Saint Denis: Two types of kings

Follow the red line from the sacred to the profane in the town of Saint Denis where there are two types of kings; from the Basilique Saint Denis, the burial place of the kings of France to the Stade de France where the kings of football play.

The metro runs to the foot of the Basilica then there is a red line traced on the sidewalks between these two monuments so you won't get lost in the spaghetti of Saint Denis and the autoroutes. From the Stade de France there are a choice of well marked metros to get you back home or you can continue to walk along the Canal Saint Denis to Porte de la Villette.

Take an audio guide tour of the Basilica and learn about the kings of France, and funerary monuments  as well as Gothic architecture. The Basilica is a major work of Gothic art, this church was the first to place a great importance on light, a symbol of divinity. It was  designed b…

Voir Plus about Saint Denis: Two types of kings
  • 0

Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur, Broad with a Brush

Does the name Rosa Bonheur mean anything to you ? Hint: She was the most well-known female French painter in the 19th century, the first woman painter to receive the Legion of Honor (presented by the Empress Eugenia herself). Still no bells? She painted animals. Still no idea? Well don't feel bad it seems most French people don't know who she is either. In fact despite being French, born in Bordeaux, growing up in Paris and then living in a château with menagerie on the edge of the Fontainbleau forest, she was in fact more well known and her paintings were more appreciated by the English and Americans. She was so famous at the time that Queen Victoria, who had a love for animals as well, requested Rosa visit her. It is even hard to find her paintings in French museums. Many were sold into private collections and some are now seen in American museums. But she is very much worth knowing especially if you have a fondness for animals…

Voir Plus about Rosa Bonheur
  • 0

Get Out of Town to Bayeux

The city of Bayeux is an easy weekend trip, just 3 hours west of Paris from the Gare du Nord, in Normandy. It is a city which holds lots of treasures. The cathedral is just magnificent. One of the prettiest I have ever seen. I also love another Normandy cathedral, the one in Coutances a bit farther afield. Both of these cathedrals are full of light and life. They are brought alive by their parishes and are true places of worship and spirituality. But also interesting places to visit as a tourist. I particularly like the light airy inside and the stained glass. The exterior dome of Notre Dame de Bayeux makes for a unique silhouette. The Bayeux cathedral was consecrated in 1077 by Bishop Odo of Conteville in the presence of his brother William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy and king of England. It is a gem of Normand architecture, considered one of France's finest and was miraculously untouched during the fighting of World War II. In fact the whole old city of Bayeux surviv…

Voir Plus about Get Out of Town to Bayeux
  • 0

The Statue of Liberty in France

The Statue of Liberty, whose full name is Liberty Enlightening the World, was one of the greatest gifts ever given. The original was given by the people of France to the United States in 1886 and was installed in New York's harbor but did you know there are lots of Lady Libertys in France today? There are at least 25 in France and even more throughout the world.

In Paris alone there are quite a few. The one you need to know about is the one on the Allée des Cygnes which was a gift from the American community of Paris to Paris to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. On her tablet is the date July 14, 1789, as well as July 4, 1776. Then there's the one in the Luxembourg Gardens, inside a private lobby on rue du Cirque, there is one on the roof of a peniche near the Eiffel Tower and one in the Musée d'Orsay. Yet another is very tiny and hard to see; it is incrusted in the torso of César's Centaure (place Michel Debré Paris 6th) near his le…

Voir Plus about The Statue of Liberty in France
  • 0

Villepreux a microcosm of French history

During the confinement we had a lot of time to walk around our town, Villepreux, 11,000 people situated in the Yvelines department west of Paris. A usually quiet, non-descript town, we hadn’t thought too much about it before but there were a couple of spots that intrigued us while out walking within one kilometer of the house. One of them was the path that we walked called the Chemin entre Deux Murs or the path between two walls. What two walls? What was that all about? Then there’s the old village with a couple of houses that look pretty old including one with visible half timbers. There’s a chateau, in fact there are two, plus centuries-old farms and a neighborhood called the Prieuré or priory. The new center of town is a 1960s construction out of cement. Town houses and a shopping area that hasn’t worn very well over the years. The first impression is that Villepreux is a rather ordinary suburban bedroom community of Paris or closer Versailles. But once you start lookin…

