Tag - paris


First and foremost, we’d like to express a big thanks to our faithful readers for submitting their suggestions for the ‘Uncharted 101 – Bucket List of Destinations’ for 2015. We’ve selected 12 locations and highlighted why you should travel there this year.

Go ahead and print out the list, put it up on your fridge and start planning your vacation(s) for the year. If you travel to one of the destinations on our bucket list during 2015, then we’d definitely love to hear from you!

JANUARY – Taos, New Mexico, USA

Taos Sky Valley, Credit- skitaos.org

Taos Sky Valley, Credit- skitaos.org

Taos is great any time of year, but why not hit the slopes in the Taos Ski Valley this season? Take the lift to Kachina Peak, which rises 12,481 feet above the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and experience one of North America’s ideal terrain for skiing and snowboarding on 110 trails. Taos boasts 300 inches of annual snowfall and just as many pristine days with beautiful sunshine.

FEBRUARY – Cook Straight, New Zealand

Cook Strait, Credit picton.co.nz

Cook Strait, Credit picton.co.nz

The journey by ferry across the Cook Straight covers 43 miles in waters that are famously unpredictable. When crossing between Picton and Wellington, you will not only admire the picturesque seascape at the tips of the North and South Islands, but you may also spot local marine life, such as dolphins and whales. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see directly across this beautiful Straight.

MARCH – The Fjords of Norway

Northern lights, Credit flicker

Northern Lights, Credit flicker

Norway’s breathtaking landscape draped in winter is another illustration of Mother Nature outdoing herself. Sail along a dramatic coastline and discover the beauty of the country’s famed fjords. At night, cast your gaze skyward to the heavens that become a canvas for the colored wisps of the Northern Lights. 

APRIL – Mompox, Colombia

Samana Santa, Credit-notibarranquilla.com

Semana Santa, Credit-notibarranquilla.com

The world heritage site of Mompox first celebrated Holy Week, or Semana Santa, in 1574, and has continued with the traditions of integrating Catholic customs and the religious elements of the region ever since. The highlight of the processions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday is by the Nazarenes, who take two steps forward and one step back in a rhythmic march through the city’s streets.

MAY – The Azores, Portugal

Whale watching, Credit-express.co.uk

Whale watching, Credit-express.co.uk

The eight-island archipelago in the eastern Atlantic is a nature-lover’s paradise and a top destination for whale watching. Sperm whales, bottlenose and common dolphins are regular residents throughout the year, but in mid-spring you can also spot humpbacks, orcas and blue whales among others. For a thrill of a lifetime, arrange to swim with dolphins in the cobalt blue ocean.

JUNE – Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Wilderbeast crossing, Credit-www.masaimaranationalpark.org

Wilderbeast crossing, Credit-www.masaimaranationalpark.org

Safari means ‘journey’ in Kiswahili, and that’s what you should do in June. Over one million wildebeast, along with herds of zebra and gazelle, reach the Western Corridor of the Serengeti and congregate at the series of pools and channels of the Grumeti River—crocodiles included. However, the animals still have their greatest challenge ahead of them when they must cross the Mara River in September.

JULY – Alaska Marine Hwy Ferry, Alaska, USA

Alaska Marine Highway, Credit-alaskatrekker.com

Alaska Marine Highway, Credit-alaskatrekker.com

Alaska’s coastline is one of the most striking in North America, and what better way to admire its beauty than to sail along its shores. You can travel either north or southbound and choose to stop and stay at any of the 33 different ports of call the Alaska Marine Hwy Ferry offers along its 3,500-mile route. You may also book a cabin on board or simply sleep on deck under the stars.

AUGUST – Igauzú Falls, Argentina /Iguaçu Falls, Brazil

Igauzú Falls

Igauzú Falls

Allow at least two days to cherish the sheer wonder of these 275 individual, majestic falls that line a 1.7-mile gorge. Hike the Upper and Lower Circuits on the Argentinian side, all the while experiencing the flora and fauna and the falls up-close. You’ll have a spectacular panorama from the Brazilian side, with the most memorable being the view of the 262-foot drop of the Devil’s Throat.

SEPTEMBER – Eilat, Israel

Eliat, Credit-holypostcard.com

Eliat, Credit-holypostcard.com

September and October are great months to go diving in the Gulf of Aqaba—it’s quieter and not as hot as in summer. Many of the dive sites are just off Eilat’s shore, and the average visibility range is 131 feet, with little to no current. Snorkeling is another great option to appreciate the stunning reefs and marine life from Coral Beach to the Egyptian border.

OCTOBER – Berlin, Germany

Reichstag, Berlin

Reichstag, Berlin

October 3, 2015, marks the 25th anniversary of a reunified Germany. Since the German parliament, or Bundestag, moved to the Reichstag in Berlin in 1999, over 34 million people have come to visit this historical building. Its glass dome, designed by Sir Norman Foster, is certainly the focal point,  providing a perfect view of the sprawling capital and the parliament chamber itself directly below.

NOVEMBER – Goa, India

Diwali festival, Credit- integritytravel.in

Diwali Festival, Credit- integritytravel.in

The monsoon has faded into memory, the ocean waters are calm and the day’s temperature is just right. It’s also the month to experience the Hindu Diwali Festival of Lights in 2015. To commemorate the victory of light over darkness, shimmering illumination and dazzling fireworks, vibrant colors and the aroma of delicious food fill the city in this five-day festival to celebrate the good in life.

DECEMBER – Paris, France

Champs Elysees, Credit-hooplaha.com

Champs Elysees, Credit-hooplaha.com

End the year in Paris when it lives up to its name as the City of Lights. The Champs-Élysees drips in luminescence, building façades emanate a warm radiance, and designers transform department store display windows into whimsical Holiday worlds. Indulge in some retail therapy in Europe’s fashion capital by day, then revel in the yuletide cheer of Christmas markets by night.

10 Best Destinations to Travel in Your Lifetime

Are you looking to go to someplace this holiday season that offers you much more than just plain water activities, wonderful cities and some sightseeing opportunities? Are you planning a vacation to a place where you could get the opportunity to experience wildlife, snowcapped mountains, exotic animals, rainforests and so on. There are a number of best places to travel throughout the world. There are many places which are historic and many which are entertaining. However, there are also numerous places which have been designed to give visitors the most fantastic and marvelous views of the globe. Here is a list of 10 best places to travel in your lifetime even if it just once!

The Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef, acfonline.org.au

Great Barrier Reef, acfonline.org.au

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the best travel places in Australia. There is a huge range of biodiversity that is supported by this reef. This coral reef ecosystem is made up of living organisms and supports well over 10,000 species which includes 1500 different kinds of fish. Some of the species that are found on this reef includes the dwarf minke whale, humpback dolphin, olive ridley turtle, flatback turtle, salt water crocodiles and many more. Together with this, there are also a wide range of birds found on this reef. The Great Barrier Reef is situated off the Queensland coast and is the largest coral reef in the whole world. It is really fascinating and those who love diving and snorkeling would find this destination to be among the best of the best.

The Great Wall of China

Great wall of China

Great wall of China

The Great Wall of China stretches well over 4000 miles. It was initially built to protect China from invaders. But now, it is a hot tourist destination and one of the most famous places to visit in Asia. This historic place is visited by around 12-16 million tourists each year.

Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China

Temple of Heaven- Wikipedia

Temple of Heaven- Wikipedia

This is a series of buildings which were built around the 15th century. This temple is so magnificent and it also represents some of the finest Chinese architectural works of the ancient times. Spiritually speaking, these structures represent the special tie between the earth and heaven. Close to 12 million tourists visit this historic site every year.

The Beautiful City of Paris

Paris, France

Paris, France

Paris is such a charming place to visit that anyone can fall in love with it. People of this city are stylish and no matter at what time of the year you visit this lovely city, you will always find it enchanting and alive. Eiffel tower is one of the most famous places that this city can boast of. Together with this, there are numerous iconic attractions that will just keep any visitor captivated.

The Peak of Africa: Cape Town

Table Mountain Cape Town

Table Mountain Cape Town

Cape Town, which is situated right at the peak of the African Continent, is one of the best places to travel for vacation. Here, you will get a chance to experience a unique range of scenic national surroundings and multicultural lifestyles on your own. This travel destination is filled with tourists during the summer who come to enjoy its hot weather, beautiful scenery and sunny beaches. Being one of the best places in the world, it is often crowded with tourists and therefore it is always important to make prior reservations before visiting.

The Land of Smiles: Thailand

    Phi Phi Thailand

Phi Phi Thailand

Thailand is also one of the best travel places in Asia. It is in fact a country where tourism is the chief support of the economy. Thailand is quite a safe and beautiful place if you choose it as a tourist destination. The people here are friendly and this is the reason this country has been given the name “The Land of Smiles.” There are many popular travel places that can be enjoyed here including the ancient temples, panoramic beaches, bustling cities, picturesque riversides and much more.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Niagara Falls, Canadian side

This is the most famous waterfalls in the world and a popular tourist attraction. The Niagara Falls has majestic beauty which is beyond comparison and is a great site for nature lovers. Here, you can also take cruise rides if you want to experience the natural wonder closely. At this location, you will surely be collecting some great memories to take back home.

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Welcome sign

Las Vegas Welcome sign

Even though most people do not consider Las Vegas among the typical types of spring beach locations, the area has a lot to offer in nightlife and budget friendly deals. One of the reasons Las Vegas is among the best destinations to travel pertains to how there is an assortment of ages within the area. Therefore, if you do not want to be confined to hanging out with only college aged students. In general, Las Vegas limits students only according to their imagination. Ultimately, the area consists of so many places to go and things to do. Some of the main attractions, consists of their shows, gambling, clubbing, and more.

The South Island of New Zealand

Queenstown, Credit-tripadvisor

Queenstown, Credit-tripadvisor

This part of New Zealand is known for large beach forests, broad plains, golden sandy beaches, spectacular fjords and is characterized by impressive open landscapes. The south Island is one of the best places to travel in your lifetime because it attracts thousands of people. It has 10 national parks which incorporate lakes, fjords, coastlines, world heritage sites, superior hiking tracks, native forests and glaciers.

The Tiny Dot of Indian Ocean

    Gorgeous Mauritius Cr: boatbookings.com

Gorgeous Mauritius Cr: boatbookings.com

Mauritius ranks at the top of the platform for what is the best beach destination in the Indian Ocean. The general weather conditions of Mauritius are such that anyone from any part of the world could enjoy themselves as they visit Mauritius. Mauritius is situated very close to the tropic of Capricorn and that is why the heat during the summer never reaches extremes and you can easily endure it while enjoying the fun of the trip to Mauritius. Mauritius is surrounded by coral reefs and beautiful beaches that will ma

Mount Tai in China

Mount Tai is not far from the Tai’an City and is considered as one of the scared mountains to Taoism. These Mounts attract millions of people every year and there are many who also climb the 7000 steps to make their way right to the top of the mountain which is the Azure Clouds Temple.

 Mount Tai

Mount Tai


Finally, trains, buses, ships, airplanes, cars, even your own two feet can get you sooner or later to your perfect destination. No matter if you embark on just another trip to the same place or on the journey of your life-time, travel with your heart light and open to discover and fall in love again or for the first time with all the places encountered!

The Easiest Ways To Get From London To Paris



There are several options for people to get themselves from London to Paris. While driving is usually the most frequently chosen option there are others as well. Here are some of the easiest ways to travel from London into Paris.


The Eurostar train can get someone from London to Paris in 2 ½ hours. This train starts in the St. Pancras Station in London and its final destination is Paris’s Gare du Nord. With both train stations being in the heart of their respective cities, the Eurostar is a great way for tourists to see both. Any passenger taking this train must arrive 30 minutes prior to their train’s scheduled departure time and is required to have their luggage pass through a metal detector for security reasons. The streamlined shape of this train allows it to pass through the Eurotunnel at a speed of 100 miles per hour. The train provides a smooth ride free of the sound most other trains make while in motion.


    France Dover-ferry

France Dover-ferry

Those who are looking to have a long, leisurely trip to Paris from London can always take the ferry. This is a more expensive option than the Eurostar but is desirable to tourists who want to see as much of the area as possible. The journey is a very scenic experience and eliminates the need to travel through the underwater tunnel of the English Channel. From London it is necessary to take the train to the ferry in order to get to Paris.


If someone needs to get to Paris from London quickly they have the option of flying if they would rather not take the train. Many U.K. airlines offer cheap and frequent flights between London and Paris.

iDBUS London to Paris



Taking the iDBUS to get from London to Paris is an easy and popular choice. Passengers are able to choose the iDBUS coach travel they wish to take part in. These buses depart many times per day and run every day of the week. The bus ticket prices are fixed so whether a person buys their ticket days in advance or hours in advance they will pay the same amount of money. The price of a bus ticket is dependent upon when a person is looking to travel as opposed to where they are looking to travel to. Making reservations on this bus entitles passengers to check one bag and carry one bag with them on the bus. On-board services are available to passengers, such as power outlets and free wifi. The bus leaves from the Victoria Coach Station and travels to the Paris-Bercy Station.



