Posts tagged ‘Versailles’

November 29, 2022

How about a government building in Versailles !

This is unusual but as said government building can be nice and full of history as to its previous occupants This is the case of the préfecture or local government building in my dear Versailles, capital of the Yvelines dept 78 in the Île de France region.  The city as often I mentioned is a lot more than a castle/palance/museum! There is so much history here, lots of things to see. Today will tell you for the first time about an interesting building.

Let me tell you a bit on the Préfecture des Yvelines in Versailles. This is the regional government building and it has many functions one of them is issuing the initial carte de séjour resident card to my parents on the adminstrative side. I will tell you about the historical part that is only open on heritage days or journées du patrimoine. Next will be September 16-17, 2023 !


A bit of history I like: From 1800, the first Prefect of Seine-et-Oise (now Yvelines dept 78) occupied in Versailles the old building of the furniture repository of the Crown, built between 1780 and 1796, and located at 11 rue des reservoirs (nearer the palace/museum). During the summer of 1859, the general council of Seine-et-Oise adopted the principle that a new prefecture would be built, the buildings having become too small for the administrative needs of the time. The general council of Seine-et-Oise buys, on March 26, 1861, the old Chenil du Roi,(the Royal hunting dogs kennel)  built in 1685 behind the Grandes écuries (big stables) , The proposal was selected, among 38 other candidates, and in September 1863, the work began. The installation will take place at the end of 1866, and the inauguration on June 19, 1867 at the current site today by the Avenue de Paris, and ave de l’Europe.  During the Franco-Prussian conflict, from September 20, 1870, the Prince Royal of Prussia, Frédéric-Guillaume, then from October 5, the King of Prussia, Guillaume Ier, occupied the Prefecture until March 6, 1871. The offices on the ground floor of the Prefecture were chosen to serve as a post for the battalion guarding the Prince. Thus, at the top of the Prefecture, the Prussian flag flew in place of the tricolor flag. During this period, the Potager du roi supplied the King of Prussia with fruit and vegetables.  Adolphe Thiers, (third Republic) Head of the executive power, also had his choice of residence on this building. He settled on March 18, 1871 and occupied the entire left wing of the building with his wife and sister-in-law Félicie Dosne. His successors, Marshal Patrice de Mac-Mahon( Count of Mac Mahon and Duke of Magenta), then Jules Grévy,(both Third Republic) did the same. In this way, the current Préfecture of Yvelines was the seat of the French Government for eight years (from March 18, 1871 to January 30, 1879). In 1880, the building again became Préfecture of Yvelines dept 78.

A bit of description on the construction : After the main gate visible from the avenue de Paris, and at the end of the main courtyard, you reach the main body of the préfecture. Two wings in reverse square which determine the main courtyard. Beyond the main building, we can see the design of an English garden. The building also fits into the grand French style breathed since the early 1850s by architects of public administration, like the National Library and the Sorbonne. As for, paintings, furniture. art bronzers suppliers of furniture for the Crown, ministries and the Seine prefecture. The latter will equip almost all reception rooms with chandeliers, most of which are still in place. The main body of the Préfecture des Yvelines, both on the ground floor and upstairs, is reserved for representation functions. The facade is designed accordingly, with a balcony carried by consoles and adorned with neo-18C ironwork, two busts of Ceres and Mercury, allegories of agriculture and commerce and a sculpted tympanum representing, on both sides of an escutcheon carrying the imperial “N”,(for Napoléon Ier) the figures of the Seine and the Oise joining their waters cross the hall, then the waiting room, one can discover the facade on the garden side . The sculpted iconography of the central body adapts to the landscaped environment of this facade with the busts of Vertumne and Pomone and the representation in the triangular eardrum of the triumph of Flora and Céres.

The inside description only seen in heritage days or journées du patrimoine, and no photos allowed. The Prefect’s hearing office. A recent painting, dated 1991, represents the basin of Neptune in the park of the Palace of Versailles, while the four allegories of Arts, Sciences, Commerce and Agriculture decorate the tops of the door. The beautiful double-sided desk, Louis XV period, was used by Mac-Mahon, during his stay in Versailles. On the mantelpiece, the pendulum symbolizing “Study and Philosophy”, from the Louis XVI period. Waiting room or Erignac room. Located in the center of the building, its decor illustrates two of the decorative art trends of the time, neo-classicism and a return to the past. The ceiling, divided into three panels decorated with stylized plant ornaments and acanthus scrolls, interprets the arts of Louis XIV’s past. Since 1998, this salon has been renamed “Salon Erignac” in tribute to the Prefect Claude Erignac, assassinated in the exercise of his functions, on February 6, 1998. The Small lounge, currently secretarial room. This room served as a billiard room as evidenced by the chandelier with two suspensions. On the ceiling, in a sky framed by a stone balustrade, four loves support garlands which meet at the ring of the chandelier. The over-doors represent the four seasons on canvas. Salon Thiers, currently meeting room. This living room retains its original decor: background with leafy sky, cornices painted with still lifes. The first two show flowers, game and fruit in veneer associated with fabrics. Ribaillier-Mazaroz furniture was designed for this room. The two-part glazed sideboard with sculpted still lifes at the bottom, with motifs of fruit and game, mixes Renaissance and Louis XIII styles. The Escalier d’Honneur or staircase of honor. The upper floor is accessible by a large staircase made up of a first central straight flight and a second double flight. Its walls are clad in colored stucco-marble. Upstairs, there is a decoration with iconic pilasters and two imposing canvases, “La Seine à Suresnes” (1867), by Émile Lambinet,(see post on musée Lambinet de Versailles); and a “Vue de Capri” by Félix Lanoüe. The wrought iron railing is inspired by the Louis XIV style. Note the figure of the old Seine-et-Oise formed by two intertwined Ss and an O. The General Council room, currently deliberation room of the departmental council. The general council room has a ceiling in the sky surrounded by a flowery balustrade, a cornice enlivened by musical loves, fire pots and birds, in relief. The monumental fireplace was originally decorated with a bust of Napoleon I replaced by a bust of Marianne and a pendulum of Chaumont-Marquis, still in place. Opposite, a painting by Guillaume Dubufe , “Allegory of the Seine and the Oise”, replaces the portrait of Napoleon III. The Grand salon called Salon des Aigles (Eagles’ room). The Salon des Aigles occupies the entire first floor of the front part of the central pavilion and is opened by six windows. Pilasters and columns with Corinthian capitals, in stucco-marble whose original color is no longer visible, enliven the whole. A chimney in purple breach evokes the living room of Hercules of the Palace of Versailles. On the ceiling, the Four Hours of the Day by Ernest Augustin Gendron are symbolized by four young life-size women flying in the sky. The Morning pours the contents of an urn, the South spreads flowers, the Evening holds an hourglass, the Night is stretched out on a cloud.  The highly decorated cornice is highlighted at the angles of four golden eagles with outstretched wings posed on a geometric decoration. In the center of the arches, the four Seasons are represented. They are personified by life-size women seated and wearing their attributes, from right to left: Winter, with green drapery, Spring, with pink drapery, Summer, with blue drapery and Autumn, with the red drapery. The Louis XV style furniture is due to Ribaillier-Mazaroz. As for the large cartel pendulum with two female heads and the gilt chased bronze cartridge dial, it was delivered in 1867 by the Maison Chaumont-Marquis. The Empress Salon. It takes its name from the portrait of Empress Eugénie,(wife of Napoleon III), which was there. On the ceiling is painted a sky framed by a balustrade, on which are sitting eight loves playing with birds. The cornice is marked on the corners with the crowned imperial emblem “N”. Two allegories, “Poetry and Music”, are represented in the overcoats. The fireplace trim a large white marble scroll pendulum console with chiselled gold ornaments and two white marble egg vases with bouquets of lilies with ten candles. On the ground, the “Le Jour” carpet comes from the national furniture collection and was produced by the Manufacture national de la Savonnerie in 2001. The Large dining room. It is covered with stucco-marble paneling imitating certain decorations of the Palace of Versailles. The cornice, adorned with three cardboard-stone friezes, highlights the ceiling painted by Dominique-Henri Guifard (1838-1913), representing a sky background framed by a gallery with balusters, in the middle of which branches of foliage and flowers run. On the fireplace, a pendulum from the First Empire period on its base Orpheus in Hell: recognizable by his lyre, he arrives in front of Hades seated on a throne, at the back, stands veiled Eurydice led by a little love who wears a quiver.

The Yvelines dept 78 on the building :

The Préfecture des Yvelines government building on the foreign services/immigrants :

For info as I have a picture but hope none need to come here is the Tribunal Judiciaire de Versailles (palais de justice building) at 5, place André-Mignot. This is the judicial courthouse!  A bit of history I like; from the outset, it was occupied by the former stables of the Queen. These were first those of King Louis XIV who acquired the land in 1672. He had built a body of buildings intended to accommodate the squires. , pages, saddle horses and carriages. But, from 1682, Louis XIV had other stables built opposite the château, which were larger and more comfortable. He then donated his old stables to his wife Marie-Thérèse of Austria. The stables accommodated the crews of Queen Marie Leszczynska, then those of the Dauphine of France, Marie-Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria . During the French revolution, the premises were transformed into a remand center. At the Restoration, the royal guard settled there. Then various regiments took up residence there. The army did not separate from the building until 1968 for the benefit of the Ministry of Justice, which installed certain departments of the High Court and the Regional Computer Production Center there. The Court of Appeal will gradually take their place.versailles-palais-de-la-prefecture-back-rue-jean-a-houdon-jul06
There you go folks another dandy historical , architecturally stunning monument in my dear Versailles. Hope you enjoy this post on the off the beaten path government buildings of Yvelines, and a very popular Versailles.

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

November 29, 2022

The Palace of Versailles in WWII !

I have to tell you about the Palace of Versailles during WWII, using my black and white series no pictures, Recently the palace had made in French a recollection of this period and I am translating at best their post here in my blog, Therefore, here is the story and I hope you enjoy it as I.

A huge date of June 28, 1919 was signed the Treaty of Versailles in the palace, Signed on the anniversary of the Sarajevo bombing that triggered WWI, the Treaty of Versailles put a definitive end to the conflict, and defined the sanctions taken against Germany. The choice of location is also symbolic: it is in the Hall of Mirrors where the German Empire was proclaimed in 1871, that the Allied and German signatories meet ! An eventful day for the future on January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellery of the Weimar Republic, As this was becoming real, in 1933, the Ministry of Fine Arts asked all museums in the Île-de-France region to draw up evacuation lists for their works in the event of a conflict. The operation is supervised by Jacques Jaujard, Deputy Director of National Museums. At Versailles, Charles Mauricheau-Beaupré begins to draw up a first plan. In September 1933, he gave Jacques Jaujard a report of around twenty pages. In 1935, the chief architect Patrice Bonnet submitted his first conclusions to the Direction des Beaux-Arts. From the summer of 1936, the Department of National Museums worked on prospecting buildings likely to house the evacuated works. If many names circulate ,including that of the Château de Chambord ,everyone recognizes the need to keep these places secret.

On August 29, 1939 , the Palace of Versailles had part of its collections evacuated by truck to the castles of Brissac and Chambord. They carried a total of 494 paintings, including 283 in boxes, 32 tapestries and carpets, 52 hangings, 85 works of art, 32 pieces of furniture, including the monumental clocks by Passement-Caffieri and Morand, as well as furniture by large dimensions, particularly precious, such as Louis XVI’s desk and Marie-Antoinette’s jewelry holder , A number of works are nevertheless stored on site, notably in the Orangerie. By September 1939, the construction of shelters for the staff of the castle is done. Unable to build a shelter under the Cour de marbre or marble courtyard, the architect Patrice Bonnet built a first shelter, a blockhouse of earth bags on the terraces. The second shelter is under the vault of the bosquet de la Salle de Bal or ballroom grove, which can accommodate 300 people. At the end of the month, a new shelter is set up in the grotto of the bosquet des Bains d’Apollon , behind the sculpted group. October 4, 1939: the Grand Canal is dried up, Only the Pièce d’Eau des Suisses or swiss water piece is left in water.

