Posts tagged ‘Versailles’

May 3, 2019

King and Queen at Versailles!

So its been a while do not tell you about my beloved Versailles, a city I lived for almost 10 years and had visited upteen times over the years since 1990. My sons went to secondary school and  prep school with the bus network of the city , all great memories. I have been telling my readers there is a lot more than the palace/museum at Versailles, but folks keep asking me of it…. Therefore, let me tell you a bit more on the magnificent bedrooms and adjoining rooms of the Kings and Queens who inhabited it. Oh yes this is Versailles, capital of the dept 78 of Yvelines in the ïle de France region.

Versailles

How about the King’s bedroom , apartment:

The first antichamber or Salon du Grand Couvert (also known at the time of Louis XIV as the room where the king had supper), gave on the cour de Marbre and on the cour de la Reine. Battle scenes with the battle of Arbela , which was hung on the chimney formed the main elements of decor. After the death of Queen Marie-Thérèse and the Dauphine, Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, the antichamber served for the occasions when the King dined alone in public in the Salon du Grand Couvert. For his occasions, a table with a single chair was erected in front of the chimney. Opposite the chimney was the tribune for the musicians who played at the meal; the tribune was abolished in the 18C.

Versailles

One of the most famous scandals in the history of the reign of Louis XIV knew his epilogue in this room. Primitively, the second antichamber and the Chamber formed part of the Queen’s apartment; However, in 1684, after the death of Marie-Thérèse, the two pieces were attached to the apartment of the King. The second antichamber served as the place where the mistresses waited for their entrance to the King during the little sunrise and the grand sunset. Because of the collection of paintings by the Italian artist, Jacopo Bassano, aka Le Bassan, which were exhibited in this room, the room was nicknamed the antichamber of the Bassans. The famous Noli Me Tangere by Lambert Sustris decorates the chimney in 1701, the second antichamber and the King’s bedroom were merged to create the Grand Salon, the Salon de l’Oeil-de-Boeuf, which became the main antichamber of the King’s new chamber. When Louis XIV settled in the King’s room in 1684, the next room was designated for the King’s salon or the salon where the King dressed. The King’s salon served for seventeen years as the place where the ceremonies of the King’s rise and sunset were held.

Versailles

Bedroom of Louis XIV. This parade room was carried out on the site of the King’s lounge, a room that went back to the time of Louis XIII. During the reign of Louis XIV, it underwent many modifications until its completion in 1701, like that of the construction of the Galerie des Glaces which demanded the abolition of the three windows doors to the west that overlooking the terrace, replaced by three doors of the bottom that were clogged to form an alcove. With the establishment of the King’s room, the room became the physical and ideological center of the castle, the sovereign had dinner at the Petit Couvert . Every day the King’s sunrise and bedtime ceremonies were held, attended by a hundred people including officers of the chamber and wardrobe, courtiers, diplomats, governors, etc

versailles

The top-of-doors counted the portrait of Francisco de Moncada and a Self-portrait by Antoon Van Dyck, a Saint John the Baptist by Caravaggio and Marie Madeleine by Le Guide. The Saint Cécile by Le Domenichino was exposed in the archivolt above the chimney and opposite another work of the painter;   King David playing the harp. Above the canopy bed topped with ostrich feathers and egrets, was the stucco allegory of “France watching over the King’s sleep” carved by Nicolas Coustou, this bas-relief being topped by a trellis hanger crowned by two renowned. The present hangings are not copies of the primitive hangings of the King’s room; Indeed, the brocade was removed from a drawing made for the winter hangout of the Queen’s room. It was only after the beginning of the project that the original drawings of Louis XIV’s hangings were found, due to economy, the weaving was already in motion, the King’s room was restored with the winter draperies of the Queen’s room.

Versailles

Official Chateau de Versailles info on the King’s bedroom

The Queen’s bedroom is a room of the Queen’s large apartment in the Château de Versailles. Although a bedroom, this room of the castle is, like the Grand Chamber of the King, a place of theatrical staging; the Queen’s bedtime, but also public adoptions of the children of France, etc. On either side of the Royal bed, a door gave access to the passages de Versailles, allowing the sovereign to go directly into the rooms of her children. Like the rest of the castle, the French revolution led to the chamber being emptied and, no more, there were not many elements of the chamber as it was decorated under Louis XIV for Marie-Thérèse.

Versailles

Versailles

The room was the main bedroom of the apartment, the one where the Queen was most often. She slept there, often joined by the King. In the morning she received during and after her toilet, which constituted a court moment as regulated by the label as the rise of the King (the label was a set of rules that must be respected by the nobles). This is where the public deliveries took place; 20 children of France were born there.

Versailles

Versailles

The décor retains the memory of the three Queens who occupied the room: the division of the ceiling dates from Marie-Thérèse, wife of Louis XIV, and the paintings and woodwork were made for Marie Leszczynska, wife of Louis XV. All the elements were preserved from the time of Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, for which only the furniture and the chimney were delivered new.

Versailles

Official Chateau de Versailles on the Queen’s bedroom

Now there you go Chateau de Versailles by popular demand from close friends and family. These are even more wonderful on site ,hint hint;;;; but they are beautiful anyhow. Enjoy my Versailles,another world, another era, and plenty of loving memories for us.

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

 

April 19, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVIII

Ok so back to my channel lol! thank you for reading me, its always a pleasure. If you like the world, travel, good food, sports , the good life than you are in the right spot Paris1972-Versailles2003.com  Going strong thanks to you all since November 2010! and already 2025 posts!

Now, let me tell you a bit on what is going on that I like in my belle France!

Ok so the bus routes in Paris change from this April 20th so be aware, love the bus, is above ground and see more of beautiful Paris! Some examples of my old routes are Gare St Lazare to Gare Montparnasse on bus 94 30 minutes; Gare St Lazare to Opera Garnier bus 27 7 minutes; Gare St Lazare to place de l’Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) bus 22 15 minutes. Gare Montparnasse to Rue de la Féderation on bus 82 30 min still intact my current line. However, an example of the changes are on the rue d’Estrées,loses its bus stop of line 28 . The rue d’Estrées , behind the école militaire, is preparing to lose its line 28. From tomorrow Saturday in fact, in favor of the new bus network in Paris, the line slightly modifies its route. It will always leaves Saint-Lazare but will stop now in Montparnasse, and no longer Porte D’Orléans. The bus 28 will no longer make the little hook by Avenue de Lowendal, place de Fontenoy and Rue d’Estrées, but will draw straight on Avenue de Duquesne. A stop actually lost: Fontenoy-UNESCO.! More info at RATP here: Official RATP bus transports Paris

Something I have told you before is now finally here! Eataly the immense Italian food court opens its doors this past April 12 at noon in the Marais, in Paris. It is organized around a central square, the “Piazza”, closed by a glass roof. The grocery part responds to the Platonic idea of a good transalpine supermarket: foison pasta, olive oil galore, dried mushrooms, Genoese pestos and Trapanese..etc.. Nearby, there are counters where you can buy takeout cheese, cold cuts, fresh pasta, and a bakery open from 7h (7 am).

Of course, most of the food comes from Italian producers. But  the mozzarella is made with milk from Auvergne!  And 50% of the meat comes from Burgundy or Normandy. The meat counter is also held by a Parisian butcher. To tackle the hexagonal market, the restaurant chain founded in Turin in 2007 saw the big things: 2 500 square meters, seven restaurants, 3 000 products referenced in the grocery department. With BHV and Galeries Lafayette, with whom the chain of restoration has signed the exclusivity of its franchises in France. Eataly Marais Paris more info here: https://www.eataly.net/fr_fr/magasins/paris-marais/

It’s already been three years since the transalpine restoration explodes in Paris, and eleven months that big Mamma inaugurated its Felicita, (also mention in my previous news posts) a huge restaurant area 100% Italian in the 13éme arrondissement.  More on Felicita here:  https://www.lafelicita.fr/#1

One of the classic recipes of my belle France. I share with you the ones from my family and many others here!  Paris-Brest, you know it! Ok your difficult part will be to convert the metric system into the Anglo types sorry, you can do it!!