No matter how an individual chooses to travel from London to Paris they will enjoy their commute. With so many transportation choices everyone can find the service that fits their needs the best. Having several different ways to get from London to Paris is very convenient for both locals and tourists from around the world.

The AVF – A Helping Hand for Foreigners in France

Eiffel Tower, Cr-wikipedia

Eiffel Tower, Cr-wikipedia

Janine Lea-Oesi,

Moving to Paris for work? Don’t speak French? Find the bureaucracy daunting? The AVF rolls out a welcome mat.

Not everyone comes to Paris as a tourist. In line with the cosmopolitan nature of the city many people relocate here for work and I have met many people over the past two years who are here on work contracts of one sort or another and for varying amounts of time. Some are European Union citizens, some are Americans or other non-European nationals sent here by their employers, some are married to French nationals but are themselves nationals of another country. Regardless of their origins, these people all have one thing in common: they want to acquire a reasonable working knowledge of the French language and they want to integrate as best they can into their new environment. These people are positive and dynamic and have something to contribute.

What is the AVF?

The AVF, short for Accueil des villes françaises, was founded in 1975 to help people relocating integrate into their new environment. ‘Accueil’ means ‘welcome’ in French and the idea was to make the transition from one place to another as stress-free as possible and to offer newcomers not only practical advice but a range of social and cultural activities as well. It is a French organisation and has offices throughout the country.

What does the AVF offer Anglophones?

In a nutshell: French and France! French conversation is offered on a weekly basis. These are not formal classes, but rather friendly gatherings at the homes of the respective conveners. Activities range from playing scrabble in French to reading, writing simple sentences and of course speaking. Even if you already have some French this is an activity that will help you improve on it. And of course it wouldn’t be French if the session didn’t end with cake and tea/coffee! I first joined in 2008 and still go along, although more now for the friendship and fun rather than just the language. In fact I got in touch with the AVF even before moving to Paris, such is the value of the internet.

Cinema evenings

These are offered on the first and third Thursday of the month. The cinema is a real culture in France and films are always seen in their original version so English films will be sub-titled in French. Again, this is another wonderful way to learn the language.

Other activities

The AVF offers many activities: walking, cooking classes, wine appreciation, knitting and crochet, book club (French and foreign), bridge, scrabble, theatre and cultural outings both within and outside Paris.


Consult the website Acceuil des villes françaises for the office closest to the city you are moving to. In Paris, the AVF is organised according to arrondissements so you simply need to find the one closest to where you live.

Stress-free Planning Tips for a Parisian Getaway

Notre Dam de Paris

Notre Dam de Paris

by Cami Krein,

As exciting as it is, planning a trip to Paris can be stressful. What if your hotel is too far from the iconic sights? Where can you get a taste of the storied French cuisine without spending a fortune? Is the coffee really as bad as everyone says it is? Don’t let the details overwhelm you. Here are four tips to help you plan a trip to the French capital without the stress:

Book Early

Book all travel plans as early as possible to get the best price on tickets and avoid using up all of your budget on pricey fares. AOL Travel notes that another reason to book early is because it helps to kick-start travel planning and get the ball rolling for booking accommodations and planning the trip itinerary.

Get Travel Apps

Take advantage of technology and download a few travel apps to help plan and organize your trip. European travel guru Rick Steves’ Audio Europe app (free) features four audio tours in Paris for popular sites such as the Louvre and the Orsay, as well as travel advice for numerous other European cities. The Metro Paris Subway app ($1.99) is handy for those who want help navigating the notoriously confusing Paris metro system.

Check in on everything at home via your home security system through the system’s web app. If you have a remote access system, found online LifeShield.com, you can stream video from home using the LifeView app (free). Keep all of your travel arrangements and lists of must-see attractions organized with a note-taking app like Evernote (free) where you can store trips detail and access them offline.

Learn the Arrondissements

Understanding the arrondissement system is essential to help you get around the city, but it’s equally important to understand it before booking your accommodations. The arrondissement system dates back to 1795 when the city was divided into 12 administrative districts. It was updated to the present-day system of 20 arrondissements by Napoleon III in 1860. Numbered one to 20, they start in the center of Paris and spiral away from the center in a clockwise direction. Learning this system can make it easier to determine what part of town to stay in. Here are some of the most-popular arrondissements to stay in and their famous sights:

  • Arrondissement 1: The Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Royal Palace, Forum des Halles
  • Arrondissement 4: The Marais district, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Place de Vosges, Centre Pompidou
  • Arrondissement 5: The Latin Quarter, Pantheon, Jardin des Plantes, Cluny Museum, Sorbonne
  • Arrondissement 6: Jardin de Luxembourg, Saint-Germain des Pres
  • Arrondissement 7: The Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay, Musee Rodin, Invalides
  • Arrondissement 8: Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Grand Palais, Place de la Concorde
  • Arrondissement 18: Montmartre, Sacre-Coeur, Moulin Rouge
Consider Alternative Lodging

While Paris is home to numerous world-class hotels such as the Plaza Athenee, George V and the Ritz Paris, many travelers on a budget find apartment rentals to be a more affordable way to stay. By renting an apartment, you can usually get more space for less money than in affordably-priced hotels.

In a city famous for its food, budget-conscious travelers also appreciate having a small kitchen of their own to prepare goods from plentiful local markets. Home Away and AirBNB are two websites you can use to find affordable Parisian apartments.

Spring’s Most Inspiring Photograph Locations

by Deborah Clark,

Ask any artist: the search for inspiration is constant. For photographers, a new breed of inspirational beauty comes with every season. We love the clean crisp winters and warm colors of fall, but nothing sparks a creative eye like the vibrant allure of springtime. While the entire world comes alive, there are some places that truly embrace the spring season. Turn your camera’s lens to these locations to capture the magic.

Newark, New Jersey

Most people think of Washington, D.C., when they imagine the famous fragrant cherry blossoms. In a recent segment on NPR, Branch Brook Park in Newark, N.J., was featured for its jaw-dropping inventory of the tiny white and pink spring flowers. Not only does Newark hold more of the trees than Washington, D.C., they are No. 1 in the world for cherry blossom tree varieties. Once a grim depleted place, Branch Brook Park now receives thousands of tourists each spring viewing and taking photos of the beautiful flowering fields.

Branch Brook Park (public domain photo via Wikimedia)

Tuscany, Italy

Vineyard in Tuscany

Vineyard in Tuscany

Visiting Tuscany is like stepping back in time. The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany exudes old-world culture and beauty. This time of year, the tourism crowds haven’t quite taken over and the farmlands are full of life. Italian towns hold plenty of spring festivals that celebrate age-old traditions and medieval novelty, such as the Festa del Grillo and Scoppio del Carro in Florence.