On July 21, 1938 was the official visit to Versailles by British sovereigns. In this troubled political context, the British sovereigns went to France, and in particular to Versailles in July 1938. On this occasion, King George VI and Queen Consort Elizabeth were invited by the President of the Republic Albert Lebrun to dine in the Hall of Mirrors. Also, around this date, Gaston Brière leaves his position as chief curator of the National Museum of Versailles. He is replaced by Pierre Ladoué, former assistant curator of the Luxembourg Museum. By September 24, 1938 it was installed anti-aircraft defense machine guns on the roofs of the palace, On April 5, 1939: election of Albert Lebrun as President of the French Republic, In the spring of 1939, the exhibition “At Versailles in 1789” opens on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the French revolution. President Albert Lebrun, newly elected, solemnly inaugurates the exhibition. The Jeu de Paume room is refurbished, Madame de Maintenon’s apartment ​which hosts the exhibition is completely repainted.

By Autumn 1939, the windows of the Palace of Versailles are obstructed, Inside the castle, the wide entrances to the Hall of Mirrors are sealed off with thick brick walls. The sculpted decorations are dismantled, numbered and packed; the fireplaces , which cannot be transported ,are fireproof. In order to ward off possible bombardments, the windows overlooking the city and the gardens are obstructed by thick wooden panels fitted with fire shields, reinforced with sandbags. In the fall of 1939, the Palace of Versailles plunged into darkness. By September 3, 1939, France and Great Britain declare war on Germany, During the month of September, the park is closed to the public and the works it contains (statues, vases, gilded lead from the Bosquet de la Salle du Bal…) were sheltered in the Orangerie or evacuated to the grounds of the Vaux-de-Cernay abbey, like the statue in the Latona fountain. In the winter of 1939, the castle was no longer heated. The panes of the windows, which have been removed to allow the installation of dirt bags , allow the cold to pass inside, and it freezes in several rooms of the palace/museum. At the beginning of 1940, the thaw caused serious damage as the ceilings were pierced and the water ran down the walls and onto the paintings, particularly in the galerie des Batailles or gallery of battles, On March 27, 1940, the woodwork of the Chamber of the Queen, the Cabinet of the Pendulum and the Cabinet of the Council were evacuated.

In May 1940, faced with the advance of Nazis troops, the French population fled south. At Versailles, a dozen guards who remained in post left the castle and retreated to Brissac castle with their families. The staff remaining on site are spread over the estate: Ladoué and Bonnet are stationed at the palace, while Mauricheau-Beaupré oversees the Grand and Petit Trianon; they still benefit from the help of about twenty guards, still present. But a wind of panic is blowing over Versailles…On June 3, 1940, nazis aircraft bomb Versailles. Three shells fall near the Royal Opera, in the Avenue de Paris, and in the rue des Reservoirs. By June 9, 1940, the majority of the museum agents leave Versailles and withdraw to the south (Chambord, Brissac, Valençay) , on June 13, 1940, start the exodus of the population of Versailles.

By June 14, 1940, the Nazis entered Versailles. They take possession of the premises, hoist the swastika flag on the roofs of the palace. In the weeks that followed, a large number of soldiers and officials invaded the castle, visited the premises, and sometimes damaged certain rooms. The implausible has happened ; Versailles has fallen into the hands of the Third Reich… Between 1941 and 1943, the Palace of Versailles lived under Nazis occupation ; the headquarters of the Gestapo is installed rue des Saussaies. Quickly after their arrival, the Nazis troops criticized the state of destitution of the castle, and demanded the repatriation of the collections, still stored in the deposit castles. It was organize the partial restoration of the museum. The castle is still very popular with Nazis troops, but on the French side, there are fears for its future, especially as the bombardments in the French sky are getting closer and closer. In February and June 1944, the city suffered heavy bombardments targeting the Gare des Chantiers and the Satory camp. By August 25, 1944, Versailles is liberated by General Leclerc’s troops. Faced with the Allied advance, the Nazis fled the city. Versailles is safe and sound. From one army to another, Versailles offered itself to the eyes of the British and American troops, who invested the place, visited the castle and the Hall of Mirrors where, 25 years earlier, the Treaty of Versailles was signed. After the Liberation and until 1946, the works were gradually repatriated from the places of deposit, and put back in place in Versailles. There were camps of interntment for Jewish and others at the Saint-Pierre prison, Satory camp, and Borgnis-Desbordes barracks. After WWII, Versailles was in a rather catastrophic state. For this reason, a safeguard plan was initiated in 1952 by André Cornu, Secretary of State for Fine Arts. The Friends of Versailles society contributes to this plan in favor of the museum. And life went on as today !

The Palace of Versailles during WWII :

There you go folks, a sad period but gladly the Palace of Versailles came out ok for all future generations to enjoy. Thanks to some smart , alerte ,and hero folks around here. Hope you enjoy the post on Versailles during WWII as I

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

November 28, 2022

A train station at Houilles !

I have found me another old picture of our boys and parents using public transport in the Paris area and why not included it in my blog. Part of family memorabilia and using public transport as not always on the road warrior mode in my belle France. The town of Houilles is located 7 km from Paris (Porte Maillot) and about 8 km from Saint-Germain-en-Laye, It is in the dept 78 of the Yvelines and in the Île de France region,

This was in the Houilles-Carriéres sur Seine train station, and I was there with my twin boys coming from Paris I believe or going to Paris, The Houilles – Carrières-sur-Seine train station is on the Paris-Saint-Lazare line to Le Havre,and is located on the territory of the town of Houilles, near Carrières-sur-Seine which it share ownership, The station is listed at 80, place André Malraux ,but if you go there like me it is really at 7 Rue Robespierre.

Houilles train station twins oct05

The station is served by RER line A trains running on branches A3 (Cergy) and A5 (Poissy) and by Transilien lines J and L. RER A trains are from or to Cergy-le-Haut or Poissy on one side, and from or to Boissy-Saint-Léger, Torcy or Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy (Disneyland) on the other, Line L trains come from or go to Maisons-Laffitte or Cergy-le-Haut on one side, and Paris-Saint-Lazare via Nanterre-Université on the other side, . Line J trains come from or go to Mantes-la-Jolie on one side, and Paris-Saint-Lazare on the other. The fastest Paris journey from Gare du Nord to Houilles Carrières-sur-Seine takes 25 minutes. This route takes you with only a single change at Châtelet – Les Halles station. The complete route passes through 8 stations, The exits here are on the RER A
St-Germain or Cergy or Poissy / Boissy or MLV Chessy, exit/sortie 1 Place de la Gare, 2 Rue du 4 Septembre ,3 Rue Robespierere ,and 4 Rue Maurice Berteaux.

The things to see here which I have not are the Saint-Nicolas Church, dating from the 19C. The City center has nearby the country house of Victor Schœlcher,and where he died on December 25, 1893. He was a French journalist and politician, He is known to have acted in favor of the definitive abolition of the slavery in France, via the decree of abolition, signed by the provisional government of the Second Republic4 on April 27, 1848. He was also elected deputy of Martinique and then of Guadeloupe. His father sent him to Mexico in 1828, the United States and Cuba in 1828 until 1830 as a sales representative for the family business. When he is in Cuba, he is revolted by slavery. This house, acquired by the City of Houilles in December 2011 is at the old Rue d’Argenteuil, which was renamed Avenue Schœlcher in tribute to its illustrious resident.

The official Transilien public transport of Ïle de France region on the station

The town of Houilles on the station and connections

The town of Houilles and its history

There you go folks, a simple passage of time and more memories into my blog. This was territory we by passed by train and car and glad I have the Houilles-Carriéres sur Seine train station in my blog. Hope you enjoy the post as I

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

November 27, 2022

Some news from France , CCCLXXVI

This is my latest from my belle France ; as we continue into the half way point of Fall season. Most said winter will be harsh and already by early December temperatures will be lower down to 3C ! However, is that time again to tell you my latest rants about some news from France. An eventful post in my blog that I have enjoyed together with you for the last 12 years (tomorrow!!) And for those non Roman CCCLXXVI is 376 ! ,with another dandy round of news of my belle France , of course, chosen by me; there are many others. We will be tidy and drinking a nice glass of wine, coming inside our dining room! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The surroundings of the Eiffel Tower may not be renovated in time for the Olympic Games, A court decision has weighed down the ambitions of the City of Paris. It confirms the prefecture of police in its refusal to authorize the development work of the Trocadéro and the Quai Branly. Yeah ! Keep Paris as is !!

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has decided to file a complaint for defamation against the Minister of Public Accounts. On France Inter this Wednesday, Gabriel Attal affirmed that a system “which comes under Ponzi” exists within the City/town hall of Paris. He notably returned to the derogation which the City has long benefited from: capitalized rents. A system that allows the city to claim decades of rent in advance from social landlords. An organization that falls under the “Ponzi” system, a fraudulent financial arrangement used in particular by Bernard Maddoff, one of the biggest crooks in history, in the eyes of Gabriel Attal. When the snakes rattle there is something underneath, Stay tune…..

Janvry Christmas market: the small village of Essonne dept 91 ready to welcome 100,000 visitors ! This town of 630 inhabitants is organizing the 25th edition of its famous Christmas market from today Friday. Magical decorations, merry-go-rounds and nativity scenes from around the world: for two weekends, the crowd is expected for this unmissable end-of-year event, which brings together 140 exhibitors. To accommodate everyone, several car parks are available, especially along the parc animalier (350 places) and the pré des vaches or meadow of the cows (about 70 places). The main street of Janvry will be entirely pedestrianized. But don’t worry, the city has thought of everything: three small trains will run in a loop to bring people who want it to the market. Janvry market, today Friday from 12h to 20h., Saturday and Sunday from 10h to 19h Same hours from December 2 to 4. Free entrance. Webpage :

The La Défense Christmas market sees its opening finally postponed, It was to open this past Wednesday but it will still be necessary to wait a little longer to stroll through the aisles, between the exhibitor huts of the Paris La Défense Christmas market (Hauts-de- Seine dept 92). The opening of the 27th edition of this event, long considered the biggest Christmas market in Île-de-France region, was postponed this past Wednesday due to a negative opinion from the safety commission. The inauguration scheduled for the next day Thursday, at 18h, is also postponed. It is said might open by November 28 next Monday, Webpage :

The Klin d’œil creative market is back for a special Christmas edition, right in the heart of the Halle du Carreau du Temple! The Klin d’œil team has already conquered the regulars of the Carreau du Temple with its creative, joyful and colorful market accompanied by numerous DIY workshops. For the end-of-year celebrations, the weekend of December 17 and 18, 70 creators take over the majestic Halle , At the heart of the market, a mulled wine, a photocall with Santa Claus and even a massage session await you for a warm moment in a Christmas atmosphere. And also, a concert, a swing ball and many other surprises! Klin d’œil market, Halle du Carreau du Temple, 2, rue Perrée 3éme Saturday December 17 from 11h to 21h30, Sunday December 18 from 11h to 19h, Free admission,Webpage :

It is on a journey through time, into words and into life itself that Laure Adler invites us in her “Heure bleue” on France Inter. On the occasion of exhibitions (including that of the National Library of France) and the rain of publications that accompany the hundred years of Proust’s disappearance, she devotes a remarkable series in four parts to the one she playfully calls ” Marcel” as if it was above all a question of dusting him off, of refusing to make him the author of an icy cathedral and an impracticable mountain except by initiates. To begin this series, it is Jean-Yves Tadié, the great biographer of Marcel Proust, who first recalls that he was a Jewish and homosexual man at the time of the Dreyfus affair, in a largely ruthless and anti-Semitic society. That when he won the Goncourt Prize in 1919, he received a ton of insults since many would have found it fashionable to reward a veteran of the Great War (WWI) instead. In the second episode, Laure Murat recounts how her life changed by reading Marcel Proust and confides that she left her aristocratic family, never to see them again. The historian and author, who teaches Proust at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles), speaks of the consolation that Proust provides. The following two episodes give the floor to illustrator Stéphane Manel, who publishes a graphic novel adapted from the memories of Céleste Albaret (Monsieur Proust, 256 pages, governess and confidante of Proust, and Anne Simon, research director at the CNRS, while the essential Jean-Yves Tadié comes to close this joyful series. Webpage :

Amazon on Monsieur Proust book :

