France

All the Nice things in Nice

By on January 28, 2014

 

nice, france
Arenes de Cimiez
We’ve established from the previous posts that when in Rome, you’re told to do as the Romans do.  But when you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of Nice, France, you don’t have to try too hard to pose as a dignified Frenchman or a lady with her nose up in the air.  Just be your touristy self, and bask in the many fun things Nice has to offer.  With the many different attractions in this part of the globe, you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy, here are some of what I recommend:

Arenes de Cimiez.  If you are a huge fan of jazz music, then this is the perfect place for you to get your fix.  This is where they hold the annual Nice Jazz Festival amid the backdrop of the remains of the Roman city of Cemenelum.  Here you’ll also find a park with a vast olive grove that stretches as far as the eye can see.  The thousands of olive trees sprawled around the garden and the wide lawns make it an ideal place for families to hang out.

 

musee matisse
Musee Matisse

Musee Matisse.  The artsy one will definitely consider this place to be Mecca.  This museum holds the personal collection of artist Henry Matisse.  Here you’ll find his famous sculptures, paintings, drawings and gouache cut-outs.  If you have kids with you, you can bring them here as they also hold children’s workshops and various activities on specific themes.  The museum is situated in a villa within the premises of the Arenes de Cimiez park.

Cote d’azur observatory.  You just might find your luck and get to wish on a falling star when you visit this famed astronomical observatory in Nice.  It’s right on the summit of Mont Gros, 1,066 feet above sea level.  Now that’s reaching for the stars!  They have a guided tour, so as you gaze in wonder at the sky, you’ll get to understand what the universe is all about.

 

nice, france port
Nice port

 

Vieux Nice.  Also known as The Old Town of Nice, this is one place where you absolutely wouldn’t mind getting lost in.  If you were a mouse and this was a mouse trap, you’d say, “Bring it on!” This is where it’s happening, as it’s always bustling with activity, day and night.  You can drown yourself in drinks or stuff yourself with a good old traditional meal as you take in the Mediterranean baroque feel of it all.  Be sure to sample their main local dish called “socca” (a yummy pancake made of chick pea flour, water and olive oil).  If you’re not up for partying, you can simply do a walking tour and explore the different shops lining the streets.

Castle Hill.  What could be more wonderful than standing on top of a hill, bellowing at the top of your lungs as you bask in the beauty of the view below you?  This is just what you might end up doing when you find yourself atop Castle Hill.  Restrain yourself from bellowing, and you could simply walk along the secluded tree-lined footpaths winding up to the Hill.  Once you’re up there, the view is breathtaking.  Don’t miss the astounding waterfalls on top of Castle Hill, overlooking the Promenade.
There’s never a dull moment in Nice, France.  With the many stunning places to visit and things to do here, you won’t feel homesick at all. I say, book a week or two in a one of the nice apartments in Nice (pun not intended) and enjoy this enchanting city in full. It won’t even come as a surprise if you no longer want to go back home.

Colline du Chateau, castle hill nice france
The waterfall on the Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill)

 

Continue Reading

France | Paris

5 Reasons to Visit Paris: Postcard Perfect Shots in France

By on April 6, 2012
Eiffel tower, Gustave, Paris
Kiss your loved one under the Eiffel Tower .

Brush up on your French and take a trip to the French capital city of Paris. You have to know at least a few key phrases in French to put yourself right in the middle of Parisian settings that have so often been featured in many movies. Be très chic when you experience gay Paree in all its fame and splendour.

Here are five reasons for you to love Paris:

Historic Monuments – Most popular among the landmarks of Paris are the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe,  Eiffel Tower and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica (or Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris). These sights are often included as part of pre-paid passes that tourists can purchase ahead of time. Since these sights are among international tourists’ list of must-see places, these historic landmarks can get really crowded.

Fashion and Shopping – Paris is one of the world’s fashion hubs comprising the Big 4 along with cities as London, Milan, and New York. Plan your trip right around the time when the bi-annual Fashion Week events are scheduled and catch a glimpse of the next season’s fashion on the runway. Bring your pocketbook for some high end couture shopping in the 8th arrondisement or in the boutiques that line Canal St. Martin and at the Palais-Royal.

Macarons ftw.
Get a bite of authentic macarons.

