep at the museum every day at 14h, the Museum Quay Branly-Jacques Chirac makes an appointment to the lazy, sleepers and other strollers for an unusual moment of pause: In the calm in its garden, sunbeds and parasols invite you to an hour of sleep . Through the sound backgrounds of the museum’s collections. Tuesday to Sunday.  More on the museum here:

A wonderful gorgeous event in my area near me at Lorient. A must to see.  The Inter Celtic Festival of Lorient touches all forms of music from the Celtic countries, but also cinema, visual arts, dance, history, literature… Its 48th edition will take place from August 3 to 12, 2018. In the course of the editions the concept of “intercelticism” has been imposed with the promotion of a single region, but of all the nations of the establishment of the Celtic populations throughout history. Artists from Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, Australia and even northern Spain were invited to participate in the festivities. Wales as a guest of honor this year. This great event mixes millennial songs, rock, folk, jazz and symphonic works. It even tends to transcend disciplines by including in its programming creations of dance, cinema, visual arts, literature.. The kickoff will be given by the Grand Parade, broadcast on France 3 TV. The 2018 edition will display a selection of artists handpicked. The program with date , site, and performer is below:

Friday  3 August  : – Port de Peche Keroman : COTRIADE / NORDET ;- Salle Carnot : DUO L’HARIDON / NEDELEC / RUZ REOR ;Saturday 4 August   – Palais des Congrès : PEPE VAAMONDE / THE MURPHY SISTERS ;- Quai de la Bretagne : RONAN PELLEN / ANNIE EBREL / SPONTUS / SKOLVAN / E LEIZH ; – Stade du Moustoir : NEW ROSS PIPE BAND ;- Théâtre de Lorient : CALAN / ROBIN HUW BOWEN / ALAW ; Espace Marine : LE VENT DU NORD / DE TEMPS ANTAN / VISHTEN ;  Sunday  5 August  : – Espace Marine : EOSTIGED AR STANGALA / KERLENN PONDI / YANN TIERSEN ; – Théâtre de Lorient : ALAIN GENTY ; – Quai de la Bretagne : KEJAJ ;  Monday 6 August: – Espace Marine : BAGAD DE LORIENT / MABON / CALAN / ALAW ;  – Théâtre de Lorient : GILLES SERVAT ; – Quai de la Bretagne : STARTIJENN / NOON / THE MURPHY SISTERS ;Tuesday  7 August  : – Théâtre de Lorient : JACKY MOLARD / TEJEDOR ; – Palais des Congrès : KIEZ AR BED ;- Eglise Saint Louis : ROBIN HUW BOWEN ;- Quai de la Bretagne : LES FRERES GUICHEN / ANXO LORENZO ; – Espace Marine : DENEZ PRIGENT / ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE BRETAGNE (OSB) / RHIANNON GIDDENS ; Wednesday  8 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : DEUS’TA / SILABENN TRIO ;- Espace Marine : BAGAD DE LORIENT / OUTSIDE DUO ; – Palais des Congrès : ALAIN PENNEC / PADDY KEENAN / ANXO LORENZO ;Thursday 9 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : ZONJ / LES FRERES LANDREAU / SOIG SIBERIL / TRIO ROBLIN EVAIN BADEAU ; – Théâtre de Lorient : TRIO EMPREINTES / JULIE FOWLIS ; – Eglise Saint Louis : MICKAEL GABORIEAU / FABRICE LOTHODE ;- Palais des Congrès : RAG FOUNDATION / BERTRAN OBREE ;- Espace Marine : HAT FITZ & CARA ROBINSON ;Friday 10 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : TANGI JOSSET / WILLY PICHARD / ARNAUD ROYER / ORIAZ ;- Stade du Moustoir : THE SASSY SWINGERS ;- Palais des Congrès : REGIS HUIBAN ;- Espace Marine : ORCHESTRE SYMPHONIQUE DE BRETAGNE (OSB) / SECKOU KEITA / CATRIN FINCH ; Saturday 11 August : – Quai de la Bretagne : LES OURS DU SCORFF / ’NDIAZ / AMPOUAILH ;- Palais des Congrès : ROBIN HUW BOWEN / RODRIGO ROMANI ;- Espace Marine : MANIC STREET PREACHERS / NOLWENN KORBELL; Sunday 12 August: – Quai de la Bretagne : RED CARDELL / STEVAN VINCENDEAU / LE BOUR / BODROS / DJIBOUDJEP / SYLVAIN GIRAULT / GWENFOL / WIPIDOUP / THOMAS FELDER / UKAN / BODENES HAMON QUINTET.

