Category Archives: France

Versailles is an absolute MUST-SEE

 I know, I know, this is a classic. Most tourists would make it to Versailles at some point while visiting Paris because… well, because that’s inevitable. It’s Versailles. If you didn’t plan to go, DO CHANGE THE PLAN. Versailles is worth it.

Since it’s one of my favourite places in the world, I guess I’m biased. But it’s really amazingly stunningly beautiful. Believe me.

I was there just a week ago with my little cousin. I didn’t visit the castle (no time, the +2h line was too much for me), but I went to the gardens. Honestly, even the gardens only are worth the visit. It’s usually free, but during the Musical Foutains Show (only during summer, and not everyday) you have to pay a small fee (adults: 8,5€, reduced (students, minors…): 6,5€). You MUST see the Musical Foutains Show at least once in your life. It’s incredible.

Versailles website

There are a few things that make me overly proud to be French, and Versailles is one of them. And you can go there from Paris taking RER C (Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche), it’s super easy, there is no way you will get lost, and it’s a pretty short ride.

If you aren’t convinced yet… here are a few pictures for you! Enjoy~

Versailles 1Versailles 2Versailles 3Versailles 5

SunsetPink

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

Sun? Sun? Where are you?

I feel sorry for all the tourists visiting Paris lately, as the weather is terrible. It’s May, but outisde it’s freezing, raining, and honestly far from agreeable… We even have hails sometimes!

It couldn’t be worse, and unfortunately no good news either… it seems like it will keep being like that until mid-June, at least.

So, if you’re planning to come to Paris, do wait a bit longer! It’s a beautiful city, but with a weather like that, you won’t see any of it… it’s a pity!

I’m afraid it is the same everywhere in France though… My neighbour visited her family in the South-West and it was awful! Not a good year for Spring, that is for sure.

I wonder where the Sun is… I mean, We had a few days of wonderful weather earlier this year, but like only a week or so, otherwise we only had rain, cold, snow, hail ever since the beginning of winter…

Anyway! I hope it gets better for this summer! Never forget to take some warm garment and a raincoat, France really is unpredictable after all.

 

DSCN3347Grey Paris…

 

Tagged , ,

Be Careful is a Must Know Rule

Paris has a very efficient public transport service. I don’t deny it. But I’ve been living in this city for a few years, and there are things I learnt that might be useful for you.

I was watching a documentary yesterday about the violence in Paris’ underground, and I was astonished by how common it is nowaday. I, myself, witnessed a few violent events like this, but thought it was rather rare. Well, it isn’t.

Here are some basic rules that can help you protect your stuffs:

-> Never keep cash in any accessible pocket. Nor wallet. Nor anything of value. Way too dangerous. The best way to carry cash or papers with you would be to put everything of value in an inside pocket (can I say it? Well, somewhere people can’t access without opening your coat.). I know cash belts exist as well, it can be very convenient.

-> Don’t use your phone. This is obvious but many of us tend to use our phones during travel and you should NOT do that. That’s how thieves choose their next victim. They spot the phone and then follow you discretly until there is an opportunity for them to steal it. Remember that they can be very violent. If you find yourself in a situation where you are trapped by a group of thieves, don’t resist, give them what they want and ask for help as soon as possible to an agent of the RATP.

-> If you use a backpack, hold it in front of you, not on your back.

-> If possible, don’t carry your camera around your neck. You had think it’s pretty safe because they can’t steal it easily, but as I said, they can be pretty violent and might not hesitate to hit you if they want it. And carrying your camera this way really identify you as a tourist, which makes you a potential target.

-> If you feel someone getting a little too close, be twice as careful. Move.

If you are Asian, it is even more important to be aware of all of this. It’s sad, but it is really really true that Asians are their favourite victims. Often, Asian tourists carry a lot of cash as well as high tech phones and camera, and don’t speak a word of French or English, so they usually won’t go to the police. My Korean friend (who does speak French AND English well) had her stuffs (phone, wallet…) stolen twice. You can NEVER be too careful.

