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For the last leg of our Alps-to-Atlantic Easter trip, we stayed in the Bordeaux-Medoc region for a few days. Fa and An stayed behind in Biarritz to do some more surfing.

Our last minute searches landed us at the Château Grattequina in Blanquefort, just north of the city of Bordeaux. Click here for their website.

Built in 1872, the château was surrounded by farmland at the gateway of Bordeaux (which is only about 10 km away), on the road to the Medoc. We entered the grounds through an automatic gate and can see the chateau in a distance.

The sight of the chateau is rather dramatic at night as there are no other lighted buildings in sight. The River Garonne is behind the chateau.

Looking back toward the main road (D209) from the chateau, as far as we can see, there is no vine growing here now, just agricultural land. Corn ? In the middle of the photo is the private access road.

The chateau has only 10 guest rooms, all on the upper two floors. It was restored in 1999 and took 4 years, and it was re-painted this year (we could smell it).

Our room was spacious with simple furniture. It was so quiet all around and therefore quite relaxing.

Loved the double sink in the bathroom, but we would have liked a proper shower.

Very helpful staff. They called a bunch of chateaux for us to check if we can join their tours at the last minute.

Since the chateau is on the left bank of the River Garonne, the chateau has its own private dock, in theory one can arrive by boat. In practice, the owner can take guests into Bordeaux city (upstream) or go wine tasting in Margaux direction (downstream). See boat parked on the left in photo.

The view across the river is rather uninspiring. Because the river is not far from its mouth where it enters the Atlantic Ocean, the flow is slow and the water looks muddy.

The owner lives on the property in a separate modern building, behind the tower.

Nice breakfast room. No on-site restaurant. This chateau is really a B-n-B.

“Enomatic” – wine-on-demand – eight local wines (2 Margaux, Saint-Emilion, Saint-Estephe, Pauillac, Pessac Leognan and Saint Julien) at various price points were sold by the glass. Three sizes to choose from. Pay via a special debit card from the hotel that is settled when checking out. We got several different glasses and enjoyed them with cheeses back in our room.

Next to the chateau is a building that can be used for conferences and weddings. We believe that it is probably a significant part of the business.

The pool was not yet opened but the chateau provides bikes for us to explore the grounds.

Relaxing place to stay if you want easy access to Bordeaux city. But it does not have a working vineyard, unlike those further downstream towards Haut-Medoc.

After reaching our westernmost destination on our Alps-Atlantic trip at Biarritz (click here to see related posts), we came back via Bordeaux and stopped for a few days to explore the area.

The Cité du Vin is a museum as well as a place of exhibitions and academic seminars on the theme of wine located in the city of Bordeaux.

The building, meant to suggest a decanter, was designed by Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières of XTU architects.

La Cite du Vins was official opened by the President, François Hollande on May 31, 2016. So the place is not even a year old, it is brand new.

The building has 8 floors with most of the exhibition spaces and classrooms on the lower floors.

In an open exhibition space occupying more than 3,000 m², nearly twenty different themed areas invite you to take a voyage of discovery and enjoy a unique experience exploring the many and varied facets of wine across time and space.

One can spend hours watching, listening, and even smelling the exhibits. There is so much media content to be consumed.

One darkened area has several tables where visitors can sit around and watch a virtual host explain various topics – history, entertaining, food pairing.

The table is actually a screen and the image changes continuously – sometimes it is a dining table but it could morph into another image seamlessly and quickly.

There were several tables that allow visitors to discern the aromas present in a wine. A squeeze of the small black rubber bulb releases the aroma which can be inhaled from the copper horn.

This part of the exhibition was unique in that they provided many different sources of aroma.

We participated in a multi-sensory workshop where we tasted several wines, learnt about its origin (not all were French) and pairing with food around the world. It is “multi-sensory” because certain aromas were sprayed into the room to invoke a sense of a place and its food which were projected on surround screen.

The workshop was entertaining and its delivery employed state of the art technology.