Preparation time: 40 min; Cooking time: 50 min; a bit difficult but with these recipe you can do it too!  Ingredients for 6 to 8 cakes: for cabbage dough, 100 grams of mild butter, 10 g of sugar, 200 g of flour, 5 or 6 eggs, 20 g of crushed almonds, for custard: 1/2 liter of milk, 4 egg yolks, 50 g of sugar; 50 g of flour. For Italian meringue: 3 egg whites, 120 g of semolina sugar, water. For Praline cream: 3 egg yolks, 50 g sugar, 150 g pomade butter, 60 g Praline paste (or powdered Praline).:

Step 1: cabbage paste: place 3 decaliters of water (ok American friends this is about 0,2 quarts or less than a quarter of it) , butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, pour the flour at once, and mix with the wooden spoon. Stir the eggs one by one, stirring vigorously. With a socket pocket, the bed in the shape of crowns (10-12 cm in diameter) on a baking sheet. Brown egg and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake at 180 °C (ok ok ,350 degrees F) for 30 to 40 min, then let cool on fire, open door. Leave the oven and let cool. Slice the crowns in half.

Step 2: custard: whiten the eggs vigorously with the sugar. Add the sifted flour and a pinch of salt. Boil the milk and stir-fry the boiling milk on the pan. Pour into the Pan without stirring until the cream thickens.

Step 3: the Italian meringue: pour the whites into the robot’s tank. Heat 3 tbsp. of water with 100 g of sugar on low heat. When the temperature reaches 110 °C (230F), beat the whites with 20 g of sugar, at maximum speed. When the syrup is at 118 °C (244F), pour it into a net on the tank wall, and let it rotate with the whites at medium speed for about 10 minutes. Keep it in reserve.

Step 4: Praline cream: heat 1 tbsp. of water and the sugar in the Pan up to 115 °C (. Whisk the yolks to the drummer. Pour the sirloin syrup over the robot tank wall and beat at high speed until the mixture blends. Add the butter in pieces, and then stir in the Praline. Assemble the three devices to the spatula. With a fluted sleeve, garnish the lower parts of the crowns. Add the covers. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Ok easy piece of cake we did with the boys so you can do it too. Let me know ok lol!

Who will save the Beaujolais? In the absence of investments, the vineyard lost 40% of its surface area and 50% of its turnover in 15 years. Moreover, if consumers often place them first in Burgundy, is wrongly associated with the Rhone Valley. Most folks dislikes Beaujolais but loves Morgon. Except that Morgon is a Beaujolais!.  One of the ten vintages that counts the vineyard, and probably the best known with the Saint-Amour.

The problems are two: First, the vineyard is in poor condition. In the absence of investments and means, the vine is wasting. Second, it is the oldest in France, which is not a blessing, since replacing it is expensive. The cellars and the winery are no better. It will take a good decade to make the Beaujolais pimping. But to do so, the difficulty should be  to seduce consumers again.  Let’s see the good side; the Beaujolais is the second most famous wine appellation after  Champagne. The bad? Its fame does not come from its quality but from the operation “Beaujolais Nouveau”, to the global success. Yet there is no shortage of assets, between vintages with excellent value for money, delightful landscapes, iconic winegrowers.

In the beginning, the Beaujolais was great. In 1936, when the first AOC wines were born in the country, the Beaujolais Crus were like Chénas or Moulin-à-Vent made prized custody wines, which are sold at the same price as those of Pommard, Corton or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Then, in the 1980’s, operation “Beaujolais Nouveau” spreads like wildfire: to market a wine produced in September from the third Thursday of November, so very young and without waiting for the following spring. And everything changes.  The event was built up by Parisian bistros, the English, party enthusiasts and the media. It has become a global event that has not been mastered. We were not able to keep the counterweight of the terroirs. There was a tsunami of unique thought, everyone rushed into it.  To be follow its course because it does not look good….Official site on Beaujolais more info on them here: https://www.beaujolais.com/en

In the never ending saga of the yellow vest or gilets jaunes will be difficult to know  where these yellow vests will manifest in Paris. Some events evoke the Champs-Élysées, others the area of Notre-Dame. But the big Avenue will be forbidden to access for the fifth consecutive Saturday, while the ïle de la Cité, and the outskirts of the capital will this time also be  inaccessible to the demonstrators, as has already indicated the Prefecture of police. Even if the yellow vests call to converge on Paris this Saturday , rallies are also advertised in other cities, as in Lille, Lyon, or even Bordeaux. The fear of new actions of the black blocks that is a mysterious group The Black blocks Paris called on Facebook to make it a black Saturday on the Champs-Élysées…Stay out.

On a better note, they fought the flames all night. They saved works of art. This past Thursday, a huge tribute, full of emotion, was rendered to them. This past Thursday afternoon, the firefighters of Paris were celebrated and honored by the Parisians and tourists present on the parvis of the City/Town Hall during a ceremony organized for “those who saved Our Lady”. “I want to tell you our infinite gratitude, our eternal recognition and I will propose to the next Council of Paris (next June) that you be granted the honorary citizenship of the city of Paris, to honor this Act of bravery and your commitment on a daily basis” announced Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris addressing the fire brigade. A distinction that will undoubtedly be unanimous with politicians and Parisians alike.Amén!! More on the City of Paris webpage: https://www.paris.fr/actualites/notre-dame-ceremonie-d-hommage-jeudi-devant-l-hotel-de-ville-6713

And of course, my Versailles could not be left behind and on one of its action very unique was this  The Château de Versailles  proceeds of an auction of 25 cabinets of Château Mouton Rothschild which was to be devoted to the restoration of the Château de Versailles will eventually be assigned to the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris. Go Versailles! More info here in French at the Le Parisien newspaper: http://www.leparisien.fr/yvelines-78/versailles-se-sacrifie-pour-notre-dame-17-04-2019-8055375.php

And to close out on my beloved Versailles. A campus “as in Harvard” for the trades of the Chateau of Versailles, the Minister of National Education announced this past Thursday the creation of a place of life and training dedicated to professional sectors in the heart of the Royal Stables (ecuries). The project to create a campus of excellence in the Royal Stables, dedicated to the trades of the castle: gastronomy, green spaces, crafts and building trade on heritage properties.Go Versailles! These are the Royal Stables: http://en.chateauversailles.fr/discover/estate/royal-stables

And to close out the latest news post on something near me ; Ïle de Groix,by the coast of  Lorient in my lovely Morbihan, go fishing for  the day and a maze of streets in Locmaria on the wild coast, facing the ocean, this small port and its maze of alleys form an ideal setting for a stroll. The dundees, these old tuna boats (Groix having once been the first port of tuna in France), have disappeared. But at low tide, the bay remains a good spot for fishing on foot (shrimp, abalone and crab for the lucky). Around the lighthouse, the beach and its rocks belong to the geological nature reserve François Le Bail, due in particular to the presence of blue cellophane, a rare rock. Nearby, the trail leads to the plage des Sables rouges (red sands beach) , whose minerals have earned Groix its nickname of île aux grenats (garnets island). It is one of the only convex beaches in Europe, that of the great sands advances in the sea. Another peculiarity: it moved several hundred meters in the second half of the 20C. Still as immense, it offers, with its white sand, its water in fifty shades of blues and its wooded cliffs, a breathtaking spectacle, worthy of an exotic island.Indeed crowded in Summer but worth the visit. More info here: http://www.groix.fr/

And there you something for everyone lol! Well I take them all! I am working on Good Friday in France but will have Monday off as Easter Monday and so a 3 days weekend. Do not know where as with us its always last minute. Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Feliz Pascua!!!

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

 

 

April 17, 2019

A return to Sainte Anne d’Auray,and Sainte Anne!