The charm of Dunkirk, sublimated by the Baron noir series, is not flashy From the port of port de grands vracs or large bulks, which sees the arrival of iron as well as exotic fruits, on the seafront of Malo-les -bains, the tourist spot of the city, the North Sea brings the city to life at the same time as it offers it a permanent spectacle. the Braek dyke is sublime from the first light of day. To the west of Dunkirk, after the port, this strip of land is covered with bitumen for more than 6 kms. The site, reputedly closed to the public despite its intense attendance, is spectacular: you have to imagine a kind of airstrip with holes in it, Dunkirk tourist office :

The private Canal Plus on the Baron Noir Series :

A Sausage Walk with lots of dachshunds to cuddle in the heart of Paris On Sunday December 4 2022 from 11h to 13h, for a Sunday walk between the Mirabeau and Alma bridges. The Paris Sausage Walk offers a solidarity axis and aims to collect donations for the association Teckels Sans Doux Foyer. To become a donor, all you have to do is buy bags, posters or badges available on site. The Assoc webpage :

The Paris living on the sausage walk :

Next spring, the Louis Vuitton Foundation will unveil a huge cross-exhibition dedicated to the “four-handed” creations of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. A look back at one of the greatest friendships in contemporary art. Headliners: Basquiat and Warhol come together in a must-see exhibition. This unique exhibition offers you a rich and crossed journey between the two legends of contemporary art, to be discovered from next April 2023, Throughout this journey, you will discover more than 100 common paintings retracing the fruitful collaboration between the two artists . Basquiat x Warhol, Four Hands is the most important exhibition ever dedicated to this singular work. Following their meeting in 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol developed a great bond and produced nearly 160 paintings together, almost daily! This intense collaboration will give birth to original works, some of which will even be among the greatest of their respective careers. Basquiat x Warhol – À quatre mains, Louis Vuitton Foundation, 8, avenue du Mahatma-Gandhi 16éme ,From April 5 to August 28, 2023, , webpage :

In the context of the global energy crisis,(brought on my incapable politicians we continue vote for!) Vincennes has decided not to install its traditional ephemeral ice rink this winter. To achieve significant energy savings in the face of rising gas and electricity prices, the town decided this year to replace it with a 600 m2 roller skate track. This “more sober” installation will be set up on the esplanade of the Hôtel de Ville for Christmas. The track will host 4 themed parties (Roaring Twenties, 50s, 80s and 2000s). Experienced riders will be able to evolve on the surface without constraint and the youngest will be able to learn in complete safety in an area which will be reserved for them, in the presence of a UCPA animator. Val de Marne dept 94 tourist office on the event :

It is at Port de la Gare, at the foot of the National Library of France, that Quai de la photo will open its doors in May 2023. Free exhibitions, a festive place to live and an integrated marina, this new multi-purpose structure has many surprises in store for you ! The floating art center will host temporary and permanent exhibitions with free access on an area of ​​more than 1000 m2. Something to delight photography enthusiasts who will discover both the big names in contemporary photography, but also many emerging French and foreign artists With its integrated marina, Quai de la photo will also offer excursions aboard small boats (100% electric of course). And if you are looking for an exceptional place to organize an event, the floating art center can even be privatized!Quai de la photo berges de Seine – rive gauche or Left Bank, Port de la Gare 13éme Free admission, Webpage :

Ouessant and Molène, the islands at the end of the world, the two islands planted off the high seas of Pointe Saint-Mathieu have a unique history and identity in this Iroise Sea subject to the excesses of the weather.

Molène, eyes in the sea, Leaving from Ouessant, it only takes 30 minutes to reach Molène by boat , A tour of the island on foot! (There are no cars). A short hike of 1h15 to take in the sea air. From the very quiet port, the path runs along the east and then south coast. Mounds of fresh seaweed cling to the shore. The potent smell appeals to gulls, which greedily dip their beaks. In front of the pyramidal landmark and up to Beg ar Loued (southern tip of the island), the sun in backlight iridescent the greenish blue sea. There are a few dry stone walls there that give this Breton island an air of Ireland… At the Pointe de Roëlen, a rock higher than the others, the island culminates at 26 meters , gives a view of Ouessant , the islets and the line of gray roofs of the village of Molène, surmounted by the spire of the Saint-Ronan Church. Head for the village, completing the tour by a ribine or path and the statue of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Retour. What remains to be seen is the church, its English cemetery and the Drummond Castle museum. And then the frescoes of the Abri Roussin,or shelter ; the Calvary, the semaphore, the soda ovens, once used to burn seaweed. A whole small heritage witnessing a subsistence and mutual aid economy turned towards the ocean.

The Ponant islands on Molène :

The local Irose Brittany tourist office on Molène island :

On Yusin Beach, on the north coast, on a stormy day, the spectacle of waves crashing against the rocks of Ouessant Island is mesmerizing. At the Créac’h lighthouse, the show is also spellbinding. It is at the Ponte de Pern that the piece reaches its heights. Due west, the cape receives with mute self-sacrifice , it is used to it, all the anger accumulated by the ocean. Packets of water exploding on the rock, mush of shaggy foam, iodized explosions slapping the faces. Hypnotic! The charms of Lampaul in the capital there are rites: go buy Le Télégramme newspaper as soon as you see the plane from Brest arriving; have a coffee at the bar-tabac Ty Butun; look at the window of the Ouessant Image gallery, by photographer Dominique Baot, a tireless surveyor of the island; finish the day at the pub Ty Korn (the “Tyk”), justice of the peace for Ouessant evenings. How good it is then to be sheltered after dark when the raging ocean harasses the last inhabited land of western France !

The Ponant islands on Ouessant :

The Ouessant island tourist office :

At FC Versailles, the first on the bench with the Brazilian Cris, the former player of Olympique Lyonnais has been the new Versailles coach for a week. He will experience his baptism of fire on the bench this Friday, November 25 in Villefranche-sur-Saône on behalf of the 13th day of National league. On a grass half-pitch at the Porchefontaine stadium in Versailles (Yvelines 78), Welcome to Versailles !! webpage :

Three years separate the first from the second edition of the Grand Prix for the best Parisian pastry. The culinary event launched in 2019 was therefore back yesterday Thursday with twelve participants and a very specific theme: Parisian gardens. The prize was awarded to pastry chef Jordan Talbot for his piece “Autumn Wake”. who works at Maison Lucas Carton, located at 9, place de la Madeleine, in the 8éme arrondissement of Paris, On the podium, the works “Fleur de Miel”, by Hugo Spiesser-Ferrette (Christophe Michalak pastry shop) and ” L’Idylle” by Louise Riot (hotel-restaurant Molitor) came second and third respectively.

After the success of the first edition of Chez Monix last winter, the bistro welcomes you back to its chalet with gondola, fireplace, raclette, unlimited fondue and mulled wine of course! Discover a charming mountain village in the heart of a forest of fir trees, for an immersion in the atmosphere of skiing, just 10 minutes from the Porte Maillot. You can also board the barge of the Splash to enjoy a good seafood platter in the restaurant La mer à verre. And in addition, Chez Monix offers you to privatize your gondola to spend a privileged moment with your loved ones! Other venues at Là-Haut in Suresnes, Sapristi in Rueil Malmaison, Saperlipopette in Puteaux, Le Bistrot Pas Parisien in Colombes and Bistrot Top Chef in Suresnes offer you the flavors of the mountains just outside Paris! Chez Monix Port Van Gogh, Asnières-sur-Seine (Hauts de Seine 92) , Webpage :

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France coming to you freely by the road warrior travel guy . Hope you enjoy this post and do take the air of the Fall season with style in France better ,me think,,, And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 22, 2022

The Brasserie Paul of Rouen !!!

In my nostalgic saga of my family visits to wonderful places to spent a day in my belle France, I take you this time to Rouen. Who has not heard of Rouen? The gorgeous city in the Seine-Maritime dept 76 of the region of Normandie. We have come here often many times, especially since living closer in Versailles. I have my wonderful memories I like to share and maybe they will become yours too. Hope you enjoy it as I,

This is an update of an older post, Initially we came here from Versailles by car , and once by train from Gare St Lazare in Paris, after getting there from the rive droite station in Versailles, You can do in a day, either way for lunch , and sightseeing, it is worth it, me think,. I like to tell you with a very personal picture about our wonderful memories of the Brasserie Paul of Rouen.

rouen brasserie Paul PF et MF pl cathedrale l oct08

It is located at Place de la Cathédrale ,right diagonally from the Cathedral,  much less ancient than the Cathedral, but just as historic, Brasserie Paul also offers a trip back in time, in the shadow of the memories of Marcel Duchamp who played chess or Simone de Beauvoir, a loyal customer and also Claude Monet, and Apollinaire. Founded in 1911, the oldest brewery in Rouen in activity. The restaurant has kept an old-fashioned charm with its comfortable banquettes, friendly fast service even at lunch with great food and ambiance. You can have croissants in the morning, or dinner out of the opera or cinema. Brasserie Paul offers traditional home-made cooking. The fresh and regional products value the Normandy terroir and Rouen craftsmen, such as the Osmont bakery and the Olivier cheese maker. The years pass but the myth continues!  We tried the house specialty ,apple and camembert turnover with a cider sauce on this occasion,  sublime worth coming back for it, and gladly we did !!. And of course, plenty of Norman cider with great views of the wonderful Cathedral of Rouen! You can’t ask for a better food or spot than this one.

The official Brasserie Paul of Rouen

The Rouen tourist office on the Brasserie Paul

My blog roll favorite reviews Yelp on the Brasserie Paul :

There you go folks, another dandy in culinary magical France. And of course, you have heard of the Norman hole? trou normande=  a gastronomic custom that consists of drinking a small glass of calvados between two dishes. It must facilitate digestion and restore appetite to guests ! Enjoy it like a true Norman! Be there at Brasserie Paul of Rouen!!

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

November 17, 2022

Some news from France , CCCLXXV

This is my latest from my belle France ; as we continue into a mild Fall season. That time again to tell you my latest rants about some news from France. An eventful post in my blog that I have enjoyed together with you for the last 12 years now!! And for those non Roman CCCLXXV is 375 ! ,with another dandy round of news of my belle France , of course, chosen by me; there are many others. We are in Fall season mild higher temps for the season is announce. We will be tidy and drinking a nice glass of wine, coming inside our dining room! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Quick, this is an update! Last November 16 2022, Louis Vuitton announced the opening in December of Louis Vuitton Dream, a free exhibition space where you can discover the most important collaborations of the house, as well as the creations of designers and artists. At the same time, a room is provided to stop for a coffee and taste chocolates, made in collaboration with chef Maxime Frédéric. But the house has more than one trick up its sleeve: it is now announcing the forthcoming transformation of part of its headquarters, located opposite La Samaritaine. Part of the place will indeed become a hotel, and as you can imagine, it will not be a hotel like the others! Luxurious and dazzling, but also splendid for the unique view it will offer over the City of Light. Stay tune!

At the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, cancers demystified,While 1,000 people are diagnosed every day, cancer remains a taboo subject for nearly one in four French people . For the first time, an exhibition for the general public lifts the veil on the different aspects of this complex disease. To be discovered from the age of 14 at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris until August 2023. In constant increase in France for 30 years, cancer is today a real social phenomenon: nearly four million of our fellow citizens face or have already faced this disease. There are over 200 different cancers. Even if they all have in common an anarchic proliferation of cells, they do not attack the body in the same way. For the same organ, we can find very varied cancers. A 26-minute film follows the journey of four patients, each at a different stage, thus providing an overview of conventional care (radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery) but also more innovative ones such as hormone therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies and supportive care (nutrition, psychology, etc.). Without forgetting an inventory of research in France through interviews with 11 high-level Cancer researchers, Until August 8, 2023 at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie de Paris, 30 Av. Corentin Cariou, 19éme. Webpage :

Three or four paintings by the famous 19C painter Gustave Le Gray exist in the world, but few of his paintings have been formally identified. The auction, this coming Thursday, November 17, of a painting by the painter and photographer, by the Toulouse auctioneer Marc Labarbe, is therefore an exceptional event, which is of interest to many museums. This large painting, representing the artist’s wife, Palmira Madeline Gertrude Leonardi, an Italian met in Rome, with whom he had six children between 1845 and 1857, four of whom died prematurely. Le Gray rose to fame under Napoleon III but, crippled with debt in 1860, he abandoned his wife and children. Exhibited at the Salon of 1853, was kept by his descendants and is therefore completely unpublished. A painter by training, Gustave Le Gray had followed the teaching of Paul Delaroche at the School of Fine Arts, before leaving for Italy. Alongside his activity as a photographer, Gustave Le Gray never stopped painting, portraits and orientalist scenes being his favorite subjects. Webpage :

At the end of September,2022 the first works for the future Cable 1 cable car were launched in Créteil, in the Val-de-Marne.(94) The project led by Île-de-France Mobilités will connect Créteil to Villeneuve-Saint-Georges in less than 20 minutes.It provides for the creation of five stations in Créteil, Limeil-Brévannes, Valenton and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, over a 4.5 km stretch. This first phase of work should extend until the summer of 2023. It is located on the road RD1, at the Créteil – Pointe du Lac metro station of line 8, where the terminus of Cable 1.webpage :

Paris is the city in Europe where self-service electric scooters are used the most. The Parisian company Fluctuo observes and analyzes micromobility services around the world. According to his data, Paris is the capital in Europe where the use of these machines is the most intensive. And if they continue no cars only scooters will be on like in some other major cities of our world lol ! .webpage :

Removing the heating on the terrace means 10% less annual turnover according to some restauranteurs, Established for 32 years in the Marais (4éme) where he has three restaurants (le Fer à cheval, les Philosophes and la Chaise au plafond), Xavier Denamur, known for his fight against junk food, readily presents himself as “restorer of the Republic”. Anxious to respect the law, which now prohibits heated terraces, he was among the first, last spring, to remove his braziers. The 12,285 owners operating a terrace in Paris have been notified. In addition to the fine if they continue to heat the outside, those who have not dismantled their devices by January 1, 2023 will have to pay compensation for irregular occupation of the public domain. So no more terraces in Paris another new look of the new City government, and soon there will not be Paris as we know it, I am far from it now !