Tuscany in May (Photo credit: Guido Haeger via Wikimedia)

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam canals

Amsterdam canals

The weather in the spring is still cool and the smell of blooming gardens fill the air. While Amsterdam is arguably a perfect landscape year round, springtime is exceptional. May is full of festivals and special occasions, such as National Cycling Day and National Windmill Day. The multitude of tulips in every color imaginable are available in markets all over the city. If it’s still not quite enough for you, the Keukenhof Gardens showcase more than seven million daffodils, tulips and hyacinths across 32 acres of nothing but flowers. View the garden’s website for a list of spring flower shows through April and May.

Amsterdam in May (Photo credit: Patrick Clenet via Wikimedia)

Paris, France

Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg

The City of Lights is always a photographer’s dream, but when spring rolls around the city is almost surreal. Classic European architecture, street-side cafes, remarkable city monuments and romantic cliches around every corner— if that’s not enough to get your creative juices flowing, nothing will. Many famous gardens surrounding the city abound with seasonal blooms, such as the 60-acre 15th-century Jardin du Luxembourg. The near-perfect weather brings out tourists and locals alike to pepper the streets of Paris with springtime cheerfulness.

Jardin du Luxembourg and Luxembourg Palace (Photo credit: Rdevany at en.wikipedia)

Victoria Falls, Zambia/ Zimbabwe

Of course any photographer would leap at the chance to capture an image of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This time of year, Victoria Falls is more wonderful and awe-inspiring than usual. The rainy season ends in early April, according to Mother Nature Network, leaving the mile-wide waterfall with an earth-shaking rush of clear water. To get the best shots of Victoria Falls and the connecting Zambezi River, helicopter tours can be booked for stunning aerial views.

Victoria Falls in April (Photo credit: Wikimedia)

Hôtel Nissim Camondo – Museums in Paris

Hotel Nissim Camondo-Cr-flicker

Hotel Nissim Camondo-Cr-flicker

by Janine Lea-Oesi,

Once the home of the Camondo family of bankers, this museum houses a collection of 18th century French art and offers a glimpse of life in the 19th century. Like the musée de la Vie Romantique and Musée Marmottan-Monet, the Hôtel Camondo was once a private residence.
It belonged to the Camondo family who were forced to flee Spain during the years of the Inquisition. The family subsequently established itself in Turkey, Italy and France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The first generation were bankers: Isaac Camondo established a bank in Istanbul in 1802, which passed to his brother Abraham in 1832. In Italy the family contributed financially to the reunification of the country and was rewarded in 1867 with noble status (they would henceforth be counts) by king Victor Emmanuel II.

Abraham’s grandsons, the brothers Abraham-Behor and Nissim, moved to France in 1868, where they set up house next door to each other in two mansions in rue de Monceau, overlooking park Monceau, in the 8th arrondissement of the city. When Abraham and Nissim died, their sons, the cousins Isaac and Moïse, inherited their respective properties, although Moïse demolished his house in 1911 and replaced it with a much more modern edifice (the present Hôtel).

The family’s Paris bank was involved in the economic development of Turkey and in lending to the French state (much like the Rothchilds) and continued in existence until 1917 when Moïse closed it down after the death of his son Nissim, who was killed in aerial combat during World War I at the age of twenty-five. Moïse died in 1935, his daughter Béatrice his only descendant.

Tragic end to an illustrious family

The family was Jewish and during the German occupation of France, Béatrice, her husband Léon Reinach, and their two children, Fanny and Bertrand, the family’s only remaining members, were sent to Auschwitz. Tragically, like so many, they never returned. Béatrice and her daughter were arrested in Paris and her husband and son in the south of France, as they were attempting to escape to Spain. Initially they were all held at Drancy. Léon, Fanny and Bertrand were deported in November, 1943 and Béatrice in March,1944.

The Hôtel today

Isaac and his cousin Moïse were avid and knowledgeable collectors. Whilst Isaac was more interested in the Far East, eighteenth century France and the Impressionists (the Louvre houses a large part of his collection), Moïse busied himself almost exclusively with the decorative arts of the French eighteenth century. The Hôtel is a wonderful testimony to this, housing as it does arguably the most complete collection of artefacts in existence from this period.

Moïse was also passionate about the ‘mod cons’ of the day and had a lift, telephones, flushing toilets and electricity installed. Although the house has the appearance of cut stone, it is actually built of concrete. Wanting to perpetuate the memory of his father, Count Nissim de Camondo, and his son, the pilot Nissim de Camondo, Moïse bequeathed the house and its collections to the Musée des Arts Decoratifs upon his death in 1935.

Visiting the Hôtel

This is a fascinating museum and it is not difficult to imagine the day-to-day life of its occupants, as one wanders from room to room. I was as struck by the modernity of the kitchen and bathrooms (not to mention the lift and dumb-waiter) as I was by the seeming discomfort of the sofas of the time, with their narrow, overstuffed seats and rigid, straight backs! But, as another visitor pointed out, when one considers the way people of this particular social class dressed at the time, the modern, softer couches that we are used to today just wouldn’t have suited at all.

Apart from the kitchen, office, laundry and staff dining room on the ground floor, the three apartments occupied by Moïse de Camondo and his two children, Nissim and Béatrice, have been fully restored. One of the loveliest rooms, the formal dining room, overlooks park Monceau, alive with birdsong even in winter. Our guide told us that there is a possibility that the higher floors will be open to the public in the future and I certainly hope this is the case.

Getting there

The Hôtel Camondo is located at 63, rue de Monceau, in the 8th district of Paris. If you take the metro, line 3, get out at stop Monceau, walk across the park and then turn left for the street. If you are going by bus, lines 81 and 43 will get you there. It is a beautiful part of the city.

Patisserie – Mariage Frères

    Mariage Frères tea salon, Cr-postcardsfromtheair

Mariage Frères tea salon, Cr-postcardsfromtheair

by Janine Lea-Oesi,

The tea salons of Mariage Frères – masters of the art of French tea – are a mecca for tea connoisseurs the world over.
In the Anglo-Saxon world tea is almost exclusively associated with the British and India but rarely with the French. This is a rather unfortunate accident of history as tea, like wine, holds an honored place at the French table and this in no small part thanks to the Mariage family, who have taken it well beyond the status of a mere drink, elevating it to heights of refinement that only the French seem able to do. The family were merchants in the 17th century and belonged to one of the six main merchant groups in the city, each of which enjoyed royal patronage. Jean-François Mariage and his four sons continued the business in Lille in the 18th century and in 1854 the brothers, Édouard and Henri, founded the business that has evolved into the present-day Mariage Frères. Initially wholesale tea merchants, they only started selling to the general public in the 1980s.