French Cuisine – Ditch the French fries and go for authentic French cuisine served in bistros and restaurants around Paris. Put the French culinary reputation to test as you sample the fine cuisine in some of the most luxurious locales as Hotel Ritz and the Hotel de Crillon. Be ready to shell out oodles of money at these glitzy dining places, though. 

If French fashion is identified as haute couture, its gastronomic department is considered haute cuisine. Foie Gras, Pommes duchesse, Coq au vin, Crème brûlée, Eclairs, macarons, Tarte Tatin, the list goes on.

For the budget conscious, street side delicacies and fair offerings will give you a good sampling of the more common French gustatory fare.

Opera Theater – Visit the largest Parisian opera houses and choose from their mixed repertoire of classic and modern ballets and operas. Historic Opera Garnier and Opera Bastille along with Opera Comique and Theatre Lyrique should be in your opera theater itinerary while in Paris.

Not Just in the Movies – Take the time to go and see places in Paris that have been featured in one or several Hollywood films. The Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge dinner theater, and The Louvre are just some of the places that you might already have “visited” during your trips to the movies.  The Seine River is a must-see too! Get to ride an excursion boat to see more of the historic city.

arc de triomphe, paris
Our old P&S Camera didn't do the Arc justice, we'll definitely go back!

Ooopsss…make that 6 reasons! Disneyland Resort Paris – Let the kid in you out and be a child once again at Disneyland Resort Paris…enjoy the company of Mickey and friends, tour Sleeping Beauty’s castle and enjoy the magic that is Disneyland in the city of the most romantic language. There are a lot of new rides and attraction so be sure to book not one but at least two days for you to enjoy everything!

The tourist scene in Paris can be quite busy especially when there are international events happening in the city. It would be a good idea to plan your trip to Paris early on and get your bookings ahead of time – you want to beat the long queues during peak tourism season. You might also want to take a look at buying pre-paid passes that already serves as your entry card to a list of tourist attractions in Paris. Finally, don’t forget to take a reliable camera with you to capture the beauty that is Paris.

   Disneyland resort paris sleeping beauty castle    Disneyland resort paris shops

Continue Reading

France | Paris

Parisian Birds

By on July 10, 2011

birds bathing

On our way to the Louvre we passed by a number of churches, restaurants, statues and fountains. The fountains and other forms of water installation seem to be useful for the birds…they get to drink and bathe there. And what do you know,what I thought of as maya when I was a child were all-over the place!

I said “I thought of” because I grew thinking that the former (until 1995) Philippine National bird are the ones pictured below. Well, no one corrected me then and perhaps we all thought that these are the real maya. Researching though lead me to understand that these are actually  Eurasian Tree Sparrows, which can be found mostly in Southeast Asia, some subspecies in America and of course Eurasia where it got its name but as said I saw them in Paris – in September and in Germany also during autumn and in Vienna last spring.

I read somewhere that they are called German Sparrow as well. 🙂

sparrow

 

By the way, the real maya have reddish brown feathers with a black head. It is rightfully called Black-headed Munia which also gained the name maya pula (red maya) to differentiate them from the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

 

 

Continue Reading

France | Louvre | Museums | Paris

The Louvre revisited

By on May 25, 2011

Some years ago we visited the Louvre…I was really delighted. It was a dream come true for the wannabe painter in me. As a kid, I’ve always admired the works of great artists as Monet and Van Gogh…then of course I only get to see their works on books and encyclopedias.

My favorites later on included Picasso, Dürer and Klimt; this time I’m able to see some of their works up close. Yet, there are still so much more to explore.

 

DSC01808
Jesus’ temptation

I’ve often mentioned my interest in the arts on my other blogs. I enjoy interviewing artists, interpreting their work and hearing their own interpretation too — something I haven’t done for a long time now…and visiting the Louvre wouldn’t make this possible. 🙂 So there we were able to enjoy the silence and the beautiful colors of the Louvre even for a few hours. I’d definitely love to go back!

Continue Reading

France | Paris | Tour Eiffel

Paris – Eiffel Tower

By on March 24, 2009

We weren’t very fortunate when we visited the Eiffel Tower. 😛 It was raining…not much but still, the sky was gray and it’s not so picturesque with such a background. What the heck, nothing can stop us from seeing the famous Tour Eiffel. Rain or shine we braved it and took even a few shots from below, from the front but not above. 🙁 Can’t remember if the lift then were stopped but we waited yet we were not able to go up….