Hello,again is me ::) I have written on this religious town often as it is just 20 minutes from my house. However, on July 25-26 each year  will be the par…don holy day of Sainte Anne  in the town, and we passed by it for just an opener. And very fitting this daysMore on the pardon here: http://www.sainteanne-sanctuaire.com/?mode=grand_pardon

I am talking about Sainte Anne d’Auray and the Basilica of Sainte Anne; the patron Saint of Brittany. According to the Bible, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus.  The official page is here in English: http://www.sainteanne-sanctuaire.com/?langue=en

The Auray area tourist office in French: http://www.auray-tourisme.com/home/nos-villes-et-villages/sainte-anne-d-auray.aspx

St anne d' auray

sainte anne d'auray

sainte anne d'auray

sainte anne d'auray

I would not go into more details as I have written on the story and history of this high religious stop in the Morbihan Breton on several occasions. Suffixes to say it is a wonderful complex of the Basilica of Sainte Anne, to the statues of her all over the park, to the area where Pope John Paul II visited in 1996.

 

sainte anne d'auray

You will see the stairs or Holy Stairs. This monument was built in 1662 by the Carmelite Fathers. Currently located in the area of ​​the spine, the Scala Sancta was until 1870 the front porch of the Basilica and thus defining the place reserved for prayer. You can read more in the official page given above on the Basilica.

sainte anne d'auray

S

On the same webpage you will find info on the monument plaque to Pope John Paul II visit in September 26 1996. It is made exactly 16,129 blocks offered by the pilgrims. It is surrounded by 12 granite columns, recalling that these are the twelve bishops of the twelve dioceses of the ecclesiastical region of western France who invited the Pope to come to this region: Angers, Bayeux, Coutances, Laval, Le Mans, Luzon, Nantes, Quimper, Rennes, St. Brieuc, Sees, Vannes. There is figure stele bearing the image of John Paul II.

sainte anne d'auray

You see the baptismal fountain or fontaine, the place of the first prayer and statue of Sainte Anne right coming straight to the Basilica. More in the webpage of the Basilica, a primer here: By choosing the fountain as a place of its first appearance, St. Anne reminds us of the importance of source water, but above the water of baptism: as water is essential to our lives, baptism is essential to grow in faith. The water of baptism makes us children of God and St. Anne, by appearing at the fountain, invites us to return to our baptismal promises.

sainte anne d'auray

More on the webpage above and on this wonderful site here: The Basilica dedicated to Saint Anne is the heart of the sanctuary. It replaced, in the late 19C, in 1872, the first chapel built by Yves Nicolazic chapel became too small to accommodate the crowd of pilgrims.  It was built in the same field of Bocenno which was found the original statue of St. Anne by Yves Nicolazic.  Neo-Gothic combines the grace of the Renaissance, model houses the tombs of Yves Nicolazic (1591-1645), the man who saw St. Anne and Pierre de Keriolet the penitent (1602-1660).  A bas-relief on a pillar of the choir, right, points out the spot where Yves Nicolazic and its neighbors, discovered the statue of Saint Anne March 7, 1625.

sainte anne d'auray

In the photos you will see a Chapel dedicated to Sainte Anne (St Anne) and another one to Sainte Marie (St Mary). The beautiful organ is spiral right against the left side wall of the altar.  And the stained glass is wonderful vivid and bright well done and tells the story well.

sainte anne d'auray

 sainte anne d'auray

sainte anne d'auray

sainte anne d'auray

Again, a day is needed to see this wonderful spot and very worth the detour for those traveling along the N24 or N165.  It is worth it to understand the history of Brittany as to France, and the beautiful architecture if not the religious fervor that it attracts. The Basilica of Sainte Anne is worth the detour.

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

April 11, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVII

Oh wow, just reliazed having so much fun with my lovely Brittany, had not been around my belle France news report! Well of course, the news and fun of my France are too many for just one blog even less a series of posts, but I do my grain of sand effort to show you the best of the most visited country in the world, for good reasons.

The weather has been mixed with cold rain and now calm sunny beautiful Spring times. Here in my neck of the woods is 13C (about 58F)  but will go down in the morning of tomorrow to 1C! At our grand Paris is a bit cooler at 11C and 55F. The weekend looks a bit colder again.

Now let me tell you a bit on what are the things nice and lovable and like by me. Oh CCXXVII is the Roman numeral for 227th post on the series since Nov 2010! Thank you!!

When Fellini Dreamed of Picasso at the Cinemathéque Française of Paris, and until July 28 2019, with an integral retrospective of the films of Fellini until  May 25th.More info here: . http://www.cinematheque.fr/programmation/quand-fellini-revait-de-picasso.html

Pastry passion ice Fruttini by MO is the new gourmet jewel of Saint Germain des Prés, located just a few steps from the Bon Marché.More info here:  https://fruttinibymo.fr/

From 8h. to 18h  today Thursday, the rue du cloister Notre-Dame ,4éme will be closed to traffic. A 100 meters high crane will be installed. Starting at 10h30, the first eight statues of the Apostles and Evangelists of 3 meters in height (but whose heads have already been removed) and which have been there from the great restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc in 1861, will be lowered to the ground in order to be themselves rehabilitated. The end of this work is planned for 2022. See more info here:  http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/

The project to reenchant the Champs-Elysées on the horizon 2024,  date of the Olympic Games in Paris. While 63% of Parisians believe, in an Ipsos survey, that it remains the most beautiful avenue in the world, it is also considered “noisy”, “artificial”, “stressful” or even “dangerous”. On 100 pedestrians, in addition to tourists, 22 people work here and only 2% are Parisians who come there for pleasure. 15 hectares of gardens are spread out along the Champs-Elysées, between the Seine and the Elysée in particular. And there are twenty times less walkers than at Parc Monceau which is only 8 hectares. They have began to open an ideas box, with closed and theme family parks, a pedestrian walkway between the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, a sports course on the Seine side, bathing basins on the Seine river, and cultural animations . I need this but tourist galore come to it. More info here :  https://www.lejdd.fr/JDD-Paris/sondage-pour-30-des-parisiens-les-champs-elysees-ne-sont-pas-la-plus-belle-avenue-du-monde-3875114

The Hotel de la Marine, a historical monument built under king Louis XV, continues its renovation, started in 2017. The monumental worksite must be completed in about a year, for an opening hoped for in June 2020. With an ambition  to making the place, inaccessible since 230 years, a place of life for Parisians, who expects 600 000 visitors per year on 6200 sq meters. The Cour d’Honneur or Court of honour is in the process of restoring its volumes of origins, with its arcades that had been cloisonné when the building welcomed the naval staff, the court will become the living center of the hotel and it will be open permanently, allowing the passage from the rue Royale or the place de la Concorde. This transverse artery will host a CMN bookshop, but also a quality grocery store offering takeout. Restaurants, whose card will be entrusted to the chef Jean-François Piége, and a coffee shop, more classical, come to enrich this leisure offer. Finally, a tea room, this time by the brand Alain Ducasse, will find its place on the 1st floor (2nd fl US). Visitors will be able to access the tour concentrated on the 1st floor. The apparat lounges, all gilts and pendants, are preserved in their 19C origins. Their little addition, the terrace that offers a unique view of the Concorde and the Tuileries. The 18C section, the intendant’s apartments, are still in the process of restoration, with the bet to find the decorations and original furniture. More info here:  http://www.hotel-de-la-marine.paris/en/

The GoodPlanet Foundation, created by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand to educate the public about ecology, inaugurated on April 13th and 14th 2019 its new season. And it’s a book of new things. In the Castle, exit Humans, the beautiful series of video portraits on giant screens. The new permanent exhibition is called Planet Ocean and it transports us to the seas of the globe, for four hours of underwater images, fascinating, in the world of the abyss Domaine de Longchamp, Bois de Boulogne ,16éme  Saturday and Sunday April  13-14 2019, 11h  to 19h  free admission. More info here: https://www.goodplanet.org/en/

A street art fresco of 150 m2 underway at Gare de L’Est. The day may be a little less bleak from today onwards. In order to bring art a little closer to Parisians and Franciliens, the urban art production house Quai 36 has appealed to the ONOFF collective to create an immense street art fresco. To enjoy it, we will take the exit/entrance Château-Landon from the station. Gare de l’Est place du 11 Novembre 1918, 10th. More info here :  https://www.gares-sncf.com/fr/gare/frpst/paris-est

Direction Fluctuart, the first center of urban art floating in the world with a unique transparent structure, which will offer exhibitions, creative workshops, bookstore and festive evenings from the end of May. The space of 1 000 m2 totally transparent and in the heart of Paris will valorize the trends of urban art, from the pioneers of street art to contemporary artists, and will particularly highlight the emerging and innovative practices. Scattered in three levels, the structure of the place is completely modular and transparent. Pont des Invalides 2 Port du Gros Caillou  7th. More info here :  https://fluctuart.fr/

Just a teaser to keep abreast of what is going on, Paris and France in general are moving on to another record year of visitors, estimates run to 100M visitors! So pack early and plan well, things will be busy. Enjoy l’Hexagone!