Nearly eight years after the first developments, lanes reserved for buses (and in some cases taxis) on major roads and motorways represent only 1% of the length of the region’s national road network. It is obvious that will influence the design of future road public transport networks in the outer suburbs: even the most express “express buses” will prove to be ineffective if they remain paralyzed in the daily traffic jams of the main axes of the Ile-de-France region. Of course, keep cutting roads and the jams will become a battle cry ! Stay tune for 2023 !

This one for the memories of old Paris and we even had celebrated my boys birthdays on them, Bankruptcy of Chez Clément (see post restaurants: two years firm required against the former boss, Five years in prison, three of which are probationary. And the definitive ban on managing. for misuse of company assets and fraud, in the case of the takeover of the brand. Hearing the sentence requested by the prosecutor against him, this past Monday, before the Nanterre Criminal Court (Hauts-de-Seine 92), Stanislas Dewynter is stunned. The shock is severe for the one that All-Paris knew in the early 2000s as a talented businessman, who reaped success with his twenty chic and trendy restaurants. It was delighted that he bought the Chez Clément restaurant brand in 2012, the operation precipitated him into the abyss, They are all gone sadly for some mismanagement deeds.

One good news for me and many memorable moments with my dear late wife Martine in her native town, The Majestic cinema in Meaux (Seine et Marne 77), the UGC buys the walls and resumes the work suspended for two years ! The work must resume this Thursday (tomorrow). The Majestic cinema building, in the city center, has therefore officially been sold for 900,000 euros by the city to the General Cinematographic Union. or UGC ! Great news for my first movie outing in France ever !! webpage :

Surprise not as I know the area but Orly airport: thieves scour duty free stores, border police crack down and call passengers to be vigilant yes indeed, ,Since the start of the school year last September 2022, Orly border police (PAF) officials have arrested fourteen thieves. Most of the thefts were committed in the duty free shops in the terminals, The border police, who work closely with Groupe ADP to ensure the safety of travelers, invite the public visiting airports to always maintain a certain vigilance, Of course, common sense prevails always, Orly webpage :

A traditional building, called a “mandir”, will open alongside Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist places of worship. The first stone of this building was laid in early September 2022 in Bussy-Saint-Georges (Seine et Marne 77) . By 2026, a mandir a traditional Hindu temple will emerge from the ground in Bussy-Saint-Georges. It will join the other places of worship on the Esplanade of Religions and Cultures on the Allée Madame-de-Montespan, a true haven of peace where Muslims, Jews, Jews, Buddhists and Christians.Just by the Disneyland Paris area ; webpage :

This winter, the Musée de l’Homme is transformed into a real art museum! From today Wednesday November 16 to Monday May 22, 2023, discover how our artistic practices have evolved, from prehistory to the present day. On the program: ancient objects from collections from all over Europe, films, photo projections, audiovisual installations, interactive devices… Enough to discover prehistoric art from all angles.Arts et Préhistoire at the Musée de l’Homme 17, place du Trocadéro 16éme, Webpage:

Discover the links between the mineral world and the living world, through beautiful ceramic pieces! The Sèvres porcelain factory and the National Museum of Ceramics are hosting Living Forms, an exhibition bringing together nearly 350 works, ceramics from the Renaissance to the present day. Put into perspective with paintings, pieces of goldsmithery or even scientific objects, the collection questions us about our own relationship to the living. living elms, Sèvres – Manufacture et Musée nationaux, 2 place de la Manufacture – Sèvres (Hauts de Seine 92) Until May 7, 2023, Webpage :

For Alberto Giacometti, a large 6,000 square meter museum in the center of Paris, The Swiss Artist Foundation, cramped in its premises in Montparnasse, will open in 2026, in the former Air France terminal, at the Invalides. Since 2018, the Giacometti Institute, created in the 14éme arrondissement of Paris by the Alberto and Annette Giacometti Foundation. It holds a collection of exceptional abundance: 95 paintings, 260 bronzes, 550 plasters, thousands of drawings and engravings, such considerable archives and a large part of the artist’s library. But, precisely, to show them, the 350 square meters located rue Victor-Schœlcher, in an Art Deco style private mansion in Montparnasse, turned out to be cramped, precisely because of the success of the exhibitions mounted by the Foundation, in Paris and a almost everywhere in the world, and the constantly growing reputation of the artist.Webpage:

It is on the side of a railway wasteland, in the 20éme arrondissement of Paris, that a forest should grow by 2024 ; the City of Paris has announced the purchase of a former station of the Petite Ceinture to open a new section, from Cours de Vincennes to Rue Volga, and transform the whole into a new vast park, a beautiful wooded and vegetated space. On the program, an urban forest therefore, with 2000 new trees planted, but also a clearing and an opening onto the garden of the Charonne station. No need to go to the Bois de Vincennes, the 20éme will also have its own forest.webpage :

And as usual , my end of post culinary delights of my eternal Paris, and belle France!

Le Doyenné, in Essonne (91) , elected best table in France by Fooding, A few months after its opening, in June 2022, the farm-restaurant of Saint-Vrain, created by two Australian chefs in an old castle, is already consecrated by the gastronomic guide .Fooding an alternative Michelin guide that was “cooler”, which revealed its 2023 list on Monday. Four Parisian addresses received a price. The best bistro in France is in Paris at the Bistrot des Tournelles (4éme), the best antidepressant is assigned to Soces (19éme), the best Frit Style is at Reyna (11éme), while Fooding d’amour returns to this furious madness what is Jones (11éme).Webpage :

Looking for inexpensive places students and lovers of cheap cocktails, you are not dreaming, the 2.50€ pints in the heart of Paris do exist! From 16h to 02h, Au Taquet bar welcomes you for an extended happy hour that won’t hurt your wallet. Open from Monday to Saturday, the bar is located between the Poissonnière and Cadet metro stations, you can have a good time with friends and share good cheese and charcuterie boards, always at reduced prices! At Le Taquet 19, rue Bleue 9éme no web yet,

Nestled in the heart of the 8éme, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées and Parc Monceau, is one of our beloved brasseries: La Belle Poule at 18, avenue Hoche 8éme Open 7/7 from 7h to 02h no web yet,

Le P’tit Mousse,with its wooded interior of this fisherman’s hut-style brasserie, the pretty blue and white checkered counter behind which you can see the small series of bottles selected by Thierry, the boss, as well as the large boat suspended from the ceiling, we are embarking on a little exceptional taste journey. Here we are by the sea! Le P’tit Mousse 9, rue Rambuteau 4éme ,Open Tuesday to Friday evenings, Weekends all day until 23h30 no web yet

Le Petit Chinon is the promise of traditional, no-frills cuisine, served promptly in the heart of Paris. Sunny terrace, authentic decoration, warm welcome and good food come together to make our lives easier and simplify our lunch break. On site or to take away, Le Petit Chinon is the ultra practical brasserie for those in a hurry! Le Petit Chinon, 23, rue du Louvre 1éme , opne from Monday to Saturday from 8h to 21h no web yet

It is on a pretty tree-lined square that the Café Joséphine has decided to settle. On one side, a restaurant with tablecloths whose slick decoration was directly inspired by Joséphine de Beauharnais: herringbone parquet flooring, velvet sofas, giant bouquet of peonies and subdued lighting. On the other, a cocktail bar inspired by the world of Josephine Baker, embodying freedom, aesthetics and generosity. Here, you can enjoy traditional French cuisine in a friendly Art Deco setting, Café Joséphine, 1-3, place des 2 Écus 1éme Monday to Saturday from 8h to 01h, Sunday from 10h to 23h, Webpage :

Chez Cézanne, we have a taste for good work, even in a simple way. A few steps from the Jacquemart-André Museum, we find this good address with a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Great products and quality ingredients come together in this kitchen in the heart of Paris. Bistrot Cézanne 13 Avenue Herrick 8éme, Webpage:

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France coming to you freely by the road warrior travel guy . Hope you enjoy this post and do take the air of the Fall season with style in France better ,me think,,, And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

November 11, 2022

This is my dear VERSAILLES !!!

I will tell you again about Versailles, by updating this older post for you and me. IF you have read my previous posts on the city, you will notice I once lived there,  9 years of glorious times. Not everyday you can say live in a royal town, surrounded by history and beauty and do your jogging in the gardens of the palace of Versailles. This will be on my black and white series, no pictures! But enough of me; let me tell you about my dear VERSAILLES !!! Oh yes this is in the Yvelines dept 78 of the Île de France region of my belle France. All the places mention in this post have their own post in my blog fyi

The city of Versailles is 22 km (14 miles) from Paris. The town developed around the 17C Palace of Versailles, built on ordered of king Louis XIV, the principal residence of the kings of France and the seat of the government for more than 100 years. The first scenes of the French revolution were enacted at the palace, whose gardens, the masterpiece of André Le Nôtre, have become part of the national heritage of France and one of the most-visited historical sites in Europe.  At its height, about 20,000 persons attached to the court, some 1,000 courtiers with 4,000 attendants lived in the palace itself. About 14,000 soldiers and servants were quartered in annexes like the commons building to the left of the palace while looking at it, and in the town, which was founded in 1671 and had 30,000 inhabitants when Louis XIV died in 1715. Today, it has about 84k inhabitants.

The first mention of Versailles was written in a charter dated from 1038, in the Abbey of Saint-Père de Chartres  where it was cited the name of a lord named Hugues de Versailles ; he will be the first known lord of Versailles. In 1623, king  Louis XIII  had built a hunting meeting house in the land of about 350 hectares purchased from different owners. By April 1632, king Louis XIII purchased the totality of the lordship of Versailles to his last owner Jean-François de Gondi, bishop of  Paris. The General Estates were held here on May 5 1789 at the Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs and by June 17 1789 upon the suggestion of abbot Sieyés took the current name of National Assembly or « Assemblée nationale ».  The king had closed the  Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs, and the  members of the third estate took to the salle de Jeu de Paume on June 20 1789  where the famous sermon was said ; not to leave until the constitution was agreed.  Immediately after the taking of the Bastille the first noblemen immigrated such as the Count of Artois, future Charles X and younger brother of king Louis XVI . The National Assembly abolished feudalism in August 4 1789. Finally, by October 5-6 1789 the crowds coming from Paris invade the palace and forced the royal family to come to Paris.  A while later, the constituted assembly followed the king and this was the end of its role of Capital of Versailles. It must be mentioned that today the French constitution calls that any changes, amendments or alteration to it needs to be decided and voted on by the entire French government at Versailles; last done in 2009 under President Sarkozy.