 

Paris is of course, deserves another visit. Hopefully the next time it would be with blue skies too!

Continue Reading

France | Louvre | Museums | Paris

Paris – Louvre Museum

By on March 20, 2009
musee du louvre
Musée du Louvre, Richelieu Wing



The present-day Louvre has been the result of a series of successive building projects completed over the past 800 years. Wikipedia page. It is located on the Right Bank in the 1er arrondissement between the Rue de Rivoli and the Seine River, the same river that flows to where the Eiffel tower is.

Home to many notable works of art and perhaps the most visited museum in the world, the Louvre used to be a palace under the reign of Philip II.

We arrived in Paris coming from Marne La Vallee via RER at the Opera Station, hubby brought his navigator so it didn’t took us much time to find the museum. We had some photo op on the way, which I will upload in the following posts.

opposite louvre
Antiquaires

 

An antique dealer’s shop opposite the Louvre. We were quite ecstatic seeing this, we actually thought that this is the musem. lol.

Walking a bit further and to the front of the antique shop is a courtyard, turns out that is the French consulate. Opposite is the entrance to the Louvre.

louvre
Musee du Louvre

The inscription at the entrance of the Louvre Museum caught my eyes immediately. The French Rennaisance style easily seen as its influence. I’ve forgotten now how much we paid for the entrance…though we had to wait a bit in line before we got in, one could just awe at the magnificence of this vast infrastructure.

 

louvre pyramid
Dad and son1

That’s hubby and son1 by the (Half) Pyramid at the courtyard. The pyramid is the main entrance to the Louvre itself. The main lobby is actually below the ground.

 

a on louvre escalator
Daughter by escalator

View from inside the pyramid, though this is when were going up already. Escalators and elevators are available for use.

 

samothrace
Winged Victory of Samothrace

That’s Niké en chiton ionique. Also called the Winged Victory of Samothrace. It is one of the surviving masterpieces of Hellenic sculpture despite its significant damage. Believed to date from 220-190 BC. This sculpture stands at the Daru staircase, which is the perfect spot for such a work of art.

paintings
Just got tired…
Taking a rest from the long walk as hubby takes more photos of the paintings on display. I do love walking around museums but the Louvre is just too big you definitely would appreciate a minute or two of sitting.
greek sculpture
nose gone

 Greek sculptures–severed head. Either the parts were lost or the sculptor intended it that way, since during that certain era, sculptors would make less visible parts of statues, also body parts are made separately then assembled together.

.

3 maidens, hubby's fave
😛
Three muses…hah…hubby’s fave? Nah, he posed beside almost every statue.
venus de milo
Venus de milo, famous for missing arms and hands
Venus de Milo. One spectator said that it was perhaps during transport, that the hands of the statue got lost. I jokingly said Hercules threw a discus and accidentally destroyed the arms…referring to the Disney movie Hercules. =D Kidding aside, here’s what really happened.
ceiling
Gold ceiling

Painting on the ceiling…this could be of Roman origin. The most extensive royal abode I visited with gold plated on wall edges is Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace, its ballroom’s ceiling is also painted but without gold in it so I was in awe at this display…I sadly forgot now where this one actually came from.

sphinx
Sphinx of Tanis

Great sphinx of Tanis. This is one of the largest sphinxes outside Egypt. According to archaeologists, certain details suggest that this sphinx dates to an earlier period – the Old Kingdom (c. 2600 BC).

mona
Mona Lisa

La Joconde, The Mona Lisa. Perhaps the most famous painting in the world, a portrait by Leonardo da Vinci of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, that has been finally established as a fact just this month. The La Joconde has been subject to many critics and research and at one time; a robbery. Thus, it has been displayed at the museum’s Salle des États inside a purpose-built, climate-controlled enclosure behind bullet proof glass. A wooden rail prohibits the viewers from coming too near the painting. But the guards were so kind to have let us go past it, really thankful!