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

 

March 28, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXVI

And here I am talking again about my belle France and some of the interesting things I like about it. The sun is out, 18C even and nice almost beach weather in my neck of the Breton woods.

As mentioned before in my blog ; the building between the 52 and 60 Avenue Champs-Elysées is like a book that combines the history of Paris and that of commerce. The Galeries Lafayette will open to the public on this coming Thursday, at noon, a new concept, hybrid of the department store and the concept store. Thirty years previously, Virgin Megastore invented both the concept of flagship of a sign and the theatricalisation of the sale-mini-concerts in support-in the majestic architecture from the 1930’s of the former offices of the first National City Bank of New York.

The Galeries Lafayette Champs-Elysées add to the art deco heritage; combining in 6,500 square meters, at the entrance an immersive tunnel worthy of the corridor of a spaceship of Kubrick, boxes of glasses hung on the second floor under the dome that was cleared of the false ceiling and a monumental staircase that connects the first and second floors. The furniture mixes kinds of ruffled carpets for shoes with rounded linear in gold or silver metal. The atmosphere is airy and sophisticated. The 650 selected labels-from mid-range to luxury share the same aisles and the same connected hangers with a digital display showing the available sizes. The visual identity incorporates the very typographical logo. All staff are employed by Galeries Lafayette. No demonstrators.  The man and the woman mix in the aisles. The dressing rooms like the toilets are unisex. The fluidity of the era of time… The basement offers 30 to 50 dining seats for 10 sweet or savoury brands such as  Chocolaterie Ducasse, Marcolini, Kaspia, A la mère de Famille, Maisie Café, comptoir Vérot.etc.More soon here:  http://www.galerieslafayette.com/i/nos-magasins/

Taillevent, belongs to the history of our gastronomy, and even a little more. All influential figures have marched since the post-war period. In the mansion of the Duke of Morny, former owner Jean-Claude Vrinat knew how to place capitalism gurus, Ministers, media bosses and showbiz stars. He had reached Nirvana, three Michelin stars, in 1973, kept until 2007. Chef David Bizet replaces Alain Solivérès, chef for almost 17 years of the restaurant Le Taillevent. 70 years after getting the first star, it’s a page that turns for this big house that welcomes its sixth chef at rue Lamennais, always looking to get back its 3 stars.More here:  https://letaillevent.com/en/

l’English-language Library in Angers.  Talking about Brexit that huge decision that will linger in time as a bad play, time will tell. The largest English-language library in Western France lists 1 876 members of 74 different nationalities. Liz, has been living in Angers since 1995, but she is still not French. This week, she had even planned to go to Ireland to apply for nationality, and thus double her chances of staying European. Ken, for the regulars has been living in Angers for over forty years. He met Marie-Madeleine. They loved each other and then married. He remained, became an English teacher at the European high school Sainte-Agnès. Ken is 65 years old today. He listens to the BBC morning and evening, comes to recharge in the English library. Despair. “How can women and politicians justify this position when they see the economic catastrophe that is on the horizon? At Swindon, they still believe that Honda’s departure has nothing to do with Brexit. There are 3 500 jobs which, in 2022, will disappear with the closure of the factory of the Japanese manufacturer. More here: https://www.lemonde.fr/m-le-mag/article/2019/03/26/a-l-approche-du-brexit-la-grande-angoisse-des-anglais-d-anjou_5441271_4500055.html

It’s spring, the beautiful days come back and many Parisians and regional folks are riding their bikes again.  And they need to know the laws too! Cyclists discover on this occasion certain special rules of the Highway Code. The wearing of headphones is one of the most expensive tickets to which cyclists are potentially subjected. This offence is punishable by a fine of 90 euros in case of payment within 15 days, increased to 135 euros beyond and up to 375 euros in case of payment after 45 days. And it’s not the only one. Riding by bike, Scooter or trottinette on a sidewalk is forbidden, except for children up to 8 years of age. Ride in a forbidden direction and go to the red light… unless explicitly authorized. Cyclists are obliged to respect the traffic lights. Except when triangular signs allow them to go straight or right. Please note that bicycles are not required to use a bicycle path unless this requirement is indicated by a blue-bottomed circular panel (they should be). yet doubling the cars by the right when cycling is an offense. Circulate under the influence of alcohol. Drink or drive, you have to choose, even on a bicycle. But unlike a legend, a cyclist cannot get points on his license. While in Germany, the limit of alcohol allowed by bicycle is twice as high as driving (should be the same, but this is Europe!). The city of Paris has intensified the video-verbalization to enforce them. More than 23 200 fines (PV) have been compiled since January 2018. The law by the Association Déplacer à Bicyclette : https://mdb-idf.org/code-de-la-route-a-velo-droits-et-devoirs/

The Domaine de La Grange-la Prévôté, in Savigny-Le-Temple, has been labelled “heritage of regional interest”, this past Tuesday, by the Permanent Commission of the Regional Council of île-de-France chaired by Valérie Pécresse. It joins the other twelve sites of Seine-et-Marne (dept 77) having already received the precious label of the region.  In Savigny-Le-Temple, the Domaine de La Grange-la-Prévôté derives its name from the existence of a Provost in the 14C but the Castle and its Commons date for the most part of the second empire.

In Bassevelle, the staking aircraft Lighthouse “Petit Bassevelle”, rue de l’église (at road D 55), was a luminous landmark with neon lights used to guide air navigation. It was installed in the place called Les jerseys in the early 20C and is part of a set of three aeronautical headlights close to each other located in Jouarre and at the Marchais-en-Brie (Aisne, dept 02).

At Combs-la-Ville , the Church of Saint Vincent, place du Père-André-Jarlan, is in the image of Sénart: a new building on ancient foundations. The Church mixes vestiges dating back several centuries, like the Bell Tower with a choir, a bedside and a nave demolished and rebuilt from 1900 to 1902.

At Coupvray , labeled “village of character”, several elements of the small heritage are honored: the fountain, the Royal Terminal and the wash-houses (lavoirs). One of the washing-houses, said of the Médisances, at the top of the village, was built during the French revolutionary period at the site of an old fountain, is fed by the sream of the Fréminette and enjoys a nice roof open to the center which allows to recover the rainwater.

At Crégy-lès-Meaux, the Maison des Carmes  , received the label as well. The former convent of the order of the Barefoot Carmelites, built from 1622 in a corniche overlooking Meaux in the North, was dispersed in the French revolution. The house belongs to a private owner. The lawn promenade of 180 meters long between its two towers restored by the municipality is a town area covered by the GR1(walkers way) and offering a breathtaking view of Meaux. The convent welcomed monks from the order of the Carmelites who walked barefoot, hence their name of barefoot Carmelites. They lived un-cloistered and actively participated in life outside their convent, preaching in parishes, forming students, etc.

At Guercheville, the Dovecote next to the City/Town Hall, rue Grande. It is easily recognizable by its shape and it’s bicolor, beige and brick façade. It is one of the remains of the Castle, bought by the town in 1984 with the farm and its portal. If the farm was demolished to build the City/Town Hall, the gate was preserved, the Dovecote became the City Council Hall and the barn was transformed into a holiday guest room.

At Maisoncelles-en-Brie, the Church of Saint-Sulpice has three elements classified and restored: the altar of the 17C and two altarpieces, which were even lent to the Musée du Louvre for the time of an exhibition!.