Some of the wonderful things done during the monarchy was the Grand and Petit Trianon as well as the Hameau of the Queen Marie Antoinette. Outside the palace grounds you have the Grand Commons, where the servants and lower officers lived right off ave de l’indepedance Americaine left side facing the palace. This building was the work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, built in 1684 in the form of a square ring in front of the midi wing of the palace and occupied until  1995 by the Military hospital Dominique-Larrey,it now houses the administrative services of the palace. Also, the Grande Ecurie housing the carriage museum and the Petite Ecurie both in front of the palace and separated by the Avenue de Paris, also built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart ; You have the stables of the Queen  or écuries de la Reine, first of the King and later of the Queen built by  François d’Orbay in 1672, that houses today the appeals court  of Versailles at 5 rue Carnot.

See the old police mansion of Versailles, these were the old stables of Madame du Barry up 19-21 avenue de Paris; and the current chamber of Commerce also the mansion of Madame du Barry nearby. On the other side you have the vegetable garden or potager du roi, next to the parc de Versailles  from which it communicated by the royal grille , the garden was of 9 hectares and was created in 1683 by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie.; houses today the school of gardeners that takes care of it today. It is in the process of a renovation project  with various institutions including a funding group from the USA.

One of my family’s favorite is the parc Balbi , English style gardens of 2,5 hectares, created at the end of the 18C  for  Anne de Caumont -La Force, Countess of Balbi and lover of the Count of Provence (future king Louis XVIII and next brother of Louis XVI). You come to 73 ave de Paris and see the Domaine de Madame Élisabeth  a wonderful park of  7,2 hectares and one of my family’s favorites ; Madame Elizabeth was the sister of king Louis XVI beheaded for defending her brother in 1794. She has since been beautify to become a Saint of the Catholic Church. The palace you should know is also known as a Château/Museum of of the history of France (château de Versailles) created and saved in 1837 by the king of the French  Louis-Philippe, dedicated to all the glories of France , where the room emblem is the gallery of battles or galerie des batailles. The Orangerie of course, another wonderful spot to visit.You, also have the Salle du jeu de paume,(Royal Tennis Court) now a museum of the French revolution since 1883.Recently, renovated! The educational Musée Lambinet, at 54  boulevard de la Reine (wonderful must see) the municipal museum of Versailles since 1932  in the mansion hôtel Lambinet  that showcase the collection retracing the history of Versailles and specially the work of local sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The Centre la marechalerie art contemporaire 5, avenue de Sceaux , wonderful modern art and close to palace and nice parking!! You, also ,have the sublime Osmothèque, a private museum since 1990 in the building of the international superior institute of perfumes, cosmetics and aromatics foods or ISIPCA, where they have a collection of perfumes going back to Marie Antoinette ; but only visited by appointment at 36 rue du Parc de Clagny.

King Louis XV continues to enhance and renovate the palace to the point of extravaganza; by 1837 Louis Philippe restored the palace and turned into a museum as it is today. The Prussians besiege Paris in 1870 and used Versailles as its headquarters, and in 1871 the Prussian emperor was crowned there. For eight years after the peace with Prussia/Germany, the palace was the seat of the French Parliament, and the constitution of the Third Republic was proclaimed there in 1875. The presidents of the Third and Fourth republics were elected in Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) between the Allies and Germany was signed in the palace, which was again restored and modernized under Pres. Charles de Gaulle. The city of Versailles is now a local administrative center and residential suburb of Paris. The palace serves as a tourist attraction and as a residence for visiting heads of state. The district of  Satory ( right coming out of the palace), contains the newer cathedral of Saint-Louis,(1843) . While the Notre Dame district (mine !!) , is the site of the oldest Church of Notre-Dame (1686); where all births, baptisms and marriages of the princes of Versailles are recorded and still revered by all French noblemen. You still can see the emblem of French kings on the upper left hand inside. Versailles is an important garrison town, with a military hospital and a school of military engineering and artillery. However, the adjoining Satory plateau is the location of armament and high-tech (electronics) industries. A school of horticulture (1874) is attached to a fine garden. Lots of building and renovations going on here now.

Versailles lost its position as the administrative capital permanently in 1789 with the forced departure of Louis XVI for Paris.  The privileged among these were granted rooms within the chateau itself (which contained 220 apartments and 450 surprisingly small rooms); the less fortunate lived in the town of Versailles or were forced to travel back and forth to Paris each day. To secure the allegiance of his nobility and to prevent anyone else from gaining too much influence and power, Louis XIV distributed all royal patronage personally, no chief minister had control over the treasury, the distribution of estates, or the assignment of lucrative church posts or military commands. The intricate rules and rituals that governed the members of Louis XIV’s court facilitated the creation of the modern centralized state. The ordered society of Versailles became the European ideal of the well-run state from the Hôtel de ville or city hall.

The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular attractions in Europe, the gardens cover 800 hectares of land with sculptures, rare flowers and vivid greenery. Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, the Royal Opera of Versailles is located in the North wing of the Palace of Versailles;  some sights to see the Galerie des Glaces inside the Palace of Versailles, served daily as a meeting area and passageway connecting the apartments of the King and Queen. More than 350 mirrors are used in the decoration of this breathtaking hall, with 17 mirror-decorated arches reflecting 17 gilded and arcaded windows; The Royal Chapel, also inside the palace was constructed in 1689. It became the inspiration for many other European churches, thanks to its colorful marble flooring, large sculptures and illustrious paintings; ; Versailles also plays host to an array of bustling markets and street stalls. Beginning back in the 17C, Versailles’ ancient market stalls became a lively part of daily life until they were replaced in 1841 by the covered market, a business still in operation today. Top picks for markets in Versailles include the Market of Notre Dame (very near my old home!!!) , offering a range of fresh French food from brioche to frogs legs., and more galore, simply the best!!!

The towns surrounding Versailles are Vaucresson, Marnes-la-Coquette and Ville-d’Avray to the north east (towns of Hauts-de-Seine dept 92), Viroflay to the east, Vélizy-Villacoublay and Jouy-en-Josas to the southeast, Buc to the south, Guyancourt to the southwest, Saint-Cyr-l’École  to the west, Bailly and Le Chesnay-Rocquencourt to the northwest (my kids high school was here in the old town of Le Chesnay !!!) . The city is in a curve valley located at between 100 and 150 mètres  altitude, and high hills surrounding those at most 180 meters on the south plateau of  Satory, and to the east the forest of Meudon , and the plateau of  Vélizy, north the forest of the Fausses-Reposes. Then on the plateau of Versailles on the west you have the hill of Montbauron, at 157 meters high right in the center of the city !

Versailles is easily accessible by car (parking available), taxi, bus, or train. The RER C line links several stations in central Paris with the Versailles Rive Gauche-Château station, five minutes from the palace on foot. Trains also run from Paris Montparnasse to Versailles Chantiers and from Paris Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive-Droite (closest to me),each a ten-minute walk from the palace. The RATP bus 171 runs from Pont de Sèvres metro station to front of Palace of Versailles  There are two other train stations such as Montreuil and Porchefontaine a bit further away from the palace. It  pays to arrive at off-peak hours such as soon after the 9h (9a.m.) opening time or earlier. Some days are also busier than others, including Sundays and Tuesdays, when many Paris museums, including the Louvre are closed. Best Wednesdays but nowdays is so pack, hard to tell. Better to purchase in advance at any FNAC stores or the office across from the tourist office before heading to the palace.

The roads here are excellent, and you passed right next to the palace on the N10 from Viroflay to Trappes , and in Versailles proper this road goes around the place d’Armes in front of the palace under the name of Avenue de Paris, and continues west towards the south of the parc of Versailles passing between the palace and the lake of the Swiss or the pièce d’eau des Suisses. The town is reach by wonderful roads such as the on the north the A13 (autoroute de Normandie) on the exits or sorties  5 and 6 takes to city center /Downtown Versailles. It can be continue on the A12 that goes around the town on the west side; to the south is the N12 where I come to visit now with exit or sorties 1 to 4 given access to the city. Starting at the bridge or pont Colbert, it goes along the district of  Satory, direction  Saint-Cyr-l’École towards  Brest via Dreux, Alençon, Rennes ,Vannes , and Saint-Brieuc ; to the east you have the western side of the A86 forming under a tunnel with tolls linking Versailles  (Pont Colbert) to  Rueil-Malmaison. You can come on the N186 by the boulevard de la Reine or blvd du Roi, as well as by the big avenues such as Avenue de Paris, Avenue de Saint-Cloud ,and Avenue des États-Unis. Versailles  has about 65 km of bike trails and a green belt of about 20 km around it good for cycling as well as in the surrounding forest. The N10 is known here as the kings route as this is the traject king Louis XIV did to go from the palace of Versailles to the Fortress of the Louvre in Paris, today still can done starting at the palace up avenue de paris is the N10 by Boulogne-Billancourt it is the D910 same road along avenue de Versailles into Paris and the Louvre at rue de Rivoli.

The bus line express 19 by Transdev Ecquevilly comes into the town by Avenue Saint Cloud before Avenue de l’Europe. This road you can take from ave Saint Cloud and stop at Parly II shopping center, next to it is the Arboreteum or natural tree park some dating back to the Kings, and walking about 300 meters down you can entered free on the Porte Saint Antoine and see right there the Hameau of Marie Antoinette then the Trianons, and garden to palace: it was our route to avoid the crowds and go joggying!!

In the city there are 8 districts such as Notre-Dame (mine !!!) on the north axe of the palace and avenue de Paris with the emblematic Notre Dame Church ; the parish Church of the Palace ; the first district to be built under king Louis XIV ; location also for the théâtre Montansier opened in 1777, right by rue des reservoirs the old aqueduct folly of Louis XIV; more on this theater that Marie-Antoinette love so much as well as the Musée Lambinet. The Hôtel du bailliage or bailif today antique shops galore  and the best shopping streets of Versailles  such as the rue de la Paroisse,  rue Hoche (old rue Dauphine) and the rue du Maréchal-Foch, in addition to market heaven place du Marché-Notre-Dame, surrounded by its four halles or covered markets.  To the north of the district you have the boulevard du Roi ,and the boulevard de la Reine, and the tranquil rue de l’Ermitage, along the sides of the palace.  You have the district of  Montbauron  from the place d’Armes to the hill or Mont Bauron  including the between the avenue de Paris and avenue de Saint-Cloud ; here you have the oldest flower market ,more on the markets. On the other side you have the district of Saint-Louis, symmetrically opposed to the  Notre-Dame by in line to the axe of the palace and avenue de Paris,on the south flank of avenue de Paris and where you find the Saint-Louis Cathedral that gives the name to the district, here you have the Salle du jeu de paumepotager du roi ,and the pièce d’eau des Suisses. It is on the old site of the village of Versailles, before the construction of the palace; move on to the district of Chantiers, around the train station of same name, and given this name due to been the work sites for the construction of the palace in the 17C. There is also, Montreuil, to the east with the shopping street of same name , domaine de Madame Elizabeth is here as the old house of the count of Provence (Louis XVIII)  and the house of the Italian musicians called in by Louis XIV and today the museum of compagnons, and Porchefontaine, to the south east a more residential village ambiance; then Clagny-Glatigny, to the north of the same makeup; Bernard de Jussieu, to the north east of town and north of Montreuil  basically a residential district as well; Satory, to the southwest and the district essentially with a military fields, and buildings for housing defense personnel except the rue Satory, a very lively resto shopping area off avenue de Sceaux to the right of the palace and a great parking at the end.

An anecdote, at 11, Rue Exelmans which now is a Forest Hills sports center used to be the freezing room of the King or freezer to keep meats with huge chunks of ice! And of course we do have a little train too even in palace property and out !

The city of Versailles on its heritage:

The Versailles tourist office on its heritage:

The official Château de Versailles :

For info, the Friends of the Palace of Versailles (which me a member since 2008):

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist office on Versailles:

There you go folks, you have it all. This is a town where according to the city of Versailles 98% of visitors only come for the palace, pity, they are missing a whole royal town of France, unique. See it for more than that. Versailles is France. Glad spent my earlier French life there, never to be forgotten, Hope you enjoy this post on my dear Versailles, an introduction.