Main Location for info at  11 Espace Nayel – 56100 Lorient (city center by the marina pleasure boats inside the shopping center same name) Opening hours of the Celtic village are Friday : 19h – 23h , Saturday : 12h – 14h / 19h – 0h , Sunday : 12h – 15h / 19h – 23h , Monday to Friday : 12h – 14h / 19h – 23h More info in French here:

And back to Paris for a new park opening up today!   Like if Paris needed another park well here it is all redone and nice.  The highly anticipated Jardin Truillot (11éme) opens to the public after a year of work. This green space of 5 600 m2 long connects the Church of Saint-Ambroise to Boulevard Voltaire, and Richard-Lenoir. On the Voltaire side or  Côté Voltaire, first access to a large lawn of 570 m2, framed by vine plants (Chasselas grapes), where the public can relax and picnic. On the right, a shared garden open to all inhabitants, one arrives on a central plot of clear concrete, also accessible by the third entrance of the garden side Impasse Truillot (street); on the square, a wall of expression was reserved for street artists. And the cast-iron fountain promises to be stormed in the summer. It will be completed in August by a fountain of sparkling water on the side Boulevard Voltaire. Benches and games carved in tree trunks recovered from the Parisian trees complete the ensemble. Finally, a wetland for harvesting runoff takes place next to Richard-Lenoir. It will be completed by a pond after the demolition of a bar brasserie and its hotel La Grosse Bouteille  in the summer of 2019 which will also allow to enlarge the garden. And allow entrance from the garden Truillot side of  Boulevard Richard-Lenoir (11éme). In August, the reproduction in 4 meters by 4 meters of a photograph of Robert Doisneau taken in 1959 and representing the bar of La Grosse Bouteille will be hung at the top of the wall of a building overlooking the garden as consolation for the demolition. The city of Paris has it in French on the future opening but I got them ahead it is open today lol! City of Paris, Jardin Truillot

A site on gardens has more in French: jardinons, garden together on Truillot

Another Paris innovation, we rock for Summer. The Generali balloon or dirigible or zeppeling , located at Parc André-Citroën (15éme)  proposes until 1 September 2018 night flights over Paris every Friday and Saturday from 21h  to 23h. You can fly aboard the Generali balloon  to enjoy an exceptional view of the capital. The balloon  rises to 150 meters above the Parc André-Citroën, in the 15éme arrondissement of Paris for about fifteen magical minutes, the adult rate is 12€, Children under 12 yrs 6€ and it is free for Parisians under 12 years! The balloon can only fly in times of good weather conditions. Feel free to consult them before you come on; more info here:

Something nice worth remembering and support. The museum of the world wars in France.  This one is small done by a lover of these old war memories. Real treasure rooms for history buffs. The house is on three levels with the first dedicated to the city of Saint-Maximin (Oise dept 60), the second to the Nazis, and the Resistance fighters, the last to the Allies. You can find pieces of planes, of course. But also old clothes of soldiers, dishes of the third Reich, fuel depots, pavements of concentration camps, feeding cards… Over the years, the relics of that time piled up in his garage. It was not until May 8, 2016 to see the inauguration of the Saint-Maximin bombing museum, the museum is open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon from  14h to 18h. Price: 4€ (adults), 2.50€ (children). Information: Cellular/mobile tel +33 (0) More info on a site in French about WWII: Picardie Bombing Museum Saint Maximin

Last, but never the least a nostalgia point for me, or maybe useful to some visitor who dares leave Paris to the suburbs. This was part of my going and coming to work for my initial year in France, and believe me is ok for a visitor to do it a couple of days but you have to do it everyday to work is not fun ,public transports.  The Cergy-le-Haut  train station closes its doors this Saturday and lasts for a month and a half! All users will have to reorganize for the months of July and August. The RER A will be terminated in Cergy-Saint-Christophe until September 2, and then find your own or buses.  The work closing is due to the creation of a fourth track in the station of Cergy-le-Haut. By hosting both the terminus of the RER A and the peak times, the trains of the North Branch of the line L of Transilien from Paris Saint Lazare, (line taken in those early days of Paris) ,the station of Cergy-le-Haut is today the most busy of the network of the Île-de-France . The bus route  45 , which normally does not serve the Cergy-le-Haut train station, will be changed. The bus will stop in front of the 3 stations of Cergy. Plan to lengthen your travel time by the order of 20 minutes….or more!  At the end of the month, from 28 July to 26 August, the RER A will also be interrupted between La Defénse and Nation, making it much more difficult for those working (or visiting this part of the city) in Paris. The RER A in French from the Transilien ïle de France regional train RER transports: RER A Transilien Ile de France region

Their site in English, less info me think. Transilien Ile de France region transports

There you go , up to date. Enjoy France, Paris ,ïle de France region ,the Morbihan and Brittany region, all mines!

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

July 14, 2018

Vannes a medieval intact in the Morbihan!