The Vexin (wonderful natural park we enjoyed while at Versailles) crosses over the Seine. For the first time since its creation in 1995, the Vexin Regional Natural Park (PNR) will count from the towns on the left bank of the river. As part of an extension of this park which now counts 78 towns on the Val-d’Oise(dept 95) and 20 in the Yvelines (dept 78). Nine towns from the Yvelines will be added, by 2021, to this list; these are Bennecourt, Mousseaux, Limetz-Villez, Rolleboise, Méricourt, Freneuse, Moisson, Hardricourt and Triel-sur-Seine.More here:   http://www.pnr-vexin-francais.fr/fr/le-parc/

With more than 45 000 visitors, the Cerny – La Ferté-Alais aerial meeting is one of the most popular events of the Essonne (dept 91). The 47th Edition of the “time of the propellers” will take place on June 8-9, 2019. On the program, aerial shows accompanied by pyrotechnic effects, baptisms of the air but also animations around the theme of aeronautics. It is calling for volunteers. Only criteria to apply: to be at least 16 years old (parental authorization necessary for minors), to be motorized or to be able to access the ground by their own means. A letter of motivation must be sent by May 15 May. The letter to be sent to Amis de Jean-Baptiste Salis, Aerodrome de Cerny/La Ferté-Alais, 91590 Cerny or by émail:  Bureau@ajbs.fr. More info here:http://www.ajbs.fr/presentation-du-meeting-2019/

The town,La Ferté-Alais : https://www.lafertealais.fr/tourisme/tourisme-fertois

Take a leap in the past to Saint-Cloud (Hauts de Seine dept 92). The Castle has disappeared, but the gardens remain a must-have. In addition, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, you will know all about its history through a guided tour. Duration: 45 minutes. Departure 15h in front of the historical Museum. Open every day from 7h30 to 21h. Free. More here:  . http://www.domaine-saint-cloud.fr/en/Prepare-for-your-visit

Admire the Eagles in Provins (Seine et Marne dept 77). The “Eagles of the ramparts” show, in the open air, resumes this coming Saturday with new atmospheres in staging and a new fairy character amidst the nocturnal birds. From the Hawk to the Eagle, through the hawks and owls, the Raptors shave the heads of the spectators, on the ramparts of the medieval city. From March 30 , at 14h30 and 17h on weekends, at 14h30 and 16h. on weekdays. Rates: 8 to 12.50 €.  Into line Tel. +33 (0) 1.60.58.80.32. More info here:  https://www.provins.net/sites-incontournables-de-provins-tourisme/tous-au-spectacle/les-aigles-des-remparts/

Nautical activities in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines ( Yvelines dept78). Since last summer, a small outdoor activity park has entertained children at the Trappes recreation base. A caterpillar on Rails, logs of water, boats that move by pedaling, rolls in large transparent balloons on the water, a trampoline of 15 carpets or a mini-karting of 60 meters in the open air offer a playful getaway. From 6 to 12 years. From 5 to 10 minutes the activity, from 1-2€  the ticket according to the quantity purchased. Parking of the Base: 5€ per car. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10h to 20h. Info line Tel.+33 (0) 6.08.04.24.69. Entrance by the roundabout Éric Tabarly,road  D 912, in Trappes. More info here:   http://saint-quentin-en-yvelines.iledeloisirs.fr/comment-venir-sur-lile-de-loisirs

Slide in a pedal boat in Pierrefonds (Oise dept 60). Another activity on water, pedalo, on the pond of Pierrefonds. You can get tired by pedaling with a breathtaking view of the Castle, amidst the ducks and herons, before having a drink on the terrace by the water. Open daily according to the weather. Rates: 3.70 to 4.80€. Pier, Deflubé Causeway. Info line tel. +33 (0) 9.52.80.12.26 . More info here : https://www.lembarcadere-pierrefonds.fr/

Sceaux Park organizes its Cherry Blossom Festival from April 21st to 22nd! As every year, the city of Sceaux welcomes the arrival of spring around many festivities. On the program, big festive picnic made by food trucks, at the rhythm of the taikos and the parades of Awa Odori… Ideal for tasting delicious sushi and drinking sake in peace, in an idyllic bucolic setting. More than just a party, it’s a real Japanese gathering that will be happening! This year, the festivities will also be punctuated by various workshops, dance, and many artistic and musical performances. The opportunity to discover Japanese artists who will accompany you to the sanshin (small guitar of southern Japan) and to the shinobue (traditional flute) all the weekend! More info to get there:   http://domaine-de-sceaux.hauts-de-seine.fr/english-section/practical-information/

In honor of its 130th anniversary, the Eiffel Tower organizes a festive weekend on March 30th and 31st with concerts, animations and an adventure game. The goal? Discover the famous Tower in all its facets and uncover the secret of the Eiffel on workshops. Alone, or as a team, you will need to find the name of a confidential file by deciphering a series of puzzles scattered on the 1st floor as well as in the gardens of the tower. And bonus this weekend: the whole course will be scripted with comedians in period costumes in immersive scenery. An experience not to be missed for lovers of history and secrets! More info here:   https://www.toureiffel.paris/en/news/130-years/come-and-discover-eiffel-tower-adventure-game-march-30-and-31

There you, there is always something going on in my belle France, the Héxagone with just a tip of the iceberg of opportunities to enjoy. Hope you can enjoy them too.

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

March 26, 2019

The battlefields in France of WWI

Dates come and go and come and we sometimes find no time to write about certain dear things to us. This is the case of the efffort of many for a free Europe/World. I am particularly thankful to the Americans ,who I am and active voter from France on all elections. I like to pay tribute to those who fought and or died for our freedom from all Nations in this humble post. I have visited these places one time or another.

Suresnes

I married a French women from the Battlefields of the Marne, Monument Americain or American Monument on the Route de Varennes near Meaux, today , there is a wonderful WWI museum there that you all should visit.  Museum of the Great War, Webpage here :Museum of the Great War or WWI in Meaux

meaux

meaux

The Battle of the Somme in WWI was a huge battlefront of 750 kms (about 465 miles) including two periods. Since September 1914 the course to the sea around the monuments of Ovilliers, Guillemont, and Flers. And then a north south line along the villages of Beaumont-Hamel, Thiepval, La Boisselle, Fricourt, Maricourt, Curlu, Dompierre, Fay, Chaulnes, and Maucourt.

It then , came again in June 1916 in the second Battle of the Somme, from Beaumont-Hamel and Bapaume to the north to Chilly,Chaulnes to the south; here the British and French fought side by side until a line at Maricourt. The battle involves about a million men and 200 000 horses as the official encounter began on June 24.  By July 2nd the losses were big already 58K men of which 22K killed especially by the British, their biggest losses up to that point in any war. Total by the December 1916 the losses were big, 1,2Million men out of combat for a total of 3M; the British advance only 12 kms the French 5-8kms alone the line.  Here too it talks about the great British offensive of Yprés from June to October 1917, the battle of Cambrai in November (first using tanks), and the tragic offensive of the French at Chemin des Dames.  1918, mark the commandement unique of the allied army to Marichal Foch March 26 at Doullens, the offensive by the Australians at Villers-Bretonneux, the American monument at Cantigny, monument to the 2nd division Australians at Peronne and the Canadian memorial at Le Quesnel, all evoke the counteroffensive that led to the armistice of November 11 at Compiegne.

You should visit the Historial de la Grande Guerre at Peronne: Historial museum of the Great War at Peronne

peronne

You can see the Cross to the 16st Irish division at Guillemont and Ginchy with Irish Treffles  for heroic action on September 3 and 9 1916. Also, remembering all the Irish who lost their lives in WWI.  At Longueval,  and the taking of Bois Delville by the South Africans  on July 15-20 1916. at specific Longueval, we honor also the New Zealanders that took bravery here on September 15 1916 taking objective near Flers the wood of Fourcaux, or high wood done by the 47th London division of New Zealand! You can see the South African memorial of Bois Delville with 63 hectares land of South Africa from 1920. Behind you will find a museum too with a replica of Fort du Cap. The New Zealanders have their memorial with a cross of the 12th battalion of Gloucestershire and the cementary of Caterpillar Valley, Scottish monument of the 1th Cameron Highlanders, 1st Black Watch, and the 47th division with a Cairn of 192 stones coming from Scotland to honor the 192 who felled here from the 9th battalion Highland light Infantry (Glasgow highlanders) and the London cementary.

le quesnoy

The Canadians are here too, Memorial Canadien on the road D929 to the right hand side in granite stone toward the village of Courcelette, took part here September 3 to November 18 1916. Losing 24K of their sons. You have the memorial to Newfoundlanders  with 16 hectares done in 1925, you can see while getting there on the road a statue of a Caribou ,their mascot in bronce.  You can see at La Boiselle the Lochnagar Crater of 100 meters in diameter around here you saw the 34th Division of Scottish and Irish, there is a monument with a bas-relief in Bronce of Saint George attacking a dragon, cross of Saint Andrew(Scottish), and a large celtic harp(Irish) with inscription engrave in the stone relating to this battle of July 1,1916.

