All posts tagged: Paris

Two days In Bruge

Our time in Paris is up, on to Bruges…but not before one last look out the window, then down 4 flights of stairs for the last time! Metro to Gare du Nord and off via Arras & Brussels to Bruges, a trip of about 3 hours. Bruges is a beautiful medieval town, some may say a reproduction as most of it was flattened during WW2, but hey, it’s still very lovely. We are staying in an outstanding B&B about 10 minutes from the centre of town, and it’s there we set off from after downing suitcases. Surprisingly, we found a brewhouse, and partook of said products! The belfry is the most obvious landmark, and site of the most memorable scene in the movie, In Bruges. Dinner at a hamburger joint, then maybe a G&T or two in a fantastic gin & whiskey bar. They have over 230 gins to choose from, and when you do, they are presented in the most unique way. Rachael loved the glasses so much we bought two for home, plus …

Light and Colour in Paris

Some months ago I read, in a French blog I follow, about an impressive new visual arts show and subsequently saw some initial, glowing, reviews for it…so today we get to judge it for ourselves. Atelier des Lumières is an immersive exhibition of the works of Gustav Klimt plus a shorter exhibition by an artist working under the pseudonym, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and an even shorter contemporary work called Poetic_AI. Images are splashed onto the walls and floors of a huge old warehouse, with a soundtrack mix of classic and contemporary music thundering in the background. The whole experience is mesmerising, images flashing before you, changing shape and form, swirling to the music. Light and shade. Washing over and around you. The room is so large the crowds seem to just blend in, people standing, leaning on walls, or just sitting on the floor letting the scenes before you play out. It really was incredible, lasting about 45 minutes, on a continual loop. Stunning Back in the light we caught the train back into the centre …

Street art and The Panthéon

It’s another beautiful day in Paris, perfect to finally visit one of Frances most revered sites, Temple of the Nation, the Pantheon. Once a Christian basilica, Napoleon 1 decided to honour the great servants of the state in the crypt, while the nave was reserved for worship. Victor Hugo was the first interned upon his death in 1885, the huge basilica seeming to be the only place worthy of holding his remains. Honours were thus granted according to criteria that has evolved with changes in the regimes. Nowadays, French men and women are honoured here depending on the desires of the President of the French Republic: politicians, authors, scientists, Resistance fighters, etc. With many having been moved here from their original place of burial. Its quite humbling to be walking amongst some of the most important members of France’s history; Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas, Louis Braille, and Emile Zola amongst the many. Even the heart of Leon Cambetta gets a special mention! A local street artist, Christian Guemy, who goes by the …

Downtown Paris by day, Montmartre by night.

I’d like to say we were up and at it today, making the most of the beautiful weather, but, non…we slept in. Oh, and Rachael was very keen on checking out the washing machine. So, a bit slow out of the blocks, but finally after croissants we headed towards the river Seine. We wandered past a flea market then on to Jardin du Palais Royal, a typically structured park lined with elegant trees, brushed stone paths and a lovely central pond with water feature, surrounded by Parisians reading and relaxing. Rachael does Parisian quite well! On to the Palais Royal with confusing queues, and a fancy metro entrance, Past the Louvre, with spectacular dressage posing, …and ridiculous(ness) from those that should know better! Past the little Arc de Triomphe thingy, with the quick entry to the Louvre on each side which no one uses… …past a naked women or two! …and first port of call, on Cards recommendation, is Musée de l’Orangerie which houses works of art from Monet with his water lilies, thru to …

Honfleur

  Honfleur, summer escape for overheated Parisians, playground for wealthy Russians and Belgians, ferry adventure for the Brits and perfect pit stop in Normandy for the weary traveller. A maritime delight, perfectly positioned at the mouth of the mighty Seine, Honfleur has enchanted generations with her beautiful harbour, playful shifting light, and seafaring history. An easy two hour drive west of Paris, or maybe a ferry trip across the ditch from Portsmouth to Le Havre, then over the spectacular Pont de Normandie (the sixth largest cable-stayed bridge in the world), Honfleur is comfortably within reach. We travelled up from Bayeux and the D-Day beaches, entered from the south, meandering down the hill into the village, stopping only to park our car at our B&B, before walking down to the old town. Centred on the 17th century Le Vieux Bassin, the charming old dock at the heart of the town, four and five storey wood or slate fronted buildings, then smaller stone buildings encroach on the cobblestone lanes that surrounds the harbour, restaurants around the edges …

A Pictorial Tour, Part two.

Here are the second batch of photos from our trip, again in no particular order.   A commemoration and a tribute to the sacrifices made! The Abbey, Mont St. Michel. Almost expect a ‘Quidditch’ game to appear overhead!! Lisbon. The Baixo district was the only flat part, surrounded by hills. The very spectacular Sagrada Familia, probably the best building I’ve ever had the pleasure to enter. Pintxos, San Sebastian. Chateau Chambord, Loire Valley. The Loire is full of Chateaux great and small…this is the greatest! Kids fun in Honfleur, Normandy. Opera Garnier, Paris. Haunt of the Phantom of the Opera! Arguably the most famous church in Europe, the majestic Notre Dame, Paris. Amboise Chateau, Loire Valley. Perched high above the river and town, protecting all. Tuk-tuk’s in Lisbon Jeff Koon installation at the Guggenheim, Bilbao. Veules-des-Roses, Normandy Place de la Bourse, on the cover of all Bordeaux brochures. Santillana del Mar, Spain. Most restaurants featured fixed price menu’s similar to this one. The Cathedral at Bayeux, Normandy Etretat, again! The tragic, haunting silence of Oradour-sur-Glane Plaza de …

A Pictorial Tour, part one!

On our recent trip to Spain, Portugal and France we took an obscene number of photo’s which took forever to edit once we got home. After natural selection got rid of about 700 of them, we were left with about 1400 images of varying degrees of quality and/or interest. Here, in no particular order are a few of our favourites. La Boqueria market, Barcelona. The best thing about La Ramblas, a wonderful, diverse marketplace. Chateau Chenonceau, Loire Valley. The valley is full of Chateau’s and this is as stunning as they come. Amboise Chateau. Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial. A moving tribute to the brutality of war. Paris. Still the best city we have visited, could spend months here and not get bored. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. Truly the best museum experience ever! L’Abbey Fontevraud, Loire Valley. Atmospheric, moody, haunting…and the best meal of our trip. Livrarian Lello & Irmao, Porto. How good is this bookshop? More tourist attraction than viable business…they should charge admission, just don’t tell them! Juno Beach, Normandy. B&W suits the somber …