Voir Plus about Villepreux a microcosm of French history
  • 0

The traffic report for highways in France is called Bison Futé

Traffic report for Highways in France or Bison Futé

Bison Futé or the "Clever Bison", is the national traffic website for Highways in France and now also available as a phone app. The Bison gives the current incident reports (accidents, closures, construction) for all highways in France as well as predictions of traffic volume for holiday weekends. It is a very helpful site for avoiding notorious traffic jams on French roads. But why on Earth is the traffic reporting system called "Bison Futé"? The "clever" part makes sense as the clever traveler avoids traffic, but why the "bison"? Well apparently the alternative suggestions for a mascot were a dolphin, giraffe, bird, and rat, so why not a bison? Bison Futé is an eye-catching, smart, affable American Indian, invented by the publicity man named Daniel Robert in 1976 as a gimic to get people's attention as France rolled out a campaign to encourage people to use alternative routes and depart at different times…

Voir Plus about The traffic report for highways in France is called Bison Futé
  • 0

Explore new territory on your bike, Forest of Senart

Here’s an idea to get out of town, hop on the train with your bike to get out of the city a little ways. Then pedal to another station to ride back to Paris. You can travel with your bike on the SNCF Transilien (suburban) trains on weekdays before 6:30, between 9:30 and 16:30 and after 19:30 and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, for no extra charge! And now that Navigo covers all zones there’s nothing to stop you. To whet your appetite here’s a set of rides along the Seine and in the forest of Senart beginning and ending at RER C/D stations. 3 different lengths make them accessible for all riders. The family - 6 km loop begin/end at Juvisy. Ride along the water’s edge of the «Port aux Cerises» recreation area. Touring - 10 km begin at Evry Val de Seine, end at Juvisy. A ride along the Seine and ponds in the recreation area. Longer - 13 km begin at Evry Val de Seine, end at Montgeron Crosne. Ride between the valleys of the Seine and the Yerres, then in th…
Voir Plus about Explore new territory on your bike, Forest of Senart
  • 0

Remarkable trees in France

France is remarkable in many ways, including in trees. We recently published an article about the remarkable trees in Paris and now below you'll find some for the rest of France. We were out on a bike ride a few kilometers from home the other day and came across a tree planted in 1556! It was huge! And in great shape. The tree is called the Platane de Diane because it was planted by Diane de Poitiers, favorite of Henri II when she received the hunting property at les Clayes. A beautiful plantain tree that has seen not only Diane, but certainly Louis XIV walk beneath during a hunting trip, saw a first chateau built under Henri III, destroyed partially during the Revolution and another chateau built in the 19th century, burned by the Germans as they retreated at the Liberation, the telegraph line running past up on the hill, the writer Tristan Bernard and the artist Edouard Vuillard and who knows how many other famous people and events. All that in the Paris suburbs Les Clayes…
Voir Plus about Remarkable trees in France
  • 3

Get out of town: A perfect week-end in Beaune

A perfect week-end in Beaune, Burgundy. A guest post by LifeExplorateurs.com Antoine and Violette are two travel addicts from France. Violette is from Provence and Antoine grew up near Paris, in Versailles. They are passionate about France but they also really wanted to travel the world together, which they did! They created LifeExplorateurs.com, a creative space where they express their passion for photography and film making, and where they write about travel, food, wine, party, art, museums, boring couple stuff and life in general. They are currently cycling around France in 80 days and one of their stops was Beaune. Below is an extract from their blog post with tips for a great weekend in Burgundy !

*******************

At the heart of Côte-D’or in Burgundy, you might already know the city of Beaune is for the annual wine auction held in the Hôtel Dieu. Winemaking is an important part of life in Beaune, since the city is surrounded by so…
Voir Plus about Get out of town: A perfect week-end in Beaune
  • 0

Get Out of Town to the Ile des Impressionnistes

Meandering along the Seine meanders: A walk from St Germain-en-Laye to Chatou Ile des Impresisonnistes, 2½ hour walk one way This walk is lovely at any time of year, and in fact views of the rivers are easier in the winter when the light is soft and you can see through the leafless trees. But the cooler air outside the city in the summer is also a reason to take this short trip west of Paris. You’ll enjoy bird life, impressionist history, passing barges, superb mansions and people to watch. Take the RER A to St Germain-en-Laye. Walk across the terrace past the château of St Germain-en-Laye built in the time of Henri IV (17th century). Exit the park through the Boulingrin gate on the right. Follow rue des Arcades to the left, then left on rue Thiers. Go past the Pavillion Henri IV. At the foot of the stairs take the rampe des Grottes on the right. Cross the street and continue down the steps to place de l’Eglise St Wandrille. Continue down to the bottom then go straight to t…
Voir Plus about Get Out of Town to the Ile des Impressionnistes
  • 0