Well let get a pictorial on Vannes, this is a medieval jewel of France really, all intact ,no wars have done damage here ,all original with some repairs needed for upkeeps. There are even people living in these old wooden houses going back to the 14C, where nothing can be change by law of preservation of the heritage. Vannes is my capital city and where I work for the last 7 years!

Looking over my blog, last time wrote on Vannes alone was back on Februay 25 2018!! and bits of it in my series of My Travels in the Morbihan and Some news from France posts. This is needed to have some new photos in so today was the day of errands in the capital.

We got up early and went for the Japanim mangas store in the old town section of Vannes, at 14 bis rue Emilie Burgault; parking for free by Place du Maréchal Lyautey as National Holiday, or National Day July 14 (what visitors still call Bastille Day,no longer use in France). They have a page in Facebook here: Japanim

Vannes Vannes

From there we walk to the market around Place des Lices, Place du Poids Public and rue Saint Vincent, Rue de Le Hellec, one of the best I have seen around France. It is big and has everything, we get our fruits, vegetables, and cheeses here and nice to be recognize by the vendors already.


Then it was time to do my car wash at the automatics at the Leclerc shopping center, had lunch at Flunch , a supermarket chain restaurants typical of the all you can eat phenomenon reminded me always of my Piccadilly’s in Florida way back. The best here is the salads and the sweets , ice cream and wines all at reasonable prices, who said France is expensive! Here is the contact info, great for the families coming over for the beach this time of the year: Flunch Vannes

Vannes Vannes Vannes

Of course, we stop by Castorama our home building store and gather more garden and barbecue goodies, at their store in Vannes just around the corner from all the above places. And finally we crossed over to E Leclerc hypermarket to do our groceries with the boys.  And we got back home as now it’s been played the 3rd game match of the World Cup Russia 2018 between Belgium vs England; two dear countries so we are neutral ::) As I write and looking, the final score is 2×0  for Belgium, well done , England was out from minute one.

Vannes Vannes Vannes

And here are some pictures I took of beautiful medieval Vannes as we walked its streets just before preparation for their Fêtes Historiques today and getting ready for a wide screen TV to see the France vs Croatia World Cup final tomorrow 17H French time from Moscow. We will be in our town watching it with the locals.

Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes Vannes

Again some repeat webpages but for the sake of searching here they are

Tourism Morbihan on Vannes

Tourism Brittany on Vannes

Gulf of Morbihan on tourist trails

Tourist office of Vannes in English

Hope it helps your trip on medieval wonderful Vannes, in dept 56 Morbihan, region of Brittany.

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





July 13, 2018

Some news from France CXCIIII

And why not something on the latest happening in France and especially Paris from my angle of view or is it point? Maybe straigth line direct ,here it is folks

Track game or jeu de piste at the Louvre museum now starting their  own “adventure game” at the Jardin des Tuileries. After registering online, go to Diane’s kiosk for the beginning of the riddle. What does André Le Nôtre  testament reveal? The answer is hidden somewhere in the largest Parisian garden. Until August 26th. Free game, duration 1 h 30 More  in French

The french fries or La Frite a new monomaniacal spot opened 5, rue de la Fidelité in the 10éme arrondissement. Pont Neuf  is the first Parisian fries shop. In the tray, golden Normandy potatoes in high quality beef fat. It nibbles with chiffonade ham, pastrami or fish fritters. More at

After the Château de Chambord, the Conciergerie, and the Palais des Papes d’Avignon, it’s the turn of the Château of Blois to adopt the Histopad, the tablet of reality augmented by the young French sprout Histovery. From July 12th, visitors of the Château de Blois will be able to point this tablet in the places to see them reappear at 360 degrees as they existed in the Renaissance, with their furniture and decorations. More at

And the National Day or for many abroad still the Bastille Day ;  the fireworks of July 14th are coming with 30 minutes of show! The July 14th parade troops in the spotlight! Free Concert in the Champs de Mars; with classical music in the spotlight! Firefighters ‘ ball of 13 and 14 July; the feast and the good humour of the firefighters! The Champs de Mars will be closed for concert and fireworks.  A second perimeter of protection will be activated from 14h (2 p.m.) on Saturday, around the Eiffel Tower  to host the traditional concert of July 14th at 21h (9:30 p.m.) followed by the pyrotechnic show (23h or 11pm). The Champ-de-Mars and the Place du Trocadéro will be surrounded by barriers whose accesses will be protected, filtered and controlled. In this area, police officers will be able to carry out identity checks, bags, baggage and vehicle searches. 2 200 members of the security forces will be mobilized. More on the festivities from the tourist office here:


traffic restrictions and parkings for the 13-14 July festivities in Paris

Accustomed to flying in the sky of Paris, the soldiers of the Air Base (BA) 107 of Vélizy-Villacoublay (Yvelines 78) off the A86 highway, will participate in the parade on foot of 14 July on the Champs-Elysées this Saturday. This is a first since 2011! See them in the parade in Paris.