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

November 4, 2022

Some news from France , CCCXLIV

This is my latest from my belle France ; as we continue into a mild Fall season. That time again to tell you my latest rants about some news from France. An eventful post in my blog that I have enjoyed together with you for the last 12 years now!! And for those non Roman CCCLXXIV is 374 ! ,with another dandy round of news of my belle France , of course, chosen by me; there are many others. We are in Fall season mild higher temps for the season is announce. We will be tidy and drinking a nice glass of wine, coming inside our dining room! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

At the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie, cancers demystified , While 1,000 people are diagnosed every day, cancer remains a taboo subject for nearly one in four French people. For the first time, an exhibition for the general public lifts the veil on the different aspects of this complex disease. To be discovered from 14 years old at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris until August 2023.Cancers, the first general public exhibition dedicated to the subject. In partnership with the National Cancer Institute (INCa) and INSERM, they wanted an exhibition that was both very educational and hopeful, through testimonials of remission, the state of research and information on treatments. Cancers, until August 8, 2023 at the City of Science and Industry, 30 Av. Corentin Cariou, 19éme, Webpage :

Serge Vial had bought the business of this popular bistro in 1986 ,located at 136, rue Marcadet (18éme), It’s over. La Divette de Montmartre bowed out this past Sunday evening to music. The famous 18éme arrondissement Parisian bistro is no more. On the sidewalk, the “commando sausage fanfare” played until 20h, even if the party lasted until midnight, to the delight of the regulars, who came to greet one last time Serge Vial, the manager , and Michèle, his wife since, The eternal surporters of Saint Etienne football club, it was my favorite since NJ days and even met one of their players in a car dealer in Miami that has escape his name ! The sport magazine Onze Mondial on La Divette for memories of always :

The madness of country music in Île-de-France and in the Oise dept 60 ! Everywhere in Île-de-France and in the Oise, country clubs are full of members. Because this dance from the United States seduces by its accessibility and its conviviality Indeed must be a craze as in my area in Morbihan breton they do festivals where it is included too, I did it while in college just for the girls lol !! Comes to mind Finky’s in Daytona Beach, Florida !

Justice has ordered the return of an impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro, “La Fileuse“, to the Mullot family, farmers from Seine-et-Marne (77). Jean-Jacques Bauer, the descendant of a Parisian collector looted during WWII, claimed it. The case was dismissed. It is a small impressionist painting by Camille Pissarro, dating from 1874, rather dark, entitled “La Fileuse”, which was the subject of a legal showdown between Meaux (Seine-et-Marne 77 ) and Paris. With on one side, a family of farmers from the small village of Aubepierre-Ozouer-le-Repos, in possession of the canvas worth some 150,000 euros. And on the other, the Parisian Jean-Jacques Bauer, 92, whose Jewish grandfather, Simon, a collector, based in rue de la Pompe (16éme), had been robbed of 93 paintings in 1943, including 13 by Pissarro, by the Vichy regime under the Nazi boot. So the farmers kept it

It was described by Emile Zola in “l’Assommoir”. The Lavoir Moderne Parisien, located at 35, rue Léon, in the heart of Goutte-d’Or, in the 18éme arrondissement of Paris, is on the verge of dying despite its notoriety. To support its occupants in their fight, a vast petition has just been launched. Among the first signatories, Annie Ernaux, Nobel Prize for Literature. The objective is simple: to push back the City and thus challenge the mayor (PS) of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, in order to save the Lavoir. A place transformed in the 1960s into an atypical performance hall, with obvious cachet. Since 2008, even if its existence is regularly threatened, the theater has always resisted. This is what needs to be save not a road closure as the mayor likes to do better !!Facebook page:

The RATP structures are subject to a detailed inspection every five years. That of the Austerlitz viaduct in Paris, on line 5, 118 years old, has just started. The machine once positioned in the middle of the viaduct which crosses the Seine – from Austerlitz to Quai-de-la-Rapée, the agents of the RATP Infra division who took place there begin their inspections. They have barely more than three hours of intervention before having to clear the way for the resumption of commercial traffic in the early morning. So a lot of work going on to update these old structures many ride on daily !

What if the dream of resuscitating the Château de Saint-Cloud finally took shape? The supporters of the reconstruction multiply the projects to convince the State. The monument was destroyed by flames during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 (like several others among them the palace of the tuileries) and whose ruins were razed in 1892 . Laurent Bouvet has been dreaming about it since 2006. Founder of the association Reconstruisons le château de Saint-Cloud . A building that has known illustrious guests such as the brother of Louis XIV, Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon I and Napoleon III. Assoc webpage:

Come and decode the language of coats of arms at the National Museum of the Renaissance, Do you know heraldry? The exhibition “The Coat of Arms of New Times” invites the visitor to travel in the past by deciphering the secrets of coats of arms, which were not used only by kings. The opportunity to learn that their use has not completely disappeared. “The Coat of Arms of New Times”, the brand new exhibition at the National Renaissance Museum of Écouen (Val-d’Oise 95). Webpage:

The largest Santa Claus house in Europe will open on November 12 2022 on the Jablines-Annet leisure island. Families will discover, until December 24, fifteen tableaux vivants amidst toys, elves and reindeer. Mandatory reservation. the regional leisure island will welcome elves and reindeer, in the middle of snow-covered fir trees. Webpage:

For its 50th anniversary, the unmissable Saint-Arnoult péage or toll takes a look in the rear view mirror, Commissioned on October 30, 1972, this vast gateway to and from the Paris region initially had 20 lanes before almost double in the 1990s. But for the largest toll in Europe, the future can be imagined without barriers thanks to “free flow”. For so many motorists, the Saint-Arnoult (Yvelines 78) toll is or has been “the” gateway to and from the Paris region, a sort of first (and last) stopover for families going on holiday by car. A barrier crossed daily by around 80,000 vehicles , more than 160,000 on average on summer days , which has existed for fifty years now. Oh yeah so many time early on, and then know how to avoid it lol! More infoVinci webpage:

The Pizza at 9.99 euros, beer from 3 euros… in Paris !, the new Fluctuat Nec Mergitur takes place at Place de la République, Written in large capital orange letters, the new sign “Café-bar-restaurant”, added next to the motto of the City of Paris, “Fluctuat nec mergitur”, which gave its name to the establishment, announces the color. Created in 2012 by the architectural firm TVK, the famous glass pavilion on Place de la République (3éme arrondissement) has just reopened in a style reminiscent of the 1970s. The Paris tourist office on it:

At the Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy. We dive there, young and old, in universes that defy perceptions and habits. Are you ready ? From the ground floor, the scenography of the course is immersive: gigantism and jubilant excess are put into space, then on the first floor the colors darken, the walls tighten and after a narrow labyrinth-like corridor, the ceiling lowers to evoke a more distressing universe. The atmosphere calms down in the last part, where the collapses of the story express the promise of a new world order. the exhibition presents works that revolutionize perception such as paintings by Max Ernst, MC Escher, Victor Hugo, Gustave Doré, but also those of big names in contemporary art such as Wim Delvoye, Elmgreen & Dragset! From November 19, 2022 to March 19, 2023. webpage:

Saint-Nicolas celebrations in Nancy: 40 days of cultural and popular festivities as magical as they are warm .From November 18 to January 3,2023. We rave about Place Stanislas adorned with its giant Christmas tree, we cheerfully put on our skates for a tour of the ice rink on the Quai des Glaces, marvel at the chandeliers made by children, teenagers and seniors initiated to the practice of glass with a blowtorch. Head for Place Charles III, Place Vaudémont, Place Simone Veil, Place de la Carrière and Porte Saint-Nicolas! Rich shows with 107 performances by 22 street art companies, activities such as ice sculpture, photo booth, etc., Ferris wheel, street parades, ice rink, flash-mob and extraordinary creatures… the Grand Parade of Saint-Nicolas brings together many local participants as well as artists of all nationalities, while the Butcher’s Children’s Band cheers loudly and the mayor finally hands over the keys to the city to Saint-Nicolas! Webpage:

At the Musée de l’Orangerie, the political collages of Mickalene Thomas, the American artist, inspired by Monet, exhibits works where she intersects questions of gender and race with the history of art. Born in 1971, in New Jersey she develops a work in which questions of gender and race, and artistic questions are inseparable. Thus, when she uses the title and part of the composition of Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, she substitutes three young black women for the female and male characters in the first scene of Manet’s canvas. They are surrounded by flowers, in front of a view of Monet’s garden at Giverny. webpage:

You like Claude Nougaro, you’ll like Toulouse, ( I openly admit I do !) Born in Toulouse but became famous in Paris, Nougaro had an ambivalent relationship with his city, which he sang about in “Toulouse”, “C’est une Garonne” and “Toulouse, to win “. However, he returned to live there late. Since then, he has been one of the heroes of the Occitan capital. When his career took off in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Nougaro abandoned the surroundings of the Canal du Midi where he was raised by his grandparents. The poet’s birthplace is located at 56, boulevard d’Arcole, on the edge of the neighborhood where he grew up, in a once popular suburb, Les Minimes, and its red brick which is everywhere in the city. Its basilica, one of the tallest buildings in Romanesque Europe, is a coral flower that the sun sprinkles when the light shines on this octagonal bell tower which soars towards the sky in stages, to culminate at 65 meters. The surroundings of Saint-Sernin Basilica are enchanting: here begins the pedestrianized town and its rue du Taur which leads to the Capitole. Having returned to Toulouse from the end of the 1980s until his death in 2004, he is honored in many ways. Represented under the arcades of the Place du Capitole by the painter Raymond Moretti, among 28 other images emblematic of Toulouse history, his giant photo is also present on a wall at the corner of rue Valade and rue Pargaminières. And his statue, like a rock star leaving the stage, appears behind the Capitole ! info webpage:

Lapparra, the lair of goldsmiths . Owner of the Lapparra goldsmith workshop since 2014, designer Odile Casset de La Chesneraie is bringing a new lease of life to this house founded in 1893 in the Marais, in Paris. At the beginning of the 19C, there were 150 goldsmiths working in the workshops of the rue du Temple, in the Marais, in the heart of Paris, making cutlery sets, champagne coolers, trays and other items in silver or manufactured in various precious metals. There were so many of them that they sometimes had to share the same address. This was the case at 157 rue du Temple, where three workshops were located. Among them, Lapparra, the last survivor of this history which made the rich hours of French decorative arts. Odile Casset de La Chesneraie Independent designer, she collaborates with Hermès or Dior, but also several theaters, for which she creates sets, costumes and hats, before specializing in tableware. Facebook page:

The rivers of France irrigate the territory of the country by forming a thousand places of leisure, contemplation and nature walks. Some of my favorites are:

Nearly 500 km long, the Dordogne has its source in the Massif Central and merges with the Garonne to form the Gironde estuary. Crossing six departments, it first winds its way through the wooded slopes of Cantal and Corrèze, before becoming more welcoming in the Lot, where canoeing opens up remarkable landscapes on the limestone causses and pretty Quercy towns. . Further on, in the Dordogne department, it winds between belvedere villages and castles, in a very “postcard” setting of the south-west of France.

The Saône, the major tributary of the Rhône is a placid river that originates in the Vosges and crosses the Haute-Saône and the Côte d’Or, before skirting the beautiful wine-growing regions of Macônnais and Beaujolais. Its particularity is to be the most important river in France by the size of its hydrographic basin.

The Odet, this Breton coastal river, located in Finistère dept 29, is sometimes considered the most beautiful river in my lovely Brittany. There are several reasons for this… Born in the heart of the region, in the Black Mountains, it sinks north of Quimper into a wild, wooded and humid furrow: the Stangala Gorge, ideal for beautiful hikes. After Quimper, where merchant ships once sailed, it widens out into a valley overlooked by private castles before flowing into the Atlantic at Bénodet, one of Brittany’s most popular seaside resorts.

Coming from the Lozère plateau, the Tarn flows from east to west crossing several departments of Occitanie, before joining the Garonne near Moissac. Watering the towns of Albi and Montauban, it is crossed by the Millau viaduct, one of the most famous bridges in France, but really stands out as a tourist destination in its upstream part, at the level of the famous Gorges du Tarn. Between Sainte-Enimie and La Malène, the river cuts deeply into the Causses Méjean and Sauveterre, offering one of the most splendid road trips in France.

The Seine, the river that waters Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world! In his journey through the capital, he exalts the beautiful buildings, the François-Mitterrand Library, the Louvre museum, that of Orsay, the National Assembly, the Eiffel Tower… After Paris and the splendid site of Andelys (Château- Gaillard), the Seine undulates in loops to form some of the most typical landscapes of Normandy. Its mouth at Le Havre is the pretext to discover this port city classified by UNESCO.