There are 2 restaurants. We did not eat there. Our entry ticket include a free glass of wine to be enjoyed at the belvedere which affords a 360 degree view of the northern end of Bordeaux city and the river Garonne.

“Downtown” direction view of the city of Bordeaux.

There is a souvenir shop “La Boutique” which sells every wine-related gifts one can imagine.

Next to it is the wine store which stocks thousands of bottles from around the world. Not just Bordeaux or French, a truly comprehensive international collection.

We spent almost the entire day here. The city really did a good job in creating this museum to educate and promote wine culture, and giving adults the sense of fun that kids have in a themed amusement park.

These are the photos I (Chris) took and posted on Facebook. The series was started in March of 2013. There is no theme – just something random and visually interesting. We gave each a title and noted where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the city).

random photo #306 – portraits – Miami

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random photo #307 – chaos – Milano

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random photo #308 – terroir
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random photo #309 – escape – Sao Paulo
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random photo #310 – west – Pully
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random photo #311 – migraine – Milano

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random photo #312 – minor triffid – Chenonceau

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random photo #313 – salon – Köln

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random photo #314 – big funnel – Orleans
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random photo #315 – go & no go – Bern

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If you are interested in seeing other Random Photos, click on the  random  tag on the left.
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One morning in Biarritz, we went over to the town’s main market to get coffee and some breakfast.

Pastries.

Busy, as expected. But lots to see and buy.

The sandwiches for Fa and An looked really good. Very fresh.

This stand specializes in goat cheese, so many varieties.

Fresh goat cheese with fruits.

Poultry and rabbit.

Something internal (gesiers) and drumstick (manchons) smeared with duck fat – only in France.

As Biarritz is so close to the Spanish border, there were lots of jamon. Wanna see more Spanish ham ? – click here.

Hams, ruccola, grilled eggplant and peppers wrapped in mozzarella.

Canned seafood for tapas.

A nice way to spend a morning.

Another entry to our tour of bookstores around the world …

We found this gem of a bookstore in Biarritz.  The bookstore is called “BOOKSTORE”. And to confirm the nature of its business, on the storefront below the name, it says “Librairie Bookstore”.

It is understandable that this establishment at a French beach town is so named in English because historically, many British tourists including royalties like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII spent their vacation at this seaside resort.

On its website, it lists its Summer opening hours which are 1 hour longer and are applicable from July 8 to September 1.  After all, the bookstore is barely a block from the beach – No. 27 Place Clemenceau.

The bookstore is remarkable in that it is really quite small – not much larger than a newsagent that sells only magazines, cigarettes, sodas and chewing gum.

The back of the store has a lower section that sells “livre de poche” – paperback books – perfect for the beach.

The front room has a main area and a set of stairs that lead to a mezzanine level.

There is a “bureau” in the front room as well as at the mezzanine level. These bureaus are essentially little single-person booths where a storekeeper helps customers with payment and questions.

The bureau on the mezzenine level is rather unusual as it is suspended in the airspace (hovers) above the main area. A small souvenir street nameplate stuck on this bureau says “Place de la Contrescarpe” – a square in Paris considered the center of the 5th arrondisement – the Latin Quarter – an area known for scholarly and literary pursuits.

Despite its size, it affords a nice small leather sofa (oversized relative to the floor space) on the mezzanine level.

All the offerings here appear to be quality reading materials – most if not all are in French and we are not yet proficient to understand/gauge – so we judged them by their covers.

Books are displayed three-sixty degrees on all available shelf space, wall space and any flat surfaces.

The store is generously lit by big bright round light bulbs  – without them the space might feel a bit claustrophobic.

We presume the bookstore is fully stocked since we were at the beginning of the tourist season, hence multiple copies of the same book in stacks on display.

One of a kind.

 

La Cabane à Huitres – we went to this oyster shack on rue Gambetta – a street lined with shops, and at the top end, restaurants (that are not overly touristy).

Small place with brisk service. Simple decor made it feel like a shack.

They have oysters from Marennes d’Oleron Fines de Claires at three different sizes as well as Regal oysters from Ireland.