At Poissy (Yvelines 78) There will be a dance party with DJ, at  Place de la République, from 20h to  02h (2am). By 23h (11pm)  on the banks of the Seine river , there will be  fireworks, on the theme of Le Corbusier. From  19h!30 (7:30 pm), The traditional  firefighters ‘s  ball with concert at 21h (9 pm)  and DJ from 23h (11:30 pm) , entrance fee 10€  with a consumption. More info from the city of Poissy:

At Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines 78) . From  19h30 (7:30 p.m), the inhabitants are invited to gather around a parade, then around many animations before the fireworks fired at 23h (11pm), from the lawn of the Boulingrin, in the park of the castle.

At Versailles (Yvelines 78) TheFirefighters ‘ ball from 20h to 03h (8pm to 3am) at the barracks (4bis Avenue de Paris) with the  group Los Képitos Txaranga and the H2O Troupe, as well as Nick Stevanson.  Price 10€ with  consumption.

At the theater or Theatre in  Vésinet (Yvelines 78) the Amaranthus company presents the play “Mon Isménie” in the Discovery Garden. The city/town hall of Vésinet organizes theatrical performances in the Open Air. It is Eugene Biche who is put in the spotlight with a staging of Pierre-Sébastien Kuntzmann. Free and open-entry performances on Saturday at 20h30 (8:30 p.m). and Sunday at 17h (5:00 p.m). More information at

From the vestibule of the Royal Chapel, to the Galerie des Glaces, through the Salon of Hercules, the Royal serenade of the Château de Versailles accompanies visitors for 40 minutes of visit. In the large apartments, they will stroll, at sunset, in the company of the musicians of Folies Françoises and the dance company L’Eventail. This Saturday at 18h30 (6:30 p.m.),  7h30 (7:30am), 19h30 (7:30pm)  and  19h50 (7:50pm). Rates: 24€  in full price, €21 in reduced price. More information on the website of the Château de Versailles. Info here:

Closer to me in my town we will have the usual Breton Fest Noz party and Fireworks Saturday, July 14 official ceremonies in the morning by 11h15 (11:15am). in front of the City/Town Hall (memorial wreaths Depot – Parade) July 14th Festival from  21h (9pm) at the  Goh Lanno Sports Complex Parade at the lanterns, departing from the barracks , hosted by the Bagad of Landaul  and popularly  animated by Koskerien and Ambiance 56 groups. Small snacks and bar on site. More info in City of Pluvigner (this is my town now). More info here:

The Historique of Vannes are back with show, a parade ,and firework, participants and spectators occupy the city center of Vannes. If you wish to attend or participate in the historic festivals 2018, go on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 July 2018 in Vannes. The event brings together many spectators in a period atmosphere. After the Belle epoque, Napoleon or Anne of Brittany, the historic feasts of Vannes 2018 will honour the Renaissance and Henriette of England. Extras and artists will come back to animate the streets and revive the coming of Henriette from England in the “Renaissance” atmosphere. More here:

More from the city of Vannes :

At historical Auray there will be July 13 and 14  from  19h (7pm) in the Place du Loch, a popular  Bal with DJ Arnaud.  Onsite dining organized by Auray Football Club (fried mussels-sausages merguez-crepes) opening at  22h (10pm) the stadium doors visual control and search of the bags at the entrance to the stadium. Glass bottles and alcoholic beverages will be banned in the stadium enclosure.  By 23h (11pm) fireworks at the Loch Stadium of a singular pyrotechnic spectacle provided by the company HTP-Hubert Thézé pyrotechnics Guichen 35. By 23h30 (11:30pm) dance party with Dj Arnaud ;free admission
. More here:

And as usual we will try to participate in our town as it is not far from our house. For the football World Cup Russia final between France vs Croacia, there will be giant screen TV from 17h in the espace Athena in Auray (this has been cancelled by the mayor’s office due to security concerns). In Vannes it will be in the college Jules Simon next to the city hall with a maximum permitted of 4500 persons.

Also, in Paris, a giant screen will be installed on the Champ-de-Mars, near the Eiffel Tower. Giant screens will also be installed in Bordeaux, in the Chaban-Delmas Stadium. In Rennes, the giant screen installed on the Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle remains operational for the final. In Nantes, a giant screen will be installed in the XXL Hall of the exhibition Center, at the Beaujoire. This just in the World Cup final will also be shown in large wide screen TV at the faboulous Place du Marché Notre-Dame in Versailles. 

Catch the fever it will July 15 from Moscow Russia ;more on the World Cup here:

And I leave you with expectation, it is a huge weekend in France, all stop the National Day of July 14 and the World Cup final of July 15, too much partying lol!!! cheers

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


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