By the way, Jean Reno who played Bezu Fache in the movie Da Vinci code which was set at the Louvre, did a narration: the Da Vinci code soundwalk for the museum. The audio guide gives the listener historical facts and meanings of many paintings at the museum.
—–
The Louvre is not just big…but really really big, we were not able to finish touring it. Half day won’t be enough for hubby, an artist and admirer of art and for me, an art lover who once dreamed of becoming an artist. =P The Louvre is truly an art lover’s haven, no wonder it gathers as much as 8million visitors a year!
(This Photo is courtesy of the Free online photos.)

 

Continue Reading

Disneyland Paris | France | Paris

Paris – Disneyland Resort – Disney Village, Open Souvenir shops

By on March 18, 2009

This installment is about the Disney Village, the only park which is free. It is especially built for tourists who only want Disney items for souvenirs and giveaways.

Enjoy the sun-up, sun-down photos. =)

 

Everything Disney. – Rainforest Cafe.

 

Disney Fashion Boutique. – Mickey…again.

Disney Store.

Planet Hollywood.

C on a Corvette. – A outside a store.

Continue Reading

Disneyland Paris | Featured | France | Paris

Paris – Disneyland Park – Fantasyland

By on March 14, 2009

Disneyland Park, is mostly the fantasy-filled area of the Resort. It is divided into Main Street, USA and 3 other ‘lands’ .

Disneyland Hotel (above and below), an in-house hotel and also the entrance to the Park.

C and A posing by the Mickey flower ensemble in front of the hotel entrance.

My boys sitting at the Pavilion which is parallel to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the street lined with flags is Main Street, USA. The street has 1920-inspired houses (emphasizing on football and automobiles). The houses serve as shops (from souvenirs to photography equipments) and restaurants (coffee, pizza, ice cream, and more).

During the parade, Tigger (Disney’s Winnie the Pooh) and Geppetto (Pinocchio) on board. Notice the rail tracks, as the street has a tram for the visitors too.

 

One of the featured automobile also on parade, they also tour around with the guests and sometimes with the mascots.

 

Front of one of the shops. Notice: Kodak, yes they sell mostly Kodak products. The attendants are really friendly but they would almost always speak to you in French when you enter. Most of them speak English especially the Africans. But it was also nice when a cashier who seem not fluent in English heard me speaking with Charlton later on conversed with me in German. I felt confident I won’t get lost.lol.

 

Inside the shop, a surplus of Mickey mouse and other Disney toys, souvenir items, clothing, memorabilia and more. The prices are generic at all of the shops. Security is a little lax though, don’t be surprised if you see people shoplifting…coz I did. I tip my hat off to those who remain honest (like us! hehe).

One of the stuff we bought that proved to be useful later on is a gown for our little princess. See, she’s standing here with Sleeping Beauty’s castle at the background. The dress was perfect, should we have bought Cinderella’s dress then the castle should be blue…fortunately, she likes pink and pink is Aurora’s gown.

However, meticulous as she is, she had one complain. “Mali momie, kasi black ang hair ko dapat dress na lang ni Snow White, I can’t be Aurora, hindi naman kasi ako blonde.” (This is wrong momie, I have black hair so it should have been Snow White’s dress , I can’t be Aurora, I’m not blonde after all.) Oo nga naman.

One of the uses I was talking about is this: sending entries to the Disney Princess magazine.

Sitting by the bushes…behind is Alice in Wonderland’s Curious Labyrinth.

Jiminy Cricket from Les Voyages de Pinocchio , a 2-minute ride which will show you the journeys of Pinocchio, presented by puppets…the rides were made of wood inpired by Geppetto’s works.

Waving while still on board Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Jack’s Beanstalk minus the Giant…

 

At the entrance of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was a small door with a vitrine full of crystals. Most of them are Disney character’s mini-sculptures but there are huge masterpieces as you see here partly, a replica of the castle.

Hubby and I were awed at how they are made so we looked around and there, hubby’s attention was caught by the hologram-like crystal boxes with yóur own photos! (more pics to follow)

We decided that this precious piece would be our souvenir from the Park. The attendants took our photos starting from Daniel. The woman in the photo appears to be the Supervisor here, she came and spoke to us (english) but when she heard me call out: “Da-niel!” She instantly knew that we speak German ( just by the pronunciation..as in English would be pronounced Day-nyel, Pinoys would say Dan-yel, and in German we say Da-nyel).