Everything on the menu is in the refrigerated display cabinet.

Between the French and the Irish which we tried, the Irish tasted sweeter.

Our dinner was mostly seafood except this grilled, salted chili peppers.

We also had fresh anchovies, and octopus marinated in red sauce.

The garlicky-chili clams (palourdes) were great.

Apple crumble for dessert.

This local wine was refreshing and had a subtle mineral taste that went well with the shellfish.

Recommended.

Continuing with our Easter Alps to Atlantic trip …

After Saint-Emilion, we headed south directly to Biarritz by-passing the city of Bordeaux (which we would later visit). The drive down A63 was easier, a lot less twists and turns, and the landscape is flat. This area, Landes is part of an estuary but looks a bit like Florida, for different geological reasons.

The day we arrived, the weather was incredibly warm – every one rushed onto the beach – we suspect that most of the people on the beach were locals as the tourists had not yet descended on this place.

Yoga on the beach sponsored by a local radio station.

Biarritz is a beach town on the Côte Basque, French surfing mecca, resort for royalties since the 1800’s, and only 15 miles from the Spanish border.  It is only 50 kilometers from Donostia-San Sebastian where we visited last summer, see here and here.

Our hotel room offered an incredible beach view. We could hear the surf all night.

The colors of the sky and the sea changed quite dramatically during our stay. In front of the hotel is a plaza and a rusty modern sculpture.

It was quiet at night. From a distance, one can see the lighthouse.

The lighthouse – Phare de Biarritz – is dramatic with its sweeping searchlight.

On the waterfront separating the Grand Plage and the Plage du Miramar (not visible) is the Hôtel du Palais (the brightly lit building above), the city’s landmark luxury resort and former royal residence.

A symbol of Biarritz, the Rocher de la Vierge is a rocky outcrop topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary. Reachable via a footbridge built in 1887 by Gustave Eiffel, who is also known to have worked in the capital.

Looking across the Grand Plage late afternoon, the Rocher and footbridge were just visible through the holes and arches in the rocks.

Rock arches.

The above has been predicted to collapse in a few years time.

Surf class

These kayaks came from somewhere, landed on the beach for a while and then paddled back out and left in minutes  …

According to the New York Times, this beach town is back in vogue since its popularity peaked in the 1950’s. The newspaper article (here) was published in May 2017 – two months after we visited Biarritz – we were literally ahead of the Times. <wink>

Lots more photos to come …

 

 

A few more snapshots …

Saint-Emilion is on the east in the Bordeaux wine region and the right bank of the Dordogne. In the region, there are 5400 hectares for growing vines, 800 wine estates and 127 that are listed and opened to the public.

The vineyards of Saint-Emilion are ancient. Back in the Roman times – as early as the second century, vines were planted to take advantage of the limestone soil and temperate oceanic climate (no temperature extremes and rainfall well distributed throughout the year).

Saint-Emilion was ruled by a jurade – a council of local notables – until the French Revolution. In 1948, the council was turned into a guild to promote the wines of the appellation.

For a thousand years, Saint-Emilion exported its limestone for construction use leaving behind underground quarries and miles of tunnels – some becoming wine cellars. This Cave is next to our hotel and uses the remaining defensive wall as a part of the cellar.

There are 3 levels of quality in the classification of Saint-Emilion wines – Grand Cru Classé, 1er Grand Cru Classé B and 1er Grand Cru Classé A (highest).

We have never seen such a range of bottle sizes.

And there is the Comptoir des vignoble in the village main street which deals in high-end wines and has a monolith cellar from the 12th century.

It lists the prices, like stock prices, of four famously good and expensive wines by the vintage year, Chateaux d’Yquem, Mouton, Cheval Blanc and Petrus, outside at its entrance. Petrus 2009 was listed at around 3500 euro.

Another wine store – Merchant of Thirst

We had dinner at L’Envers du Décor which was recommended by the hotel receptionist.

All the tables and several walls were covered with the ends of wine box which were stamped with the name of the wine it contained and its origin.