The great battles around Albert,  with great efforts by the British , the town was destroyed 90% and the town reconstructed with the help of the city of Birmingham in England. You can see the wonderful Basilique Notre Dame de Brebiéres, and not to miss the museum ,Musée Somme 1916Museum of the Somme 1916 at Albert

albert

You drive around the area and can visit the Monument to the American and French nurses at Chaulnes, a gift from the USA and France Red Cross; at Lihons on August 21 1916 died in combat after volunteering to fight the nephew of Napoléon Ier Marshal Murat, a prince, you can see it on the road entering Lihons coming from Vermandovillers there is a small route on the left after the town cemetery. See the wonderful Arc de Triomphe at Proyart , a huge memorial for a small town donated by a rich Champagne men who lost his only son in the war.  You can see the old train line that supplies the front lines, the P’tit Train de la Haute-Somme; and now its a tourist attraction at Eclusier-Vaux for the little train ride and a trains museum. More here: Little Train ride appeva site

On May 28 1918 ,just when the French retreat from the Chemin des Dames and losing Soissons, the Americans land and engage for the first time in the front of Cantigny, and they take the town on May 31.  The American who lost their lives here are buried at the huge American cementary of the Somme in Bony, not far from the imposing memorial of Bellicourt on the road N44, it has a chapel, secretary office, and welcome center. It is honoring of the Big Red One Division on the borders of the town in the road D26 direction Montdidier.(not far from the A16 direction Amiens.

At Villers-Bretonneux, you have the Australian Memorial on the road D23 direction Fouilloy/Corbie, two huge white towers with an even bigger one in the middle and the names of the dead written on it. It opened in 1938 and here it is held every year the ANZAC Day celebration. They were 331K volunteers from a population of 4,9M and casualties of  58500 men including 16000 dead. See ,also at the Le Hamel the Parc Memorial Australien built by Australia in August 7,1998; free to all with trenches intact.  It is here too in July 4 1918 Australian and American troops fought alongside with infantry, artillery, aviation, tanks, and paratroopers to begin the modern war tactics… More here: Museum Franco-Australian at Villers-Bretonneux

From the above webpage see more into ,visit the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, where over 72,000 men with no known grave are remembered. Climb to the top of the Newfoundland Caribou Memorial at Beaumont-Hamel for a moving view of the former battlefield.  See the enormous Lochnagar mine crater at La Boisselle, created at the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, on 1 July at 7h28 (7:28 am). Explore Delville Wood and the South African Memorial at Longueval, a former battleground today at peace. Take part in the moving ANZAC Day Dawn Service on 25 April at Villers-Bretonneux.  Participate with the commemorations of the Battle of the Somme at various sites of remembrance on 1 July.

Today, you can pay tribute to these great men in various cemetaries all over France,these are: The French are care by the Ministry of Defense and in the Somme there are 20 national cementaries.  More here Memories of men French Defense site can be in English

and for those seeking a love one,  this place can help: Memories of men French Defense ministry to search names can be in English

A site in French of many of them from many mostly Commonwealth nations here: Picardie 1418 on battlefields and men of WWI

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission takes care of the dead from the areas known as the Commonwealth UK, it takes care of 410 cementaries in the Somme along ; more here: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

From the USA, it is the American Battles Monuments Commission, who handles and maintain them, here is their webpage: ABMC cimenteries and memorials

In addition footnote information, for the Australians the most memorable places other than Villers-Bretonneux are Amiens, Corbie Plateau, Le Hamel, Albert, Poziéres, Sailly-le-Sec and Peronne.

Towns in general of WWI history and conflict are Doullens, hall of the sole command, Froissy, petit train de la haute somme, Thiepval, memorial Franco-Britanique, La Boiselle, Beaumont-Hamel, Rancourt, Longueval, Albert, Chaulnes,Cantigny,Lihons, Aveluy, Soyécourt, Frisé, Eclusier-Vaux, Maricourt, Feuilléres, Bouchavesnes-Bergen, Flaucourt, Courcelette, Martinpuich, Mametz,Fay,Moislans, Corbie, and Montauban-de-Picardie.

And of course, there are many others like Vimy, the Indian Memorial at Neuve-Chapelle, Notre-Dame de Lorette monument in Ablain-St-Nazaire, National Museum of Franco-American cooperation at Blérancourt, the Clairiére de l’Armistice at Compiegne, the Memory of Walls Museum at Verneuil-en-Halate, Caverne de Dragons and Chemin des Dames near Laon, Second battle of the Marne Memorial and Dormans Ossuary at Dormans, Navarin Ossuary at Souain, The First battle of the Marne memorial at Mondement, Vauquois Hill near Fleury, The world peace center at Verdun, as well as the Verdun Memorial, Douaumont Ossuary and Vaux fort.

For me including those of WWII as well is the American Cementary of Suresnes (dept 92 Hauts de Seine just outside Paris), And , also, the Lafayette Escadrile located inside the gates of Domaine National de Sainte-Cloud, (dept 92 Hauts de Seine as well)  of where I have been the most and event took visiting friends there. The  ABMC site has more info.

Rememberance is to honor them, never forget. As I see many who likes to come to cemeteries for the rich and famous, why not come to these ones, the feeling is much better and the experience unique!

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

March 25, 2019

Jardins de Versailles or it’s gardens!

I need to talk again about the gardens or jardins de Versailles. The palace/museum is marvelous, a wonder of art building, a dream. However, the gardens are heavens, peace, beauty au naturel , health, good food, and hours and hours of tranquility amongst the paces of many personalities of our history.

The gardens were/are for me a refuge, I came here often very often much more than inside the castle as lived in the city. This was/is my kingdom, and for certains events in the near garden  and for most of the park is free.  If you want to have some peace away from the city not just Versailles but Paris, and other nearby, come here you will find it. Also, find many interesting folks from all over the world ,maybe even me!

Versailles

The gardens developped as did the palace/museum in the Domaine of Versailles , it includes all the buildings and land, that started with 815 hectares or 2003 acres. It is now only 37 hectares or 91 acres, thanks to the French revolution, yet its huge.  The king Louis XIII was of course, the first mover in the development of the gardens, the first traces were laid in the west side of the castle in 1630. In 1662 after the disgrace of Nicolas Fouquet and the appropiation of the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, king Louis XIV put his efforts in beautifying the castle at Versailles with the same team of  Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun , and André Le Nôtre.