The tea salons

A Mariage Frères tea salon is truly a delight for the senses and the appetite! The five shops in Paris are located in the Marais, at the Carrousel du Louvre, the Madeleine, the 6th arrondissement and at Étoile (rue Faubourg St Honoré, near the Salle Pleyel). Nothing is hurried here. From the colonial decor and the white-linen clad waiters, to the wonderful colors and smells of the merchandise, everything conspires to beckon the visitor to take his time and sample the best of the best. Not only is there a myriad (over five hundred varieties) of deliciously different teas on offer, as well as tea-based cuisine, jams and confectionery, but the presence of small tea museums in some of their shops, displaying a fascinating array of objects associated with the art of making fine tea, invite one into the past to share the history of tea and the Mariage family’s three centuries long association with it.

I went to the shop in the rue Faubourg St Honoré, accompanied by a wonderfully Francophile Japanese friend who told me he was familiar with the Frères shop in Tokyo. Even though it was near closing time (we were going to a concert at the nearby Salle Pleyel) we were never hurried and the waiter was both helpful and attentive, but without being overly so. My problem was choice. With so much on offer I simply didn’t know where to start. The waiter’s solution: choose the patisserie first, and allow him to make the appropriate suggestions for the tea. This worked out very well.

Is it value for money?

Mariage Frères is not cheap and you can expect to pay around 18€ for a pot of tea and a patisserie. That being said, the servings are extremely generous and you get a very large pot of tea, brewed to perfection. The impeccable service and refined surroundings only add to the experience.

Musée de la Vie Romantique – Paris

Musee de la romanesque, cr-www.baudelet.net

Musee de la romantique, cr-www.baudelet.net

by Janine Lea-Oesi,

It doesn’t have the grandeur of the Louvre, but this charming little museum in the 9th arrondissement of Paris is definitely worth a visit. This charming museum, with its adjoining tea-room and garden, can be found in the 9th arrondissement at 16 (formerly 7) rue Chaptal.

The building housing the museum was once a private residence. Built by property speculators in 1811, when the population of Paris was rapidly expanding, the painter Ary Scheffer, of Dutch origin, and his family were the first to move into it. Scheffer was an exponent of the Romantic school of painting. Not long after moving in, he added two studios to the house, which are today used to house temporary exhibitions.

The next thirty years saw not only Scheffer’s rise to fame, principally as a portrait painter, but also witnessed the success of his studio as a meeting-place for the most renowned figures in the arts of his day. Delacroix, George Sand, Chopin, Liszt, Rossini and Dickens – these luminaries and others all once trod the well-worn path that today welcomes the curious visitor.

Scheffer’s studio was not only a mecca for the well-known. It also housed the work of artists rejected by the prestigious Paris Salon and was a ‘safe-house’ for part of the art collection belonging to the exiled royal family.

After the artist’s death in 1858 the house had a somewhat mixed history. In 1870-71 it was used as a hospital and it wasn’t until 1899, under the direction of Scheffer’s great niece, Noémi Renan-Psichari, that it once again became a meeting-place for well-known figures in the world of the arts, a situation that endured well into the 1950s, when the property was sold to the French state.

Musée de la Vie Romantique Today

To visit the museum today is truly to go back in time. The two-story house is set well back from the street, at the end of a pretty treed path, and has a distinct country feel to it. As entrance to the permanent collections is free, there is an informality to a visit here that one rarely finds in larger museums. Upon reaching the house, it is simply a matter of walking up the front steps, opening the door and entering.

The first floor houses a permanent collection devoted to George Sand with many of her personal items and paintings on display. As one browses the exhibits it is not difficult to imagine the world of those who once lived here. The second floor houses paintings by the Scheffer brothers.

After your visit be sure to treat yourself to tea in the tea-house adjoining the museum!

Museums in Paris – Maison de Balzac

Museums in Paris - Maison de Balzac

Museums in Paris – Maison de Balzac

by Janine Lea-Oesi,

If you love literature you should definitely add Balzac’s house to your list of things to see next time you visit the French capital.

Balzac’s house at 47 rue Raynouard, together with that of the painter Ary Scheffer which houses George Sand memorabilia, and Victor Hugo’s house in the Place des Vosges, is one of the three principal literary museums in Paris. Like the museum Monet-Marmottan, Balzac’s house is tucked away in the city’s 16th arrondissement. However, whereas the latter two museums were once elegant townhouses, Balzac’s house, in reality an apartment within a larger edifice, is far more modest. Indeed, when Balzac occupied the property – from 1840 to 1847 – Passy, as the area was then known, was a village, only being incorporated into the city of Paris in 1860. Several people have told me that the distance from the center of the city was attractive to Balzac for two reasons: it made it harder for his creditors to find him and provided him with a peaceful writing environment.

What to expect on your visit

The museum is open from 10h00-18h00 every day except Monday and public holidays. (Note that the ticket office closes at 17h30). Entry is at garden level, just below the street. I was pleasantly surprised to find I wasn’t at the end of a queue, although I did go on a Saturday morning which may have had something to do with it. The rooms on this level once served as Balzac’s kitchen, spare room, living room, bedroom and study. The latter is a well-documented room and contains his original writing desk whilst the other rooms are given over to his personal memorabilia, large numbers of manuscripts and illustrations, paintings and engravings. The rooms on the first floor house temporary exhibitions as well as sculptures of Balzac done by, amongst others, Alexandre Falguière and Rodin (these are in fact part of the permanent collection).

For the writers amongst us, the two most interesting exhibits will undoubtedly be the very large display of written manuscripts, corrected by Balzac himself, as well as the genealogies of the nearly three hundred characters he created in La Comédie humaine, his work depicting French life after the fall of Napoleon in 1815. Balzac apparently set himself a gruelling writing schedule, getting up at midnight and working through until five o’clock the following day, breaking only for lunch and dinner. Not surprisingly, this took a toll on his health, whichwas never very robust, and he died at a relatively young fifty-one.

Getting there

The 16th arrondissement is on the outskirts of Paris but it is well-served by public transport Take either metro line 6 and get off at Passy or line 9 and alight at La Muette. For the bus, lines 32, 50, 70 and 72 are the best. You can also cycle using the city’s Vélib system.

Sources: Maison de Balzac

Hotel review – Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera, Paris, France

Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera, Paris- Gare de Lyon, Paris

Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera, Paris- Gare de Lyon, Paris

If you are the kind of traveler that thinks staying at a Motel 6 or Super 8 is roughing it, Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera in the Bastille district of Paris is not for you. From my standpoint, there is nothing wrong with it: it is a small, fairly clean, inexpensive place with really friendly and helpful staff (not at all uncommon among small Parisian hotels).