The wine we ordered – its box happened to appear on our table top.

Fun place.

Saint-Émilion is rustic and picturesque. Hostellerie de Plaissance is located in the center of it sitting above the Place du Marché next to the Monolithic church (Clocher de l’eglise Monolithe).

The restaurant has a private courtyard that overlooks the square and restaurants below. We could have sat outside but due to the pollen, we opted to be inside.

We did not make a reservation and as it was a spur of the moment thing, just walked in very casually – so much so that the staff felt compelled to ask if we knew the restaurant has two Michelin stars. We thought it was a bit rude of them.

At the entrance, the dining room is partly hidden behind a lacquered curvy screen.

The dining room was not even half full – it was only the beginning of the season. We liked it this way.

The chef is Ronan Kervarrec. We chose a relatively simple menu with wine pairings.

We started with a number of appetizers, including churros (in the background of the photo).

Chefs like to use lentil to form a base, like soil, to present food constructions (second time we saw it in a few days).

Asparagus was in season (it was on all the menus during this trip). Here it was served as “Green asparagus braised in a chicken broth, frangipane tart with peanuts and zabaliglione”.

On the menu that they printed for us to keep, the second course is “Deep sea scallops poached in a stock sauce and cauliflower”. We pondered on the term “stock sauce” – it is so understated that is bordering on laziness or being mysterious.  The sauce was however very good whatever it was made with.

“Basil in small ravioli, vegetal broth, white cheese sorbet”. This was taken before the green vegetal broth was poured over it.

“Cherry amaretto, almond soufflé and cherry sorbet crisp macaroons”

We added a cheese course to the menu to go with the wines.

Assorted desserts.

They also made a miniature canelé served on top of a brass full-size canelé mould. Very popular in Bordeaux, canelé is a pastry flavored with rum and vanilla having a soft and tender custard center, and a dark, thick caramelized crust.

We had coffee and not tea, otherwise, we would have been offered a selection of fresh herb leaves that are plucked directly from potted plants. It was fun to see the potted plants being carted around the dining room – certainly caught the eyes of some diners. It is chic to do it now, even our office canteen started having these live plants around the coffee/tea areas.

According to Wikipedia, Plaisance is a French word, meaning pleasantness, derived from the Latin placentia ‘acceptable things’. Google Translate offers “recreation”, and it is not “pleasure” as we jokingly suggested.

We noticed a certain well known, local wine – the “white horse” – in its collection.

A fine establishment indeed. Highly recommended.

 

Saint-Emilion is a popular place because of its environment, history and produce. The communes of Saint-Emilion, there are 22 of them, extends over 238 sq km between Libourne and Castillon-la-Bataille, and bound to the south by the Dordogne river.

The town is named after a monk named Emilion (duh) who came to settle in the 8th century.

We really like it because it is small enough for one to see the entire town which is surrounded by vineyards as far as the eyes can see.

There were numerous monasteries, convents and churches in the region attracting various schools of monks and nuns – Dominicans, Benedictines, Franciscans, Ursulines. It also welcomed pilgrims of the Santiago de Compostela trail which is not far from the area.

There were a fair amount of restoration of houses in the small town but they all seem harmoniously done.

The UNESCO designation in 1999 helped preserved the local ancient practices of wine-making and many old buildings.

This is a old lavoir, a public place set aside for the commune to wash clothes. They were essential until laundromats and private plumbing made them obsolete.  We really liked the set up – a raised lip around a shallow pool of flowing water and a sheltered section.

The center of the village in front of the monolith church and market hall. It was a lively cheerful public place. We did not see the church – a 12 th century building dug into the limestone plateau and whose current structure still forms a single block. We were in fact standing atop of it when the photos was taken.

We are sure the scene is quite common but for urban dwellers like us it felt a tiny bit Renoir-esque.

The “castel daou rey ” meaning the King’s Keep is a romanesque tower, built in the 12th century, where it might have served as the city hall in the past.

Part 2 to come.