The Loire, the river king of France. This great river crossing France almost from side to side is in itself a “tourist novel”. Its source, the Mont Gerbier de Jonc, in Ardèche, is the object of an invigorating pedestrian pilgrimage. Upstream and downstream, it runs along on foot and by bike, notably by borrowing the Véloloire and the Eurovélo 6. Above all, in the Center and the West, it crosses one of the most historic territories famous of our country, the “Châteaux de la Loire”. Chambord, Blois, Amboise… announce the beautiful city of Nantes and the port of Saint-Nazaire.

Capital magazine has teamed up with two market experts , SeLoger and Empruntis to offer you a real estate tour of France.
For this eighth edition, Capital takes you to Occitanie. We have selected the eleven cities currently most sought after by the inhabitants of the region and newcomers aspiring to change air: Carcassonne, Narbonne, Nîmes, Colomiers, Toulouse, Béziers, Montpellier, Tarbes, Perpignan, Albi and Montauban. In the pink city of Toulouse, it is impossible to become an owner for less than 1,150 euros per month. Montpellier, a house is acquired for more than 2,000 euros in monthly loan payments. fyi

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France coming to you freely by the road warrior travel guy . Hope you enjoy this post and do prepare for a wonderful Fall season with a bang. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

October 29, 2022

The toilettes (WC) in France !!

Well, this is a very special need and when we are traveling , essential to know where to go ! I like to dare talk about the toilettes (WC) , rest rooms and especially the public toilets of my belle France. Do you know how they came about? You know where they are if in need in the middle of a trip? Then, read on and feel at ease…literally. Hope you enjoy the post and get a joke as I.

My lovely Bretagne/Brittany/Breizh is at the top of the ranking of the regions best equipped with public toilets (WC). With 1,652 installations, our region has one public toilet for every 2,000 inhabitants, according to a study by the Water Academy. Brittany is obviously a region that shows good citizenship and pays attention to health issues, is also a very touristy region and the number of clean public toilets gives a good image ,Public toilets are toilets made available to passers-by or visitors to a site open to the public. Of course, I have to start with this info! They are all over usually by the church or city/town hall of a town.

A useful site to know and find public toilettes in my beautiful Morbihan dept 56:

In Paris there are nearly 435 sanisettes installed. Their access is free, and they are accessible to people with disabilities. In addition to toilet facilities, the City of Paris also has a large network of accessible toilets and urinals in its parks and gardens. In total, 300 toilets and urinals are accessible in the Parisian gardens: 7 Decaux sanisettes, 2 channel urinals, 5 “uritrottoirs” and 149 toilets which total 290 individual cabins. If a person is trapped in the room, call 33 (0) 1 30 79 79 79 who will do what is necessary for a repair to take place quickly. The only old remaining public toilet in Paris is located near the Maison de la Santé, boulevard Arago (14éme), it is the only example of a public toilet dating from the beginning of the 20C. The others were gradually withdrawn and/or destroyed.

The city of Paris on public toilettes:

The Paris tourist office on plublic toilettes:

A bit of old history of public toilettes let me to find this bit of info. Rome, 1C AD , the Emperor Vespasian had the idea of establishing a tax on the collection of urine, which was used in particular for the preparation of fabrics before dyeing, ammonia having cleansing properties, In order not to soil his pants by squatting on his toilet, Bert Vandegeim (Belg) would have tied his pants around his head like a turban. His wife would then have compared it with an Ottoman padischah, thus giving this name of “Turks” to the toilets just invented. The French still believe that the low toilets on which one must squat uncomfortably to carry out the needs ordained by nature, imposed on them by the Ottoman Empire. That’s why they call them “Turkish style” toilets, Why do we say in plural the toilets (toilettes)? The use of the plural toilets, to euphemistically designate a lavatory, dates from the 20C. Chiotte (toilet) feminine name derived from chier by 1885, used in the plural for “cabinets (of ease)”; use in the singular (20C) sometimes leads to a change to the masculine. So we say « toilettes » and not toilette.

I did a bit of research online and found some information on the WC, toilettes or rest rooms, It was only at the end of the 18C, when it was forbidden, by the King, to satisfy one’s natural needs on public roads, that public urinal projects began to emerge again. to alleviate difficulties in complying with this edict; and this in particular thanks to Antoine de Sartine, lieutenant general of police from 1759 to 1774, who decided to install “barrels of ease” in the streets of Paris.

In Paris, the people deposited their excrement in the road which is a public place to deposit their household waste. Residents of private dwellings used chamber pots. At Versailles, courtiers relieved themselves on the balconies, behind a curtain, a door or in the courtyard without hiding from it. In France, the toilet flush appeared in 1775, Alexander Cummings (UK) added a curved pipe in the shape of a U which prevents odors from rising. The water in this pipe was replaced with each flush. Before 1840, the modern toilet flush with the bowl was not widespread. In Paris between 1791 and 1869 the first urinals were born, it is then the appearance of the first vespasiennes. “Necessity” chalets are also emerging, which finally allows women to relieve themselves in a place other than their home. In 1857, Joseph Gayetty (USA) marketed the first packet of toilet paper. Roll-shaped toilet paper appeared around 1907.

The public toilettes on the Yvelines (78) and Versailles:

Like other French fashions of the 1680s, the word toilet was used in many countries, and originally referred to objects of hairdressing and body care arranged on a dressing table covered with cloth and lace, on which stood a mirror which could also be draped in lace; the set was a toilet. Then the word toilet was euphemistically adopted in expressions such as washroom . This change was related to the introduction of public toilets (as in trains) which required an indication on the door (WC or water closet eng) . In France, wash room(s) is another term that is generic and attributed to toilets. Initially, it was a small room in a house, a cabin, today an office, in which one retired in order to indulge in an intellectual occupation requiring intimacy and concentration: reading, painting, collecting singular historical, precious, natural science, Arts … work objects ..etc, even to arrange its appearance and dress. By destination as by euphemism, the washroom is therefore this small room where you can relieve your needs in complete privacy and without the possible scents or sounds inconveniencing the other people present, therefore strategically located away, even out of the way. It remains with the invention of the flush in the 16C, the place reintegrated with splendor the wealthy residences, always a little away from the living rooms and dining rooms, and became the lavatory or place of ease now employed throughout the Francophonie (French speaking world).

In 1834, a year after a major cholera epidemic, Count Claude-Philibert de Rambuteau. Prefect of the Seine, Haussmann’s predecessor, decided to apply the hygienist theories very fashionable at the time. He had 478 vespasiennes (as for Roman Emperor Vespasian ) installed along the main roads of Paris. First called “Rambuteau columns”, these individual pissing cubes earned him a lot of ridicule. Five years after this invention, advertisers were authorized to post on wooden panels backed by vespasiennes… which are therefore the ancestors of the Morris columns , these column-posters that were created in Haussmann’s time. The increase in car traffic is most certainly the first factor in the disappearance of pissotières (pissing cubes) in Paris, but their bad reputation is also not unrelated to their frequentation by homosexuals ,no longer tolerable, and from the 1960s, their disappearance, voted by the National Assembly, is recorded. Little by little, the urinals disappear one after the other, becoming ancient relics of a mythologized gay Paris. In November 1981, the first JCDecaux pissotière, a jewel of modernism, inaugurated a new era of mixed toilets, paying , and rid of homosexual hugs. It was in 1981 that Paris saw sanisettes flourish on its sidewalks for the first time. At the end of December of that same year, the capital had 59 in service.

The Public Toilettes site for all of France, you won’t be far from one ::)

The JC Decaux’s 433 gray sanisettes will soon be replaced in Paris. The new public toilets must be installed by the end of the current contract with JCDecaux, on December 5, 2024. Already managing more than 400 sanisettes in the city, JCDecaux has won the call for competition from the mayor of Paris to replace them with a new model by 2025. These are 435 new-generation automatic maintenance toilets ,which will be gradually deployed between 2024 and early 2025 to replace current equipment dating from 2009 , The sanitary facilities will be particularly sober, since water consumption will be reduced by nearly 2/3 and electricity consumption by 1/3 per compared to current equipment , But that’s not all: the teams in charge of cleaning the toilets will travel on cargo bikes or in electric vehicles for major repairs ,Result in the coming months…

The official JC Decaux on publit toilettes:

There you go folks, a public service from yours truly! Now no more worries on the run, and this road warrior appreciate them a lot. The in town/city public toilettes are an essential part of road travel ,and glad France is at the point of modernity. Again, hope you have enjoy the post as I.

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

October 25, 2022

Some news from France , CCCLXXII

This is my latest from my belle France ; as we continue into a mild Fall season. That time again to tell you my latest rants about some news from France. An eventful post in my blog that I have enjoyed together with you for the last 12 years now!! And for those non Roman CCCLXXII is 372 ! ,with another dandy round of news of my belle France , of course, chosen by me; there are many others. We are in Fall season mild higher temps for the season is announce. We will be tidy and drinking a nice glass of wine, coming inside our dining room! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

A rare and joyful exhibition at the Philarmonie de Paris which plunges us into the “Grand Sound Bestiary”; an immersion in the turbulent history of the Indians at the Quai Branly museum; Also, Tintin revisited by the Atelier des Lumières , all for the Toussaints or All Saints Day(November 1st)

There is more going on such as the Toy Museum of Poissy, which traces the life of toys from Antiquity to the present day, through 600 exhibits, opens for several months to a very unique exhibition. “Little beasts of all kinds! is its name, allows you to (re) immerse yourself in the fabulous menagerie of childhood: dinosaurs, monkeys, dogs, bears, elephants… From stuffed animals to virtual animals, the most adorable little creatures are coming from October 19, 2022 to July 9, 2023. For your greatest pleasure, and that of your little cherubs, the exhibition offers a chronological and playful approach to animal toys, at the heart of childhood culture.musée du jouet de Poissy ,1, enclosure of the Abbey, Poissy (78).Free admission

The Thoiry Park invites us again this year, from October 30 to March 5, 2023, to discover the largest Chinese lantern festival in Île-de-France: Thoiry Lumières sauvage. On the program, a magnificent spectacle through an enchanted walk at the foot of the castle whose gardens are illuminated by more than 2,000 lanterns. On a musical background, this magical journey once again crosses the forests with animals and insects of all kinds. The ocean is also honored with a 20-meters-long moray eel and an 8-meterd-high shark. Parc zoologique, rue du Pavillon de Montreuil, Thoiry (78).

The 35th edition of this traditional meeting on the Place de l’Europe , Versailles, begins this Saturday, October 22 2022 and awaits you every day of the Toussaints holidays. The event even continues until November 13 to allow families to enjoy a friendly moment in a festive atmosphere. Duck fishing, thrill rides, rifle shooting or flying chairs, the attractions on offer are in the purest fairground tradition. Something to delight young and old.Parking de l’Europe, 9, avenue de l’Europe, Versailles.(78) Free admission, with paid attractions

Buzzers, questions on a giant screen and games of light: all the elements are there for family fun. Accessible from 9 years old, the Quiz Game offers participants, up to 6 in number, to compete around various themes such as cinema, music, series, news… 3, avenue Louis-Pasteur ,Maurepas(78) . Single price of 22 euros per person.the webpage ;

The building permit issued by the Hauts-de-Seine(92) prefecture to the Société du Grand Paris to build the future Pont de Sèvres station in Boulogne, as it does not comply with the flood risk prevention plan. A decision that does not interrupt or delay the construction site, the delivery of which is scheduled for 2025. Grand Paris webpage :

The largest solar farm in Île-de-France was born on a former oil site in Yvelines, (78) the Total group announces that it can supply the equivalent of 5,600 homes with electricity thanks to this vast installation located in Gargenville, 50 km from Paris, And it must be the largest of its type in Île-de-France with those of Marcoussis (Essonne 91) and Grandpuits (Seine-et-Marne 77). I know where it is, used to drive by there D130/D190/A13 ! This project will be along the D130 road !