The rule is to not move for 5 seconds while the photo is being taken and to look on top of the camera…the box was ready after 2 hours and we paid an addition since there were 5 of us…the most that they have made were for 4 people.

 

 

<–The castle glowing at night, too bad we run out of batteries for the fireworks =(

 

 

There were still so many stuff that we were not able to see, but we had enough memories to make us remember the fantastic and enchanting experience at Disney’s Fantasyland.

Continue Reading

Disneyland Paris | France | Paris

Paris – Disneyland Park – Disney Studios

By on March 12, 2009

Disneyland Resort Paris is located 32 km from the center of Paris at a new town called Marnee La Vallée, where most disney-themed hotels are also located.

The Resort has two theme parks, Disney Studios and Disneyland Park plus an entertainment district, Disney Village

 

 

We headed first to Disney Studios and were delighted to see the big Mickey ears on the water tank…hubby, comic as usual requested for a photo. —->

Disney Studios Park is divided into themed lots. We didn’t wait much in line to see the featured videos but did lots of photo ops. Right photo: C on a sweeping broom (Beauty and the Beast).

 

Left photo: D with (Disney Pixar) Monsters Inc.’s Mike Wazowski, the only photo were he isn’t crying. Right photo: Reason why D never came near other mascots again. Sulley (again from Monsters Inc.) surely lives up to his name of being the top scarer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left: A beside Luigi and C beside Guido in their tire shop (Cars, Disney Pixar). Right: A with Minnie Mouse, we had to wait in line for an autograph and photo op. Tip: Bring your own pen and autograph book, the DisneyPrincess-designed pen costs 2,90 euros, the autograph book: 4,90!

 

C was not in the mood then, so A had all the photo opps with the mascots. This is either Chip or Dale…I cannot tell the difference. =D

We were also in line for Pluto’s autograph but lost the chance because Goofy who did nothing but goof around run away with Pluto somewhere! T’was really fun, though the place is huge, its worth moving about, following the crowd, snapping photos and reliving the stories of the cartoon characters we have been familiar with through the years. Surely is a place for children but is definitely also a good time for the child-at-heart!

 

 

 

 

<<Mickey Mouse, Disney’s icon. >>Walt Disney and Mickey, how it all started.


Continue Reading

Disneyland Paris | France | Hotels | Paris

Paris – Hotel Arrival

By on March 7, 2009

The Paris/Disneyland trip was not planned ahead, hubby was mumbling about it for sometime but I didn’t took it seriously. Then it just happened, we boarded the City Airport train from Floridsdorf, hurried to the Vienna International Airport because the plane will leave at 7:20 and we only have that 20 minutes to do all the stuff you do at the airport…To think that Daniel’s stroller will be regarded as a baggage..hubby carried it all the way through while I have Daniel with me. We made it in time to Gate 3 only to find out that the flight has been delayed for another hour. =S

The two hour ride went smoothly, none of the kids throwing up or having ear pressure =P…we had a good meal though I unfortunately forgot what it was. We arrived at Charles deGaulle at 10P.M. local time. This is my second time to be in this airport and I still feel lost in its hugeness. We boarded a bus that will take us to the Hotel, My Travel’s Explorer at Marnee La Vallee. It took us another hour 20 minutes and the kids were able to sleep.

 

<—Can you spot hubby here? This is the lobby of the Hotel. The crew were really nice save for one who gave us ‘very little’ trouble before we left.

Having the theme ‘explorer/pirate,’ one can see boats, mermaids, ships and other sea creatures lying about.

 

The hotel boasts of 2 Bars, 3 Restaurants, a Disney Shop, an Explorer’s shop, indoor children’s corners, indoor adventure play area, heated indoor pool, with an adventure boat that leads one to the pool slide.

 

The hotel is approximately an 8-minute shuttle ride to the Disney Parks and Disney® Village and Chessy TGV/RER regional train station. It was not as convenient though since passengers could fill up both from leaving and arriving to the hotel.

—> The kids sitting on a wooden chair at the lobby, still groggy from the very limited sleep they got. We went directly to our room, which was not easily found…there were many elevators yes, but they will lead you to certain floors. We eventually found our way, changed to PJ’s and went straight to sleep as fun awaits us the next morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

<—Our hotel room, a room which our son, C , would later on often ask to visit and stay at again.


Continue Reading