Our first night of the 2017 Alps-to-Atlantic trip was spent in Saint-Emilion.  This small medieval village is known for its status as a UNESCO World Heritage site and extremely well known for its red wine.

Our hotel “Au Logis des Remparts” is located at the edge of the village center and was built using a part of the remaining defensive wall. The village is so small that the hotel’s location is essentially central.

There are three floors. There is an elevator for luggage but not people.

One can see parts of the rampart with a walkway on top and a stone parapet.

This village was recognized by UNESCO in 1999 and it was the first wine-making entity that was listed as a “cultural landscape”.

While our room is unremarkable, the garden is heavenly.

Geometrically-shaped trees in the middle.

We and our friends really like it and spent a good few hours lying on the lounge chairs, staring up at the trees, and falling asleep.

We had it all to ourselves.

Can’t remember the last time we had such a naturally serene and relaxing moment.

Since it was the beginning of the season, the owner was moving the sculptures around the garden looking for an optimal place to show them.

The pieces are apparently all available for sale.

The weather was perfect to be outside. But it is too cold for swimming.

The patio has the perfectly shaped shady olive tree (I think it is an olive tree).

We took our breakfast underneath it one morning.

Highly recommended.

Today is the day of the French presidential election. The future of Europe depends much on this result. Apt that we blog about France here aujourd’hui.

We spent a week on the west coast of France over Easter. On our drive towards the Atlantic from the Alps, Clermont Ferrand is roughly the midpoint after Lyon. Our  friends, Fa and An were heading in the same direction for their vacation. So we decided to drive together, two cars in tandem. Our first night was at Saint-Émilion.

Fa volunteered to find a good restaurant around Clermont Ferrand to make the boring drive more enjoyable (Google estimated that it would take about 7 hours). As he rightly said, it is not often that he or any one of us will likely pass through this part of France (Auvergne) in the near future.

He made a reservation at Le Pré in Durtol near Clermont Ferrand. The restaurant stops receiving diners for lunch at 1:15pm. To make it there on time, we had an excuse to drive rather fast (… I got a speeding ticket through the mail after returning to Switzerland).

The restaurant is in a modern building and the dining room and bar are located in the mid-section. We had a hard time finding the entrance in the beginning. As we arrived a little bit after our reservation time slot, the maître’d gave us the most frosty welcome. (This is not Switzerland, come on).

The main dining room was almost full so we had our private room. Hehe.

The chef of this Michelin 2-star restaurant is Xavier Beaudiment.

There are 86 two-star restaurants and 12 new ones in 2017.

He won his second star this year – that is probably why it was so full for lunch on a weekday.

There is a poached egg down there. Went very well with the white asparagus.

” … a unique menu elaborated according to the inspiration of the moment, with the complicity of a whole network of small producers and wild herbs in the region. A “kitchen of instinct”, allied to a true sense of flavors, …”  – The Inspector’s words (translated, courtesy Google)

We did notice unique flavors – clearly distinguishable and not muddled – which were much appreciated.

A detour to this restaurant took us off the monotonous motorway and we drove through the Auvergne regional park built around a long-dead volcano range – Chaîne des Puys.

The source of the international brand of mineral water – Volvic – is not far from the restaurant. And we were drinking the local water with our meal.

One of the dessert is all about chocolate – five or six ways of preparing it – I (Chris) am not a die-hard chocolate fan but really enjoyed it.

The bar/lounge area is nicely decorated. While the nice large windows give the space lots of light but there is not much to see outside. Suburban homes and the parking lot.

Quite a collection of cognac and armagnac.

Recommended.

In our bookstore tour of the world, we increasingly see the merger of bookselling with another retail concept – for example, the T-site in Daikanyama 代官山 in Tokyo and the Eslite Spectrum in Hong Kong – see our posts here and here. In Bologna, I (Chris) visited the Librerie Coop + Eataly Bologna – a combination that is more 50-50 than the earlier examples.

 

Librerie Coop is a chain in Italian bookstore with more than 30 stores.

 

Eataly is an international operator of food halls selling Italian food stuffs and restaurants – their stores are apparently wildly successful in NYC at first (that was after we left the city) and then in Chicago.