The Volunteer Animal Brigade and the 30 Million Friends Foundation intervened in a house after a report concerning a potential Noah syndrome. They managed to recover the animals one by one after six hours of discussion with their owners, who lived with them in deplorable hygienic conditions. Animals piled up in all the rooms, even in the toilets. This is the terrible discovery made this past Thursday in a dirty and dilapidated house in Val-d’Oise (95). Thanks to the intervention of the 30 Million Friends Foundation and the Volunteer Animal Brigade (BAB), 58 dogs and a rabbit were rescued from the deplorable conditions in which they lived with their owners. No further info to id this s o b !! 30 Millions webpage :

and the BAB :

Holders of the annual pass subscription allowing them unlimited access to Mickey’s kingdom are unhappy and they let it be known. They demonstrated this Saturday afternoon in front of the Paris park. Despite a subscription that costs them 499 euros per year, they cannot enter as often as they would like. On the side of Euro Disney, no comments. Officially, they can come whenever they want, unlimited. In reality, it is much more complicated, OF course, never buy these passes anyway, buyer beware,Even Disney !!

The host Stephane Bern reveals to us the underside of the number of his show “Secrets d’Histoire”, on France 3 TV, devoted to the painter of the 19C, in her castle in Thomery (Seine-et-Marne 77) where she painted for 4O years in the midst of an extraordinary menagerie. A real crush, in the painter’s studio, in the company of Katherine Brault, the owner of the castle now. The lively Katherine Brault who bought, five years ago in Thomery, near Fontainebleau, the castle of this singular painter of the 19C, of which we are celebrating the bicentenary of her birth. Rosa Bonheur that is, Webpage :

The exhibition at Versailles: his passions, his favourites, his extraordinary destiny… Louis XV, an unknown king ! Stuck between Louis XIV and Louis XVI, the one who should not have reigned finds colors for the tercentenary of the return of the court to Versailles, through an exhibition at the Palace, while the apartment of his favorite, Madame du Barry, highlight of this fall, reopens this Saturday after restoration. Louis XIV, Sun King. Louis XVI, beheaded king. More flamboyant or more bloody, it does not exist. Between the two, Louis XV resembles the invisible, despite more than fifty years of reign. Who was he, what trace does he left? Vague memories of a libertine king. False, according to experts. Or to put it into perspective: the queen would have permanently closed the door of her bedroom after having given her ten children in ten years. Thank you !!Webpage :

Mon Grand Plaisir shopping center: water is infiltrating everywhere, the only bakery is closing permanently, Persistent water infiltrations have decided the manager of the L’Esprit d’Antan brand to permanently lower the curtain this past Wednesday. A legal standoff is engaged with the Compagnie de Phalsbourg, owner of this shopping center in Yvelines.(78) , Ok sad to hear as we used to come here for shopping and visit my boys school friends for birthdays etc in Plaisir (78) From Versailles easy D10 (Rue du Général Leclerc ) and then D11(Ave Jean Jaurés) This is their webpage :

With her thick eyebrows, her flowery headdresses and her colorful dresses, the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has become an icon. The Musée de la mode or Fashion Museum in Paris is also devoting an exhibition to her unique look until March 5 2023. T-shirts, toys and scented candles are produced with her “Frida Kahlo: beyond appearances” effigy. This is the title of the exhibition at the Palais Galliera, which presents more than 200 personal effects of the artist. There have been some noise as the use of her figure, name etc and the descendants are complaining, so more noise later, Webpage :

The Passage Pommeraye and its staircase, in Nantes, Have a post on this ,one of my favorite places there, Here Lola, the smiling lovers of the Umbrellas of Cherbourg and the tragic ones of Une chambre en ville took a few steps (films) . The Passage Pommeraye, designed in 1840 to transform an unhealthy neighborhood into a fashionable place, was built by Jean-Baptiste Buron and Hippolyte Durand-Gasselin, and ruined its designer Louis Pommeraye, but fortunately continues to enchant the people of Nantes. With its rococo excesses, it bears witness to the good fortune of the city at the time, due to the maritime trade, but also to that of slaves, and to the birth of its industry. Today owned by about sixty traders, it is considered one of the most beautiful covered passages in Europe, with its three levels (it was built on a sloping ground, nine meters difference between the top and the bottom) . Obligatory selfie on the central staircase, one of the city’s attractions, the very one that Lola made legendary. Then, leaving the Galerie de la Fosse, we stop to taste the famous Nantes cake from the Georges Larnicol house,(I am eating one right now lol!!) buttered and sweetened to perfection. It links rue de la Fosse to rue Santeuil and rue du Puits-d’Argent, and the districts of place du Commerce and place Graslin. Webpage :

The Galerie Bordelaise , rue Sainte Catheine, Americans, refugees in Bordeaux after having fled the Mexican war, undertook the construction of this superb passage. They wanted to imitate those they had seen in Paris. Bet succeeded in 1838 thanks to the architect Gabriel-Joseph Durand, who took over the large windows, the barrel vaults and the splendor of the passages of Paris. Its particularity: to be built… diagonally. Two iron gates and very beautiful marble columns mark the entrance. A little everywhere on the facades, we find a cornucopia, the main decorative motif. It has been used by kings, heads of state including Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Marie and Catherine de Médicis, General de Gaulle and Queen Elizabeth II. It is dominated by a glass roof, and its main facade has three levels and five bays. It ends at the Place du Chapelet and if you continue you will find on your left, the Church of Notre-Dame and then the Cour Mably which are both worth a visit. A webpage of living in Bordeaux :

A book, Descendant of the Cartier brothers, Francesca Cartier Brickell retraces, in a book to be published on October 20, the family saga since the beginnings of the jeweler, in 1847. A turbulent epic made up of distant travels, crowned heads, strokes of genius and disillusionment . At the Cartiers, we are one of those dynasties where, when someone goes down to the cellar to look for a vintage champagne, he can very well come across a treasure of a completely different nature. In the story that concerns us, this someone was Francesca Cartier Brickell, granddaughter of Jean-Jacques Cartier, himself a member of the fourth generation of jewelers, the last to have reigned over the family empire, before ‘it was not sold, between 1962 and 1972 , From these rediscovered exchanges, from an investigation spread over ten years and from the testimony of her grandfather, Francesca Cartier Brickell drew an epic of 600 pages, published in 2019 and today translated into French. Gold, precious stones and, of course, the classics of the house ,Santos, Tank or Crash watch, Trinity ring, which Jean Cocteau would have suggested after the death of his lover, the novelist Raymond Radiguet, punctuate a chronological story that intertwines aesthetic quest, great travels, crowned heads, fraternity, love of women and business sense. Of course, Amazon has it, webpage :

Natural daughters of eau de cologne, these radiant and feminine fragrances are now enjoying renewed interest. Their secret? Floral, spicy or citrus notes, focused on freshness. It was the 1970s that gave birth to these radiant and feminine waters, an absolute expression of naturalness and transparency. Natural daughters of eau de cologne, they provide more style and hold on the skin, while keeping the citrus in the background. And quietly manifest another femininity, less seductive, for women in search of emancipation. One immediately thinks of Ô by Lancôme (1969) and Eau de Rochas (1970) which, with Eau Folle by Guy Laroche (created in 1970 and no longer exists), so to speak invented the “fresh water” label, combining allure and sophistication. The use of hedione, a fresh synthetic floral note with infinite diffusing power. Their heirs have not been unworthy, adding their personal touch to the original freshness. If Diorella by Dior,(1972) distils a floral scent on the skin, Cristalle by Chanel imposes, in 1974, green and aromatic notes in purity. A source of serenity and the brand’s timeless best-seller, Eau d’orange verte by Hermès,(1979) dares to introduce the spiciness of spices and mint into a deep bath of citrus. Equally innovative, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert by Bulgari,(1992) invents a new expression of freshness with its tea note. There you go ladies, I am on untested waters but feel they are nice and good, I stick with my Azzaro::)

This is a question going around and recently asked of my former collegues in my former firm, Should animals be allowed in the office? After Grenoble, Suresnes and Nice, the City of Paris wishes to authorize its agents to come to work accompanied by their pet. Let’s be clear, the dog in the office exists, but it has always been the prerogative of the boss until now. Nemo, the Macron dog, can relieve himself during a meeting at the Elysée, the German shepherds of the Biden drag themselves on the carpet of the Oval office, no one comes to ask if it’s all hygienic. On the other hand, when it is Josie from accounting who takes her family dog, things go less well. Allowing animals for all is therefore a democratic progress, the extension of a privilege from the top to the rest of the company. A 2017 study claims that the presence of an animal leads to a “23% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease”. Another, published in 2012 and carried out with dog owners who take them to the office and others who leave them at home, indicated that the former had a lower level of stress than the latter. The dog contributes to the good atmosphere The proof, in tech, Amazon prides itself on welcoming 7,000 on its campus and Google has opened a Café Yoshka, a tribute to the group’s first dog, who died in 2011. For these companies, it is a question of facilitating interactions and cooperation. That would be a great idea, can only think of having my Rex in my office superbe !!!

First all women’s cabaret in the 1950s before becoming a Mecca for Parisian parties, the legendary Pigalle club Chez Moune has reopened its doors Created in the 1950s by Madame Moune, the legendary Pigalle club Chez Moune was at the he origin of the first cabaret in Europe reserved exclusively for women, A trendy and revisited micro-club, which nevertheless fits in the extension of the aesthetics of the female cabaret and its history , The walls are covered with red velvet, neon lights display mischievous quotes and signature cocktails bear the names of famous female figures, On the music side, a bias, that of eclecticism rather than a majority electronic color, to rotate several DJ’s then quickly launch weekly thematic meetings, 80’s style- 90’s, Latin ,Behind this choice, the artistic director Manuela Morales López, ex-Mademoiselle Mouche Chez Moune, 54, rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle in the 9éme of Paris. Free admission, webpage :

This is for the level header who think Paris is all clean and safe, I know better hanging out very late at night for several years,and big City resident for most of my life, Oh well, these are some advise which I concur which why I am posting it here, We may say that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, but sometimes some places are really bad. The Rue Crémieux , Station Châtelet , the tourist bars in Saint-Michel, the clubs of the Golden Triangle around the Champs-Élysées and in the 8éme arrondissement in general , The bars of the Grands Boulevards ; the pickpockets who are just waiting for your next moment of inattention to take you out empty, The forecourt of the Gare du Nord, Rue de Lappe in the evening, a very bad place for teenagers who are barely of age and old people who are a little weird. The Lamarck-Caulaincourt elevator/lift, climb the 90 steps on foot. But that’s when it’s in working order, and that’s rare. The Montparnasse underground passages , as Châtelet long lines below to join the line 6 from the line 12 ! A hell. Having to catch your train as you come out of the line 4 ! Mission impossible, you can be sure to miss it if you don’t have half an hour in advance. The Boulevard Magenta ,the crossroads boulevard de Magenta / rue Lafayette where things never move forward, the most dangerous cycle path in the world, the bus that takes forever to reach Barbès… whether you are by bike, motorbike or car, it’s a miracle if we survive lol ! The Place de la République ,the demo that blows your ears, the skateboarders who run over you, the crazy people who are even crazier when they approach you, the cops who annoy you , and less cars of course, The metro line 7bis, one of the most useless metro lines in Paris is, of course, one of the least used. The Noctiliens night bus lines only if necessary no other choice, The Parc de la Villette at night you will not find us walking alone for a health walk in the evening, it is La Villette ! . And the advise is not to try. The 16éme arrondissement has a high rate of pickpocketing lately but do not know if persist, and if not by car, can be boring to walk especially at nights. Les Buttes-Chaumont when it’s sunny , actually I don’t know, don’t stick to each other or look for another park, right ! It is crowded !

The Le Paon qui boit, the “first non-alcoholic cellar”, has opened in the 19éme arrondissement It offers some 400 soft drinks or going to the Paon qui boit, it is better to have time in front of you. Webpage :

Thierry Marx no longer drives in Paris on a motorcycle but on a bicycle. His days are still just as busy. The 63-year-old marathoner gets up every day at 5h45 a.m., goes to a judo session in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne 94), before joining Le Mandarin Oriental, the Parisian palace that houses his two-star space shuttle look, Le Sur-Mesure, and an office, where he manages current files, his bakeries ,Thierry Marx Bakery ,and his cooking integration schools , Cuisine mode d’emploi(s). The “High Speed ​​Chef” has also just signed the new TGV card, and in June opened Madame Brasserie, an establishment on the 1st floor (2nd US) of the Eiffel Tower. A childhood dream. His webpage :

There you go folks, another round of my some news from France coming to you freely by the road warrior travel guy . Hope you enjoy this post and do prepare for a wonderful Fall season with a bang. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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