My husband and I stayed there for a week and very much enjoyed the place. Being in a very non-tourist area made us feel more a part of the local scene. Then again, we have also enjoyed pitching a tent on solid frozen ground at 2 a.m. at the Grand Tetons. We have also traveled to Paris with one 22-inch rollerboard and a small backpack each. If you consider yourself any higher maintenance than that, do not stay at Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera. You’ll just be uncomfortable and end up writing a lousy review for it and ruining it for the more adventurous types.

Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera is located in the middle of a living, breathing middle-class Parisian neighborhood. There are no large restaurants, no designer stores, definitely no silly tourist places selling little Eiffel towers and “I heart Paris” t-shirts. Avenue Ledru Rollin, where the hotel is located, is lined with apartment buildings of every architectural style, small grocery stores where you can pop in for a bottle of Orangina at 2 o’clock in the morning, home decorating and remodeling stores, clothing shops of every size and price range, and – in the great Parisian tradition of making sure you don’t starve – bistros, brasseries, patisseries and boulangeries every fifty paces or so.

With the address smack dab in the middle of a bustling neighborhood, the hotel owners did a really good job sound-proofing the place. So, if you feel like you’ve had enough of the “bustling” part, just shut the window. If it gets too warm in the room (the heating is via an old-fashioned radiator), and you have to re-open the window to the busy street …well …just deal with it. The rooms and the bathrooms are tidy, but small with limited storage space, so conservative packing is a must.

If you are planning to visit Paris not just to visit the regular attractions, but to explore the city and immerse yourself into the local culture – this place is for you! There are three or four metro stations within walking distance (and if you are like me, you understand that the walking distance in France is not the same as in America). Learn to navigate the metro – and it will take you anywhere you want within Paris city limits. Or, if you wish to go further, you can take a stroll to Gare de Lyon – a kind of Grand Central Station of Paris, a glorious old building, whose opulent facade hides a convergence of train lines running to all corners of France.

The food in the area is fantastic, and there is every kind imaginable to be had. In addition to a dozen or so boulangeries and patisseries within a one-mile radius, the Bastille district boasts enough ethnic restaurants to represent if not every country, then at least every major political region on Earth. A Japanese sushi place peacefully co-exists with an Indian restaurant on one side and a small Thai food window on the other, with an Irish pub (complete with Guinness beer) and an American Subway across the street. To find the best places to eat, make a point of watching the locals. That was how we discovered a fantastic boulangerie within a five-minute walk from the hotel – there was a line out the door near it every morning, so we joined in and ended up having breakfast there for the rest of our vacation.

While the Bastille district is not as favored by tourists as, say, Montparnasse or Champs Elysee, wondering around and window shopping is just as much fun – the window displays are still beautiful and stylish regardless of the size of the establishment or the price of its wares. Do not be mislead by the narrow store windows – where they cannot get breadth, Parisian shop owners go for depth, so a store that appears small on the outside, it may go the depth of an entire building.

In short: if you like to travel light, definitely consider Grand Hotel Nouvel Opera as your Parisian home-away-from-home. You’ll sleep comfortably, eat well and have plenty to see.

Shakespeare & Company Bookshop, Paris

Shakespeare & Company , Cr Wikipedia

Shakespeare & Company , Cr Wikipedia

by Tracey Marie Walker,

An Independent Parisian Bookshop That Still Thrives

Shakespeare and Company bookshop is a literary center in Paris. It attracts both published and aspiring writers, as well as the general reading public. Large bookshops and Internet ordering have reorganized the way we buy and sell books, meaning independent bookshops struggle to survive. The Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris, however, remains a time warp that works. As well as storing the histories and works of firmly established writers of the past, Shakespeare and Company hosts events to inspire and develop new writers, artists and musicians. Equally, they sell a range of books to cater for mainstream, academic and plain nostalgic readers.

A Warm Welcome

A message to all visitors is found painted upon the wall: ‘be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be an angel is disguise’. A rousing message that adds to the magic found lacking in chain stores. As visitors look around the shop, they can see the philosophy firmly at work. Expats, tourists and locals can be seen perusing the books on the more modern ground floor. Charmingly, a piano and stool is placed by the art and music books for the free use of all. There are no rules. This is a place of creative expression. Regardless of talent, music is heard echoing through the wooden shelves. If a reader is lucky, a beautiful piece will pierce the words on the page and carry them to the realms of emotion and imagination.

A tight wooden staircase leads to the first floor. Aside from the children’s section, books here are not for sale. They belong to the personal library of the eccentric and renowned owner, George Whitman. Visitors are welcome to browse the books and sit in the shop all day. In fact, George believes we should all strive to read a book a day. In the center of the room stands a heavy, antique table donning an old fashioned type-writer. Proving that visitors are not entering a museum of days gone by, these too are continuously open for public use. The heavy clicking of strenuous typing blended with the bells of Notre Dame leaves one temporally displaced.

Writing Workshops and Literary Events

Shakespeare and Company does not bloom due solely to living in the past. In fact, behind the eccentricity and utopian charm lies the practicality of living in the present and selling books. The library holds several workshops and events which actively draw in networks of readers and writers. The workshops are free, and you can come along to many of them without signing up beforehand. Literary events are held in the same place, where published writers read from their work and promote their books. It can be anything from poetry readings and chapters from novels, to passionate acting and contemporary interpretations of texts. Wine is often on offer during these events.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Sunday offers a tamer yet more dreamlike rendezvous. George opens up his apartment on the third floor for afternoon tea. Customers who happen to be browsing at that time are invited along, and a few regulars bring cakes and biscuits. Pam, an artist and poet, hosts the tea and puts everyone in the room on the spot for at least a few minutes. Random bits of well-known poetry and literary quotes are recited and people are also invited to read their own creative pieces. Between sips of tea, Romantic notions soar. As Pam says: ‘the person you see walking around the street muttering to themselves is a poet, and I’m talking before these hands-free mobile phones.’ Some are simply more courageous than others! Exuberantly, Pam calls this time of day ‘the mad hatter’s tea party’.

During time spent within the doors of the Shakespeare and Company, it is easy to imagine yourself wandering among the surreal aspects of Lewis Carroll’s imagination. You may even feel yourself shrinking as you descend the narrow staircase whilst avoiding a head injury. Pick up a book, enjoy the piano, and type if you feel inspired. Perhaps remember to buy a book.

Top Ten Christmas Getaways

Paris in Xmas time, Cr-1vacation.com

Paris in Xmas time, Cr-1vacation.com

The Best European Destinations to Visit this Winter

From skiing to Santa, here are some of the most festive places to see and things to do across Europe during December.