 

Admittedly, we have not yet been inside one in the US but we imagine them to be a kind of European imported food megastore with a high-end food court. The food halls of Harrods (London), Shinsegae (Seoul) and KaDeWe in Berlin (see post) come to mind.

 

The corporate parent is an Italian company founded near Alba and started first in Torino. Apparently, the two companies have collaborated at multiple locations in Italy.

 

The book-food store is located not far from Piazza Maggiore at Via degli Orefici, 19.

 

This location has a cafe, a wine bar…

 

a trattoria …

and an osteria.

I wonder if they will let customer take a book to the table to read while waiting for or consuming his/her order.

The bookstore floor space is tight, although it has several floors. Compare this with the oldest bookstore in Bologna, Libreria A. Nanni which I also visited – see post here.

The space feels intimate and cozy overall. Great idea, well executed.

I read in the news that Eataly will open a food theme park – Eataly World – in Bologna in 2017. It will convert 20 acres of old warehouses into 25 restaurants, 10 classrooms, a convention center, farms, and labs. Buono appetito. Looking forward to it …

Ciao

I was visiting Bologna last December. Bologna is famous not only for its pasta sauce and several other foods but also for its porticos. In total, there are over 45 km (28 miles) of arcades, some 38 in the city center. While strolling in the historic center, I came across this bookstore which uses part of the arcade in front of its store front to display books and magazines.

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Libreria Nanni is located at Via Dè Musei, 8 – under il Portico della Morte (Portico of Death) – its name arising from the nearby old Hospital of Santa Maria della Morte, which now houses the Archaeological Museum.

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The bookstore was founded by the Marchesi family in the early nineteenth century became a reference point for students, scholars and bibliophiles. It was acquired by Arnaldo Nanni in 1900’s. This is the oldest bookstore in the city of Bologna.

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It was just 7pm and the store keepers were closing down the store and moving some of the displayed books inside. I quickly wandered inside to look around.

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Apparently, this bookstore was frequented by the well-known writer and film director – Pier Paolo Pasolini – murdered in 1975 unfortunately.

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The bookstore also specializes in ancient books as well as old and rare magazines and comics – see the shelves behind the counter.

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They also sell text books but it is in the back behind the wall of ancient books.

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Judging by the age of the stalls, it is quite likely that books and magazines have been displayed this way for many years.

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Old Architectural Digest …

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comics …

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… and travel magazines

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If you are curious about bookstore, click here to see a renovated bookstore – Rizzoli – in a central shopping arcade in Milano.

Our next post will be about one of the newest bookstore in Bologna. Don’t miss it.

Spanish cured ham (Jamón Ibérico) is well known worldwide. They are sold and consumed in specialist shops – Jamonería – in Madrid.

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One such store situated just off the Puerta del Sol named itself Museo del Jamon.

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Its location suggests that it is a touristy place, but surprisingly, it was packed with locals or domestic tourists.

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One can have a sandwich with any ham in the shop.

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Platters with specific kinds of ham (jamon iberico, jamon serrano, lomo etc), sausages and cheeses.

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There were many kinds of ham and various price points.

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It reminded us a little bit of the sausage shop on the top floor of the KaDeWe in Berlin. Click here to see 100’s of sausages on display.

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The whole leg of ham is typically placed horizontally on a Jamonera and thin slices are hand cut and lifted individually.

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The little inverted umbrellas collect the fat dripping off the leg of ham.

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We saw several jamonerias in central Madrid but wondered if they are also set up in other parts of Spain.

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This is a big one and does not appear to be touristy.

Adios.

 

I was on a business trip in Seoul last August and had some free time to explore the city – in Gwangjin-gu (광진구 · 廣津區) a district that is mostly residential, but consist not of apartment buildings characteristic of the city, but of three or four-story row houses separated by small roads and alleyways.

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It was dusk when I arrived in the area. There were lots of restaurants and bars, just turning on their neons. Apparently, this place is known for its night life along with Hangdae 弘大 and Sinchon 新村 in other parts of Seoul, where there are universities.

