INSPIRATION & EXPERT ADVICE FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS

INSPIRATION & EXPERT ADVICE FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELLERS

Category Archives: France

What to Expect on Your First Trip to Paris- A First Time Visitor’s Guide

I’ll always remember my first trip to Paris. I was in the eleventh grade, on a school trip to experience the French culture I’d been learning about and romanticizing in my mind for so long. In many ways, my first trip to Paris was exactly what I expected. There were grand buildings, manicured gardens and...

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Where to Stay in Paris- A Guide to the Best Paris Neighbourhoods for Travellers

A common question I get from my readers is “Where Should I Stay in Paris?” There are so many wonderful neighbourhoods in Paris, each with a distinctive atmosphere, that deciding where to stay in Paris can be a dilemma. While budget is often a deciding factor, I try not to let that limit me too...

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Photo of the Week: Strasbourg’s Astronomical Clock

The astronomical clock in Strasbourg Cathedral is a fine example of what can be achieved when art and science come together. Statuettes and paintings embellish a case housing clock dials and mechanisms working together to measure time and astronomical indications. When Strasbourg’s astronomical clock was completed in 1574, it was considered to be one of...

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Photo of the Week: Dôme des Invalides

An unmissable monument in Paris’ cityscape is the glittering gold dome of the royal chapel at Les Invalides. Dôme des Invalides was first inspired by the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Designed by Jules Hardouin Mansart, the dome is considered one of the finest examples of French Baroque architecture. The dome was finished...

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How to Spend 4 Days in Paris- Our Itinerary

Paris is one of my favourite cities, the one that made me fall in love with travelling. Paris is romantic, cultured and sophisticated, with so much to see and do. It’s hard to experience everything that’s great about Paris in four days. I’ve visited twice now and there are still entire sections of the city...

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Palais Garnier- One of Paris’ Most Elegant Buildings

There are numerous reasons to love Paris- one being its exquisite architecture. Even with so many beautiful buildings in Paris, inside and out, there is one that rises to the top in my mind. The Palais Garnier is a dazzling building, frequently called an architectural masterpiece. The gilded, extravagant interior will make you feel as...

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Photo of the Week: Tomb of Sainte-Geneviève

In Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, a church in Paris near the Pantheon, you’ll find a beautiful shrine dedicated to Sainte-Geneviève, the patroness of Paris. The remarkable golden reliquary you see here was used to hold the remains of Sainte-Geneviève, along with many important relics. The citizens of Paris would parade the relics from the church to Notre-Dame and...

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The Paris Museum Pass- What Is It and Should You Buy It?

Many cities these days offer tourist cards that visitors can buy to get free or discounted entrance tickets to popular attractions. We’ve bought these cards in a few cities and found that some are definitely better than others in terms of value for your dollar. In Paris, we decided to purchase the Paris Museum Pass,...

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Photo of the Week: The Orangerie, Palace of Versailles

One of my favourite views at the Palace of Versailles, is the one overlooking the Orangerie and Pond of the Swiss. The Orangerie was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart from 1684 and 1686. The garden is flanked with a grand 100-step staircase and contains over 1,000 trees, some over 200 years old! There are orange trees from...

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Photo of the Week: La Madeleine, Paris

Just north of Place de la Concorde in Paris is L’église de St-Marie-Madeleine, or St. Mary Magdalene Church. When we first came across La Madeleine, as it is commonly called, we didn’t know it was a church because the building resembles a large Roman temple. There are 52 Corinthian columns that surround the temple, topped...

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Photo of the Week: Strasbourg Cathedral, France

The Strasbourg Cathedral dominates the square at the end of Rue Mercière, standing tall over the heart of the city. Notre-Dame de Strasbourg was built between 1190 and 1439, a Gothic masterpiece that would be the tallest construction in the world for over 200 years. At 142 metres tall, its single steeple makes the cathedral...

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Palace of Versailles: Part Three- The Queen’s Hamlet

This is the final post in our series about Versailles. In Part One, we toured the Palace of Versailles and in Part Two we visited the Trianon Palaces. Hands down, our favourite part of Versailles was the Queen’s Hamlet, a rustic retreat built for Marie-Antoinette. The Queen is famed for her desire to escape the...

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Palace of Versailles: Part Two- The Trianon Palaces

This is Part Two of a three part series about Versailles. In Part One, we toured the Palace of Versailles and in Part Three we will visit the Queen’s Hamlet. On my first trip to the Palace of Versailles 15 years ago, I didn’t get a chance to explore the property as much as I...

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Palace of Versailles: Part One- Tour of the Palace

The first time I visited the Palace of Versailles, I was in the eleventh grade on my first trip to Europe. I still vividly recall how amazed I was by the decadent furnishings, the sparkling hall of mirrors, the grand fountains, and the symmetry and preciseness of the colourful gardens. After that trip, Versailles was...

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One Day in Strasbourg- Charm, Romance and One Incredibly Tall Cathedral

I had never heard of Strasbourg until I got an email from my mom. Attached was a slideshow of beautiful pictures from medieval towns in Europe. My eyes lit up as I clicked through pages of half-timbered houses, window boxes overflowing with red flowers, gentle flowing canals and narrow, winding streets. I knew instantly that...

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Photo of the Week: Sacre Coeur Basilica

Crowning the top of Montmartre Hill, Paris’ highest point, is Sacré Coeur Basilica. This prominent location makes Sacré Coeur Basilica one of the most noticeable landmarks in Paris, easily visible from the top of the Eiffel Tower. This imposing basilica will surely make you gasp when it first hovers into view. The beaming white stones have...

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Paris in Black and White- Photo Series

Paris is a photographer’s dream! Everywhere you look there are famous landmarks, beautiful parks and exquisite architecture just begging to be photographed. I could not put my camera down and came home with a ridiculous amount of photos from my 4 days in Paris! When I got to editing my pictures, I started to play...

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Photo of the Week: Grand Foyer of Palais Garnier, Paris

The Palais Garnier, home to the Paris Opera, was the most stunning building we visited during our four day trip to Paris! The Grand Foyer was designed to resemble the gallery of a classical chateau- adorned with gold and accented with mirrors and windows. The ceiling paintings are exquisite and portray themes from the history of music....

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Photo of the Week: Wall for Peace, Paris

At the end of Parc du Champ de Mars, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, stands the Wall for Peace. Made from steel and glass, the monument features the word “Peace” etched in forty-nine languages and eighteen different alphabets. The Wall for Peace was designed by artist Clara Halter and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, who...

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The Eiffel Tower- Fun Facts, Photos and Tips for Visiting

The Eiffel Tower has long been an icon of Paris and one of the first things that come to mind when people think of the city (even France). I can’t imagine making a trip to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower! You might think that the Eiffel Tower’s popularity makes it a “touristy” attraction,...

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