This magical ski resort with its award-winning architecture forms part of the Portes du Soleil and provides access to over 650 km of ski runs across Switzerland and France. Other snow activities include glacier-walking, husky-sledding and heli-skiing. A horse drawn carriage offers transport around this pedestrianised village where Christmas markets, with over 100 stalls, are open on 12th – 13th December. From the 19th December, torch lit processions, shows and events culminate in a spectacular firework display on Christmas Eve.

There are over 20 restaurants in Avoriaz but visitors should head to La Table du Marché at the Hôtel des Dromonts for gourmet cuisine by an award-winning chef.


Over 50 Christmas markets run throughout the capital until 28th December; Gedächtniskirche, Unter den Linden and Alexanderplatz are the biggest. Other highlights this year include a toboggan run in the middle of the city, Chinese ice sculptures and a Christmas circus. For relaxation, visit the Badeschiff sauna and heated pool which overlooks on the River Spree.


The Twelve Days of Christmas Market runs from 10th-23rd December on George’s Dock. For fashionistas, the Cow’s Lane Market in Temple Bar is the largest designer market in the city.

A traditional nativity scene with live animals can be found outside Mansion House on Dawson Street and the Christmas decorations at Brown Thomas are also worth a look.


There is no respite in Edinburgh prior to New Year revellers descending on the city for Hogmanay on 29th December. There is also something for everyone over the Christmas break. The Edinburgh Wheel on East Prince Street provides the best views, overlooking the traditional German market, Highland Market, the new Sparkles Snow Globe in Santa’s Gardens and one of Europe’s largest outdoor ice rinks. There is also the Ethical Market and Farmer’s Markets. Adrenaline junkies should head to the Bungy Snowdome while kids can head to the Children’s Christmas Corner and Christmas Fair, complete with a carousel and helter-skelter.


If visiting Santa on home turf or meeting his elves isn’t enough to fuel the festive mood, there are plenty of other snow-centered activities such as reindeer or husky sleigh rides, snowmobiling, skiing and skidoo rides.


Decorations at the department stores alone are spectacular during December. The Harrods Christmas Grotto is already booked up but Christmas World on the second floor is celebrating the anniversary of the Wizard of Oz this year. For vintage and more unique gifts and decorations, Christmas markets can be found across the city. Festive food markets are open at Borough Market, Covent Garden or the Cologne Christmas Market, which runs from the Southbank Centre to the London Eye. Most markets are open until 23rd December.

Stunning outdoor ice-rinks include Somerset House, Hampton Court, Tower of London and the Natural History Museum. For a real treat, take afternoon tea at one of London’s plushest hotels such as Claridges, The Ritz and or Brown’s. Prices start from £37 per person. For a cheaper alternative, head to the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and enjoy one of the free carol concerts which take place between 5pm-9pm until 20th December.


Plaza Mayor hosts the main Christmas market every year although Christmas lights can also be enjoyed on the Gran Via, c/Goya and c/Ortega y Gasset. Outdoor ice rinks are located outside the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium or in Retiro Park. The latter transforms into a Children’s Christmas World from 23rd December to 3rd January. Every year, over half a million visitors take to the streets for The Procession of the Three Kings which features thirty carriages, brimming with sweets, making their way from the Park to the Plaza Mayor.


A walk along the tree-lined Champs-Elysees and a visit to Musee du Louvre is a must. The Christmas tree is outside Notre Dame and an outdoor ice skating rink is open at the City Hall. A number of Christmas markets are scattered across the city. Other than the Eiffel Tower, the department stores Printemps and Galleries Lafayette have some of the best Christmas lights. The Russian Christmas Circus is also in town.


The main markets in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are open until 23rd December. Smaller ones at Havelske Trziste and Namesti Republiky are within a ten minute walk. The Christmas tree is erected in the Old Town Square where choirs and international music provide the entertainment.


With less tourists and drier weather than autumn, winter is the perfect time to visit Venice. Christmas markets are held in the Campo Santi Apostoli, Campo San Luca, Campo San Salvador and Campo San Polo while Christmas on the Lagoon, which sees the Piazza San Marco transformed into a festive village, is filled with typical Venetian products.

Restaurants may be hard to find on Christmas Day but most hotels are open to the public. Alternatively, the original Harry’s Bar and Locanda Cipriani on the Island of Torcello are expensive but memorable alternatives.

Remembering Paris

Paris- France

Paris- France

When I was in Paris I walked what I thought was length of the avenue Champ Elysee turning around at some point along this grand avenue,walking back towards the Arc de Triumph,stopping along the way for a quick bite to eat. I  took a short cruise on a bateau-mouche along the Seine river circling the grand cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris,visiting the cathedral the following day. I rode on the TGV from Paris to Nice, meeting in Nice two ladies and the front desk clerk ,speaking with them until the early mornings hours, than taking overnight train back to Paris.

But my moment in Paris started somewhat late at night on a street not far from the Arc de Triomphe and was more an accident than the execution of a well thought out travel plan.Haven spent most of my first night in Paris walking most of the length of the Champ Elysee I decided to return to my hotel room. One small problem,I wasn’t quite sure in which direction I should walk though I was sure in which part of Paris my hotel was located(Montparnasse). In other words I lost.

The map I had was nothing more than a blurry outline of the city simply because I didn’t have my glasses with me. So off I went, walking down a street that lead away from the Arc de Triompe in a direction, I hoped, would bring me to my hotel.Walking slowly down this street,staring somewhat blankly at the map of the city, I began to wonder where I might end up on this my second summer’s night in Paris.

A short time after a car pulled up next to me; it was a taxi.I stood for a moment a brief moment looking in through the open window of the taxi at the driver. I don’t remember how the conversation began but shortly after we spoke I was in the car and  off we went in what I thought was going to be a free ride back to my hotel.What turned out to be a somewhat mistaken belief.

A short while into the drive the taxi driver asked me if I wanted to go to a place where men and women meet .Before I give you my thoughts on what he might have been talking about,you might venture a few thoughts of you’re own.For me my first and only thought was “he must be talking about a disco,with lots of people dancing under the large round revolving glass ball”. It seemed like a good idea, so I said yes.

He dropped me off at the front entrance and said he would join me in a few minutes. Being the somewhat naive traveler I was I believed him,went inside,sat down at the bar and ordered a beer. The driver never did come back and I was quite certain I was not at a disco.My first clue, the lady who sat down next to me.She asked me if I wanted to go down stairs,it would cost me only 500 francs.I politely declined and she politely left.

I had ordered a beer so decided to stayed stay awhile and yes before long another lady sat next to me with a somewhat different approach. She asked me if would buy her a glass of champagne. What could a small glass of champagne cost?Well, as it turns out, a beer and a small glass of champagne cost 300 francs(about 80 dollars).