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The streets were busy with cars – a major interchange is a couple of blocks away and there were lots of people, mostly locals. The metro line 2 runs on elevated tracks here and the elevated Konkuk University station 建大入口 is not far from Common Grounds.

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Common Ground (커먼그라운드) is a collection of pop-up stores housed in 200 large containers which is capable of transforming into different structures or moving into different places. Web site here.

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The containers were set up in a previously empty parking lot. When I looked it up online, Common Ground was not in the then current version of Goggle map Street View.

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It almost seemed strange that inside the perimeter of Common Grounds, the environment is calmer than the streets outside. Perhaps I was too early – the night was still young.

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In the middle is a weekend market that is held with different themes. There were also four food trucks each serving something interesting.

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Wonder truck selling BBQ and Kimchibus.

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Structurally, the containers are stacked two or three-storey high with footbridges linking the stacks.

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There is a 1-minute time-lapse video of the construction of Common Ground here on Youtube.

Cafe and restaurants are located at the top where natural light is welcoming.

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Internally, there was an atrium with stairs connecting the floors.

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In addition to lots of little stores, there were quite a few restaurants. It must be a great place to hang out in the evening, being outdoors and a little higher where one can see the people in the center below and the buildings in the background.

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Apparently, various events such as exhibitions and performances are held regularly. While I was there, there was an exhibition of art relating to The World of Warcraft in the Toy Republic shop/area and a performance space promoting the launch of a new version of the game.

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Despite the onslaught of mega-brands setting up shops ubiquitously across the globe in shopping malls, it was heartening to see the appearance of these smaller, independent retail enterprises. We saw such enterprises inside a bookstore in our last post about Eslite Spectrum in Hong Kong – click here.

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The place reminded me of another retail complex I visited several years ago also in Seoul – Ssamsagil  – it was more artsy – I did not go there this time. I will have a post about a similar set up in Hong Kong – PMQ.  Look out for it.

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This is no. 8 in a series of posts that is about funny business names or signs that we captured on film. From time to time during our travels, we come across English names that makes us laugh.

Check out Hilarity in names #1, #2, #3#4#5, #6 and #7.

Gentle Monster – Authorized Lens Service Store in Seoul

 

Xray at Zurich airport sells specs – these eyewear shops have imaginative names !

 

Meat Stop – a fast food joint in Moscow – bonus : there is a “pre-party bar” next door – I couldn’t decipher the cyrillic name.

 

iCracked – a store that repairs phone and tablet screens and sell protectors in Tokyo

 

This bar in Madrid is brutal.

 

“WELLMADE” in Seoul – something “for our work & life balance with Indian” ?  I cannot remember what it sells. The Korean sign above is advertising for a place called Geneva which provides cosmetic and dermatologic treatment including hair growth.

 

Lefties in Madrid

 

In the end, there is “anal” in Bilbao or perhaps it is “anai” or “ana1”  …

There are more to come …

These are the photos I (Chris) took and posted on Facebook. The series was started in March of 2013. There is no theme – just something random and visually interesting. We gave each a title and noted where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the city).

random photo #296 – the place – Milanotheplace-1

random photo #297 – untitled – Lac Léman

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random photo #298 – hands up, no violence – Barcelona
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random photo #299 – boca no.12 – Buenos Aires

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random photo #300 – fishes – Punta Cana

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random photo #301 – this way

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random photo #302 – old guards – Saõ Paulo

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random photo #303 – pots – London

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random photo #304 – azure – Asti

 

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random photo #305 – repent – Chenonceau

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If you are interested in seeing other Random Photos, click on the  random  tag on the left.
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Continuing from part 1 … as some of you may know, we have been putting up photos of bookstores from around the world. In addition to those posts that are linked in part 1, here are a few more that you can jump to: House of Books in Moscow, Alexandra in Budapest and the MIT Press in Boston.