It is by 1661 that the Orangerie and Grotte de Thétys are done, and king Louis XIV made sumptous parties. Between 1665 and 1668 the enrichement of the gardens continue with the improvement the Grotte de Thétys ,and the addition of the Parterre de Latone and bassin d’Apollon. The grotte or cave of Thétys had another marvelous use  with the hydraulic system that provided water to the gardens, the roof of the cave held a reserve that kept the water pump from the etang or lake of Clagny fed by gravity the fountains of the gardens.

versailles

We come to the Grand Canal, 1500 meters long and 62 meters wide built between 1668-1671 gives you a visual into farther away behind the palace  to the axe east west until the petit parc. In 1674, king Louis  XIV  ordered the construction of the  “Petite Venise“; located by the septentrinal arm of the Grand Canal where it houses the boats and yachts received from the Low Countries ,and housing the gondolas received as gift from the Doge de Venice. The Grand Canal receives the water that filter from the fountains and into the garden;this water was pump by a network of pump made work by windmills and horsemills and later send to the reserves on the top of the grotte de Thétys to again feed the fountains ,so the hydraulic system works in a close circuit.

versailles grand canal to porte st antoine

versailles

Below the fountain of Latone you will see the terrace of the castle also known as the Parterre d’Eau . It forms an axe east west between the castle and the gardens and has a straight view from the Grands Appartements!. In 1674 king Louis XIV ordered several statues as a decorating element for the fountains on the parterre d’Eau, this is known as the Grande Commande or big order, and consisted of  24 statues of classical design created by Charles Le Brun and done by the best sculptures of the times.

versailles

Some of the forest gardens done under king Louis XIV were numerous I just mentioned them here with dates Bosquet du Marais(1670); Bosquet du Théatre d’Eau(1671); Île du Roi & Miroir d’Eau, Salle des Festins or salle du Conseil;Bosquet des Trois-Fontaines.  In 1672, Labyrinthe and Bosquet de l’Arc de Triomphe; in 1675  Bosquet de Renommée (also call bosquet des Dômes), Bosquet de l’Encélade, in 1678  Bosquet des Sources.

versailles

Other wonders such as the bassin des sapins where the fountain of Neptune is located done in 1678.  The gardens were constantly improve and enlarge and three more forest or bosquets came to light, Galerie des Antiques in 1680 La Salle de Bal, with a cascade only one in Versailles that gave rise to many celebrations here by the king,done in 1681-1683. La Colonnade by Jules Hardouin Mansart done on the old placement of the Bosquet des Sources  of André Le Nôtre. This is a circular shape with 32 arches and 28 fountains echoing the architectural expression of Hardouin-Mansart at Versailles,done in 1684-85.  king Louis XV spent more on the palace and trianons than on the gardens so his efforts bear very little here. king Louis XVI try to change the gardens a la anglaise or english but did not work to a la française came back. However, little as his biggest contribution was that of  the  Grotte des Bains d’Apollon.

versailles

The French revolution came in and the gardens suffered too. Trees and grass was removed, and people will come to do their laundry in the fountains…  Napoleon I came but ignored the gardens as well. And it took another Louis to do something about it. In 1817 king Louis XVIII (brother of Louis XVI as the VXII was killed by the revolutionaries) ordered two forests built, these are the bosquet de l’Île du Roi ,and the  Miroir d’Eau , both were transformed into English garden to form the  Jardin du Roi.

The palace and it gardens were finally protected by king Louis Philippe in 1837 by transforming it into a museum! All the palace and gardens is a museum. Many of the gardens bosquets have a short life and no longer exist than those mentioned above. In all a wonderful huge place to come and I say more than a day at least 3 to see it all!

versailles

The official Chateau de Versailles webpage has information on the gardens : Chateau de Versailles on the gardens in English

Tourist office of Versailles on palace’ gardens in English

There you go enjoy a masterpiece of humanity. WE love it, hope you do too, its a must even for it alone! indeed our favorite playground with the boys! The gardens of the palace/museum of Versailles!

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

March 20, 2019

Some news from France, CCXXV

So hey news are happening things are schedule and France is moving on regardless of the noise making that is part of our entertainment and makes us unique ,different and well visited. The temps have been mild with temps going up to 57F or about 13C with cloudy and foggy but no rain here.

Let me give you something to plan on in my belle France.

By now ,we know that there are 20 districts in Paris or arrondissements ,and that they are articulated like a snail to form the Capital. The first division of Paris in districts dates from 1795, with a cutting in 12 parts (9 on the right bank, 3 on the left bank). The other 8 were annexed by the law of 16 June 1859, thus integrating the “suburbs” between the old wall of the farmers and the walls of Thiers in the capital.

Some communes such as Belleville, Grenelle, Vaugirard and La Villette are then totally absorbed, others are partially annexed (the District of Ternes of Neuilly, the District of Glaciére of Gentilly, the District of Picpus of Saint-Mandé), still others are shared between the capital and the city of origin (Auteuil, Bercy, La Chapelle). They now form the definitive contours of Paris. Last news that redraws the map, the Mairie de Paris (Mayor’s office of Paris) decided to merge the first 4 districts (1-4) of the capital after the municipal elections of 2020. After a citizens ‘ vote last October 16 , the name “Paris centre” was chosen.

Each district has its own identity and specificities. All have assets that we do not necessarily suspect. The 15éme is the largest, the oldest ,the 6éme, the 17éme the most eclectic with four very different neighborhoods, from the Ternes to the Epinettes passing through the Plaine-Monceau and the Batignolles. Some tidbits on them to follow:

The 2éme it’s the smallest in area at 99 hectares. The 19éme with a total area excluding greens of 97.57 hectares is the biggest ,(thanks to the parks of the Villette and the Buttes Chaumont), the 19éme arrives at the top green area. The 11éme with a density of 40,827 inhabitants per km², is the most populated. The 16éme with 5 metro lines crossing it (1, 2, 6, 9, 10), and 24 stations in this district holding the most stations in its territory. The 7éme at Rue des Saints-Pères, here an apartment of 1000 m² (16 rooms) sold 39 million euros last February 6 to an European industrialist as the most expensive in Paris. The 16éme with the most museums total of 18 including the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Cité de l’Architecture, Marmottan Museum, and the Guimet Museum. Around the Bastille there are 3 district converging the 4, 11 and 12 . The 4éme and 8éme has the most historic fountains with 10 each. And the 20éme has the most libraries with 7! This is Paris!!!

In the ongoing silent battle to get the trains out of the red , the SNCF’s tariff schedule will evolve progressively during the year 2019. If the frequencies cards remain unchanged, SNCF recycles the good old “2 in 1” formula for the other discount cards. Thus, the cards “child” and “family” will only be one, as well as the cards “senior” and “weekend”.

But the main change is about how tickets are booked. While it was enough until now to specify to have a subscription card to get the right fare, you will be asked, at the end of the year, to type in additionally the number of the card. Thus, you will no longer be able to buy a ticket for your children, relatives, friends or collaborators, without being in possession of their card number.

These measures will enable the company to improve what is called the unitary recipe (get more money) indeed, by controlling the filling of its trains more effectively, it will be able to offer more tickets at the very last minute price. Finally, SNCF wants to remove the paper tickets for the exclusive use of e-tickets. This is the end of the journey incognito since for an e-ticket, it is necessary to give an identity and a date of birth (as in airplane) that can be verified by the controller. Stay tune!!

Twenty international artists of all generations and of all practices (video, painting, graffiti, music, sculpture) to express themselves in the depths of the House of Champagne Pommery. From the outset, the descent of the grand staircase which gives access to the cellars and which would gladly call a red carpet is punctuated by the sound and light of Pablo Valbuena. Welcome to a new space-time. Here, the sculptures of Ida Ekblad emerge from the alcoves; There, a work by Holly Hendry, which recovers the ventilation ducts and industrial materials of the heaters. A monument 30 meters high. . This will be the 14th edition of the Expérience Pommery, Domaine Pommery,Reims until June 15 2019.

For fourteen years, at the initiative of Pierre Hermé, the biggest names of pastry are mobilising for a good cause. In 2019, there is a new format and a new cause: that of the children of Madagascar, alongside the Association Zazakely Sambatra, chaired by Stéphane de Bourgies.  Great cause great product, France at its best! Relais desserts members of about hundred shops in France-will offer limited edition boxes of 5 macaroons highlighting the Malagasy flavours: chocolate, vanilla, spices, exotic fruits…Of course, the best in Paris and the world are Pierre Hermé 72, rue Bonaparte (6éme). Jean – Paul Hévin, 231, rue Saint-Honoré (1éme).   Sadaharu Aoki . 35, rue de Vaugirard (6éme). Arnaud Larher. 53 Rue Caulaincourt (18éme), and Laurent Duchêne . 2, rue Wurtz (13éme).