I left, after she had drank her champagne and me my beer,and eventual found my way to my hotel. The next night while walking around downtown Paris close to Lido’s I recognized someone walking towards me, it was the same taxi driver I had meet the night before. Just how many people are there in this, the city of lights!

Choosing a European Destination

Paris, European destinations

Paris, European destinations

Which Capital City Should You Visit Next?
Answer these five questions to get a better idea of where you should go on your next European adventure.
Local Signature Foods

Which of these dishes sounds most appealing to you?*

  •  A. Spinach and feta cheese baked into a thin, flaky pastry.
  • B. A baked potato coated in melted cheese and the goodies of your choice.
  • C. A very thin pancake rolled up and filled with sweet flavoring
  • D. Thin tubes of pasta with tomato sauce mixed with vodka and cream
  • E. A thin cut of meat coated with fried bread crumbs
How to Spend Your Time

Describe your perfect day:

  • A. Taking a boat to an island not far from the city
  • B. Touring the town in a double-decker bus and doing some shopping
  • C. Strolling along the river and hitting some art museums
  • D. Running into ancient ruins everywhere you turn, not knowing where to look
  • E. Walking through parks, sampling chocolate cake, and listening to some classical music
Notable Personalities Associated with the City

Who, of these historical figures, sounds like the most interesting (and mysterious) to learn about?**

  • A. A man who expanded an empire at a young age and died in his prime
  • B. A king who had multiple wives and sent some of them to the chopping block
  • C. A power-hungry emperor who took over Europe and was sent into exile
  • D. An emperor who was betrayed—and murdered—by those closest to him
  • E. A crown prince whose death at his hunting lodge remains a mystery to this day
Choose Your Cityscape

Which of these sounds like the ideal environment for you?

  • A. An old city that looks like it’s been whitewashed, with a beautiful ancient central focal point and sparkling blue water nearby
  • B. A busy, bustling metropolis full of gothic architecture, posh shops, royalty, and medieval history galore
  • C. A romantic capital, with beautiful churches, a wide, winding river crisscrossed by many bridges, and infamous national monuments
  • D. A sprawling metropolis with the perfect blend of ancient, medieval, and renaissance architecture
  • E. A quieter city with beautiful parks, gothic spires that pierce the sky, and multiple palaces, most of which contain museums
Most Appealing Weather Patterns

Choose the type of weather you can handle:

  • A. Mild and dry, with a sea breeze
  • B. Rainy, cool, and foggy
  • C. Four seasons, but still somewhat mild
  • D. Mild and dry, and very hot in the summer
  • E. Four distinct seasons, but with a whole lot of wind
Calculate Your Results

Add up the number of As, Bs, Cs, Ds, and Es, and see which city is the best fit:

  • Mostly As: You should check out Athens.
  • Mostly Bs: London’s the place for you.
  • Mostly Cs: You belong in Paris.
  • Mostly Ds: Rome is perfect for your next destination.
  • Mostly Es: You will love a holiday in Vienna.

Now find out what the food is really called, and who
the historical figures actually were:

*Spanakopita, jacket potato, crêpe, penne alla vodka, Wienerschnitzel

**Alexander the Great, Henry VIII, Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Crown Prince Rudolf

And in the event of a tie, why not check out each of your top cities? Europe’s rail system is intricate enough to do so easily!

See Paris in Just Three Days



Visit the Major Sights of the French Capital in One Weekend

Paris merits an extended sightseeing trip, but for travelers with limited time, the subway system provides an easy way to see as much as possible in just a few days.
Paris, the city of lights, of romance, of art and culture, is something to experience over the course of several days, weeks, even months. But for those just passing through the city, or with a tight schedule, it is possible–with the purchase of a 3-day card on the Métropolitain, or Métro (subway)–to see many of the sights that make Paris one of the most magical cities in the world. Here is a sample breakdown of three days in and around the French capital.

Day 1: Art, Napoleon, and the Eiffel Tower

The Louvre: File past the Mona Lisa, and view famous sculptures such as the Nike, also known as Victory. The sprawling museum requires more than one day to see absolutely everything, so choose a few key points and focus on them. Museum maps are available at the entrance. The Louvre’s Métro stop is on yellow line 1 or pink line 7.
The Champs-Elysées and the Arc du Triomphe: After hitting the Louvre, head just three stops over on yellow Métro line 1 to the Champs-Elysées. Get a spectacular view of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower in the distance, from the top of Napoleon’s Arc du Triomphe. To make the most of this area of the city, stroll through the gardens off of the Champs-Elysées after enjoying the view from the Arc du Triomphe and browsing the (many) shops along the way.

The Eiffel Tower: No visit to Paris is complete without at least seeing the icon of the city’s skyline, the Tour Eiffel. The view from the top is particularly stunning at night, when it’s easy to see why Paris got one of its nicknames as the City of Lights. Because of the long lines, going to the tower in the evening saves time during the day that can be spent at locations like museums that are closed after a certain hour. Take the yellow C train or light green 6 train to Tour Eiffel or Bir-Hakeim.

Day 2: Churches, More Art, and Other Well-Known Areas of Paris

Sacre Coeur: Climb the steps to this church on a hill overlooking Paris, the site of a scene from the popular 1998 French film Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain. Visit this church during the day (especially if children are along for the trip), as it is located right near Paris’s red light district, home of the infamous Moulin Rouge. This area is slightly out of the way, on blue line 2 near Anvers, but is close to the Gare du Nord (north train station).

Musée d’Orsay: This used to be a train station, as evidenced by the architecture of the main hall. Complete with large clocks reminding travelers that the train was about to leave, and an arched ceiling similar to that at the Gare du Nord, the museum has a bright, airy atmosphere, and is known for its extensive collection of Impressionist art. Accessible from the yellow C line, or from the green 12 line at Solférino or Assemblée Nationale.

Notre Dame: Save this cathedral for the end of the day, because in the evening it is a lovely place to enjoy dinner (and some delicious local wine) at one of the many restaurants nearby. Accessible from several Metropolitain stations and close to the central Chatelet station. Located on the yellow C line, just a stop away from the Musée d’Orsay.

Day 3: The Palace at Versailles

Even with a time crunch, it is possible to get to this famous palace. A ride on a regional train is under an hour. Because it is located outside of the center of Paris, it is necessary to purchase either an extra ticket, or the Métro card package that allows for travel outside the central Paris zones. While the palace itself is exquisite, the gardens are spectacular. Spend the afternoon walking the tree-lined paths dotted with flowers and fountains along the way.

Seeing all of these Paris attractions and more in just one long weekend is definitely doable with a bit of planning, a map of the Métropolitain system, and a lot of energy.