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La Rive Gauche is the left bank or southern bank of the Seine which includes the arrondissements 5 (Latin Quarter), 6 and parts of 7 – generally known for its bohemian and anti-establishment roots. My hotel was right next to the University of Paris, La Sorbonne main building and not far from the Panthéon.

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Many of the bookstores are actually publishers – Editions Ivrea evolved from Editions Champ Libre which was founded after the May 1968 student riots in this same area of Paris.

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Editions Champ Libre and its founder Gerard Lebovici were famous for their associations with the socialist/communist writers and political movements. Gerard Lebovici was assassinated in the 1980’s.

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Just around the corner from my hotel is the Cinema du Panthéon, and down the street is a bookstore dedicated to the arts of film making. By the time I finished my meetings, it was dark already. So do excuse the lack of interior photos and the rather reflective window shots.

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It is rare to find a specialist bookstore these days.

Voila – La Librairie du Cinema du Pantheon.

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I remember one in the midst of the NY Broadway theaters – 46th between Broadway and 8th Ave ?

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It sells movie posters, postcards … and some specialist DVDs are available – films about films.

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“Paris In Cinema”, “Ciné Quiz”  … brain food for movie buffs

paris-books-25Monroe and Kubrick books …

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A series of monographs published by the Cahier du Cinema, titled “Anatomy of an Actor” – Clooney, Brando, Pacino, Kidman, De Niro.

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There are even film books written for kids, and movie guides for age 3-8 and age 9-12 !  – “200 films for you to see before becoming tall”.

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There were other specialist bookstores in the area, e.g., philosophy by J Vrin

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… Science and fantasy fictions … Galactic stories

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… books on Asia

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and law books by Dalloz.

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Among all these bookstores is a shop that provide photocopying and digital scanning services.

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I am sure there are a lot more bookstores in the area but I had to leave … my French needs to get better first before I come back to browse.

 

Fin

As some of you may know, we have been putting up photos of bookstores from around the world. This is another bunch to add to the pile. If you are curious, do click on the side bar and browse the filtered selections. Or jump to Rizzoli in Milano, T-site in Daikanyama, Tokyo, Livraria Cultura in Iguatemi, Sao Paulo, and Waterstones in Central London to start.

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Last year, I (Chris) had a business meeting in Paris near the university, La Sorbonne. Understandably, the area when I was staying is full of bookstores and publishers. So it was quite convenient for me to snap all these pictures.

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Due to the lack of time, the time of day of my walkabout and the weekend (they all close on Sunday), I really did not have much chance to enter the bookstores and browse – hence, the lack of interior photos and the rather reflective window shots.

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All these bookstores are all within 10 minutes walk max from each other.

paris-books-10Livres

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Editions Cassini publishes science books for the general public and those who are just curious about science.

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In its window were work by Richard Feynman on planetary movements, and books about The Prisoner’s Dilemma (Game theory), the beauty of mathematical formulas, and John Maynard Smith’s evolutionary biology (also based on Game theory).

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Editions Jacques Gabay publishes hardcore, academic mathematics and physics books by famous scientists – e.g., Einstein – the man himself.

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See their publications on the Theory of General Relativity, Tensor Calculus, Theory of Electrons, etc. – all fundamentals of modern physics. Just having these books on your shelf will increase your IQ.

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It was not all maths and sciences – on another street, there is Classiques Garnier. Since 1896, they have been publishing literary works of from around the world, French and foreign, ancient and modern, in reference editions.

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Some French classics – e.g., poems in latin by Victor Hugo. If you are curious, download their 200-page general catalogue here. One can find classics from as early as the middle ages and Renaissance reprinted in paperback for a lot less than 100 euro.

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Librairie des petits Platons –  publishes children’s books.

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There is a shop that buys/sells old and perhaps rare books and second hand books … funny that there was a recycling bin in front of it.

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I have been learning some French but by no means effective and definitely, my current ability does not allow me to enjoy these books.

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Perhaps I was not in the right places in the US, never have I seen so many bookstores in one area and there are so many publishers who also run a brick-and-mortar store with a street front.

More to come in part 2 !