Some of the goodies coming up that I like are

 Embark on the new 10-km hike from the Arboretum of Versailles-Chèvreloup and travel among the lush vegetation of three continents   from April 1st. Visit the King’s vegetable garden (potager du roi) during the 11th edition of the very nature Esprit Jardin Festival at Versailles, May 4-5.

Breakdancer in the parking lot of 2000 m2 of the Institute of the Arab World, 6éme transformed into a dance floor before demolition and invested by the sounds of Rap and R&B of classics only, April 6.

Share the deep admiration of Fellini for the genius of Picasso by reliving the imaginary dialogue of the filmmaker with the Spanish artist at the Cinémathèque 12éme from April 3rd to July 28 2019.

Take off by immersing yourself in the exhibition “Ocean, an unusual dive” and go to meet the singular fauna of the great depths at the National Museum of Natural History ,5éme from April 3 to January 5 2020.

Stroll among the 150 galleries of modern and contemporary art from the post-war to the present day at the 21st edition of Art Paris Art Fair in the Grand Palais,8éme, from April 4-7.

To understand the conflicts of the 20C through the work of Pablo Picasso, following the guided tour of the Expo “Picasso and war” in the army museum or Musée de L’Armée, 7éme, from April 5 to July 28.

Choose and run the 42.195 km of the Paris Marathon from the Champs-Élysées and cross the finish line Avenue Foch on April 14th.

Drinking beers in the Green: for its 3rd Edition, the Mondial de la biére (beer worlds competition and tasting) is being deported to the Parc Floral ;12éme from May 17-19.

Get behind the scenes of the Opéra Bastille or go to meet the artisans of crafts who work for the good performance of the shows in Garnier during the 13th edition of Tous à l’Opéra or all at the Opéra from May 3-5.

Meet great chefs and taste their dishes in small portions under the nave of the Grand Palais, during the 5th Edition of Taste of Paris , 8éme, from May 9 to 12.

The departmental Council and ASO have signed a convention to have the final stage of the tour de France starts from the  Yvelines dept 78 in the coming years. The TOUR went by here in 2012 from Rambouillet to Paris Champs Elysées 20th stage. 2013 from Versailles to Paris Champs Elysées on stage 21. In 2015 from Sévres to Paris Champs Elysées on stage 21, and in 2018 from Houilles on stage 21 to Paris Champs Elysées.   And back this year to Rambouillet on July 28!

The complete tour on Youtube video here:

So enjoy France its a movable feast (Hemingway did not travel enough from Paris ::) ) and remember, happy travels, good health, and  many cheers to all!!!

 

March 15, 2019

Salon d’Apollon or Salle du Trône ,Versailles of course!

So I am coming back again to my beloved old home of Versailles. What can I say when you are lucky enough to lived there for almost 10 years and worked in Paris.… Well I have come back several times and have many posts on it in my blog. However, there are areas missing a bit more of it me think.

This is the case with a nice living room of Apollo or Salon d’Apollon or more commonly call by us locals… as the Throne room or Salle du Trône. Let me tell you a bit more on it ok

The Salon d’Apollon or living room of Apollo is also, known as the Salle du Trône or room of the throne. It is inside the wonderful beautiful palace/museum of  Versailles, holding its name from the ceiling representing Apollo on its chariot. The living room of Apollo is located on the first floor of the Château de Versailles, in the King’s large apartments. It is adjacent to the mercury and war rooms (Salon de Mercure et Salon de la Guerre).

Versailles

Serving as the King’s room from 1673 to 1682 and then as the Throne room as soon as the king and the court settled in Versailles, the king granted his ordinary hearings here. The room was also reserved for dancing during the evenings of apartments.

The living room of Apollo is dedicated to the Greek god, god of the Sun, to whom the Sun King identified himself. Commissioned by king Louis XIV, the ceiling is a painting by Charles de la Fosse which represents Apollo on his chariot dragged by four couriers, accompanied by the figures of France, the Magnanimity and Magnificence and the procession of the seasons figured by Flora, Ceres, Bacchus and Saturn in the center.

The covings represent Porus led in front of Alexander, Coriolanus raising the Siege of Rome at the request of his mother, Vespasian raising the Colosseum in Rome, and   Augustus building the port of Miseno . The four continents are represented in the four angles of the ceiling.

Versailles

The chimney was surmounted by the portrait standing of king Louis XIV in a royal suit, wearing the insignia given to the Kings on the day of their coronation. Painted in 1701 by Hyacinthe Rigaud to illustrate the power of the king and his natural majesty. This portrait is now preserved at the Louvre museum, a copy replaces the original in the living room of Apollo. In front of the painting is a portrait of king Louis XVI.

The living room of Apollo or Salon d’Apollon or Salle du Trône  was restored last in 2014.

Versailles

Salle du trone king Louis XVI special exhibition

The official Palace/museum webpage has a bit more on it. Chateau de Versailles on the Apollo Room

The whole place is magical and to think it was once practically my backyard literally used to play and jog with my boys in the gardens! magical sublime nostalgia setting in and vacation time is coming to plan lol!  Versailles is it. Enjoy the post and thanks for stopping by.

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

 

March 13, 2019

Houdan in the Yvelines 78, nice!

So I am sticking around a bit and into my beloved Yvelines dept 78 of the Ïle de France region. This was my old hunting ground…and I have come back as nostalgia sets in always. I have written bits of pieces on it, however, need to tell you more.

I like to tell you about the nice historical city of Houdan. Now I bring you to the heart of the Yvelines; visitors should dare more to come over and out of Paris! This is another example of a town that is not portrayed as Royal, but it is, go figure ::) .  It is Houdan, 43 km from Versailles. The nice road N12 (free road) passes by the town as well as the Paris Montparnasse direction Granville line that has stop at Houdan.

The bit of history ,I like tells us that Houdan belongs to the Lords of Montfort from the 10C and later was added to the Duchy of Brittany!!! by marriage. It was disputed between the English and finally entered the Royal domain with the marriage of king Louis XII and Anne of Brittany/Bretagne. Given by king Louis XIV to the Luynes family in exchange for lands closer to Versailles, and stayed with them until the French revolution.

The fair or festival of Saint-Matthieu is done here every year for 2-3 days on the last weekend of September (Saint-Matthieu saint day is Sept 21). It is one of the oldest fairs in Europe with the first one going back to 1065, by the Count Amaury II de Montfort.

If not at this time in town, go to see the St James and St Christopher Church or église Saint-Jacques et Saint-Christophe gothic style built in the 15-16C with a renaissance choir, and an organ originally from 1739.  The first church of Houdan, at this site, was built in the 11C under the surname of Saint-Jacques-le-Major (St James the Mayor). It was rebuilt from the beginning of the 16C with the donations of the inhabitants against promises of indulgences. In 1510, the surname of Saint Christopher was added to that of Saint James. Private donation funding explains the length of the work: they ended in the early 18C. With a construction spanning three centuries, the Church of Houdan syncretize the transition from Flamboyant Gothic to Renaissance style. See the tracery of flamboyant style on the windows, and the Renaissance capitals on the pillars of the transept. The transept has only one arm and the upper part of the steeple is missing; probably for lack of funding.

houdan

houdan

The Church of Saint-Jacques-le-Major-Saint-Christophe, 50 meters long, with a fairly stripped interior, is nonetheless worth the visit for its juxtaposition of the various artistic styles, from the gothic walls to the altarpiece of the high altar of 1672, not to mention a 1582 fresco. The canopy is made of white stained glass where fragments of 16C stained glass were inserted, some with a very beautiful greyness.

houdan

houdan

Also, the tower or donjon very visible as you entered the city by car .It is what remained of the old fortifications been built in the 13C by Count Amaury III de Montfort; a massive tower alone in the western part of the town with 25 meters high and 16 meters of diameter, flank by four smaller towers of 4,8 meters in diameter; it is used today as a water tower.

houdan

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Tourist office of Houdan

Tourist office of dept 78 Yvelines on Houdan

This is an overlook town for those visiting the Paris/Versailles corridor and as it is still an off the beaten path area that visitors should try to visit more if can. There is so much to see, I know!!! Anyway, Houdan is nice and lovely city center around the castle and donjon tower, the market right next to the Church all around you! Enjoy it

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

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