Even doing all of this, there is still a risk that someone steals you something. If that’s the case, immediately go talk to an agent of the RATP. They will help you. They might not speak English, so here are some sentences you can use to explain your problem. They will understand what happened and provide the best help they can:

-> Someone stole my phone: On m’a volé mon téléphone (international phonetic alphabet: {ɔ̃ ma vɔle mɔ̃ telefɔn})

-> Someone stole my wallet: On m’a volé mon portefeuille (international phonetic alphabet: {ɔ̃ ma vɔle mɔ̃ pɔʀtəfœj})

-> I don’t speak French: Je ne parle pas français (international phonetic alphabet {ʒə nə paʀl pɑ fʀɑ̃sε})

If you think of any other sentence you might need, please ask!

I was going to go on with indecent behaviour some men have here, but it’s worth an article on its own, so that will wait a bit.

Avoid using your phone, do not tempt pickpocket and everything should be fine. If you are careful, you will be able to enjoy your trip a lot better!

005Arch of Triumph

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s a snow storm!

Since I woke up this morning, it has been snowing. It really is a snow storm, the flakes are huge and it hardly ever stopped since it started. Having so much snow is quite rare in Paris, so you can imagine just how much it disturbs our lives.

Photo du 12-03-13 à 15.15Sorry for the bad quality, this was taken with my webcam…

I watched the news this morning and it really affected the transports. I heard that most of the trains were either delayed or cancelled. As for the buses? Well, this morning NONE of them worked in my town. I don’t know exactly how it was in Paris, but I can tell you that: the traffic was awful.

Let’s face it, Paris under the snow is beautiful, romantic or anything you want but definitely not practical. Today was particularly intense though, it isn’t always that bad, but it’s better knowing what to expect if it ever happens when you are here.

First thing to know: check the RATP and SNCF websites for updates about the transport before going anywhere. If you don’t have a WIFI access, you can still ask the reception. Even if it works, it can be slow/crowded. Also, if the snow is really bad, TV and radio release information.

Second thing to know: pavements are slippery. Be careful!

Third thing to know: the Eiffel Tower (for obvious safety reasons), the Gardens (for less obvious safety reasons) and some other some famous attractions are closed when it snows. No matter how much.

Fourth thing to know: life itself is slow in case of snow, just because people can’t go to work. Paris is hard to reach if the RER doesn’t work, so there are plenty of things that don’t work perfectly or as smoothly as usual.

Fifth thing to know: DisneyLand Paris is beautiful under the snow, however, as stated in 1st and 4th, transports can be difficult. Reaching DisneyLand is probably hard, even with a car… and most of the attractions probably close if there is too much snow.

I surely forget many things, so stay tuned for another “Paris under the snow!” article in the future!

SunsetPink

PS: Today is my Mother’s Birthday! I wrote an article about her on FancyLittleTalk :)

Tagged , , , , , , ,

London – DAY 2

8:00AM, Early start

It is important, when you are on a short trip like we were, to not spend too much time sleeping. I mean, you are abroad, there so many things to do and so little time! We had set departure time at 9, but, of course, only two of us were ready on time. We should have anticipated it, because we were 4 girls and girls are usually slow in the morning. We ended up leaving at least 30 minutes later. Believe us that we did not do the same error twice, we woke up our friends earlier the next days!

Breakfast was nice (I think I already wrote about it in my first post?), but crowded after 8:45. I suppose it is the same in every hostel so wake up early, it is worth it! You can still go to bed early later.

The British Museum

Another free museum, indeed we had to drop by! It is huge. Like, really huge. The roof is so high! We visited the egyptian part of the museum, a bit of the greek/roman part and then went to see the Chinese, Thai part as well. We really saw many beautiful things, and read interesting ones as well. As we are a very multicultural group, it was interesting to see how some cultures actually have things in common but explained or used differently. We stayed there for an hour and a half, I think, but we did not visit everything AT ALL. The British Museum is reaaally big, so if you want to visit it all (I am not even sure it is possible!) you need at least an entire day. However, two hours are enough to enjoy it.

British Museum1

Covent Garden

We were supposed to go there on the first day but we were too tired. Covent Garden is a lively place, and it is a must-see, right? There was a pregnant woman singing Opera, she was amazing! We did not stay very long, though, because it was lunch time, and honestly it was nice to see it but we wouldn’t spend hours there as there were not many things to do but looking around.

CoventGarden1

Finding food and cashpoints

I had to write about it. It was a nightmare, honestly! First of all, the UK is very different from France. Here we can withdraw cash everywhere. Cash machines are everywhere! But in London… it is not the case at all. Well, there are cash machines, but not quite as much. So we walked, we walked, we walked… Finally we found one and then we wanted to eat but where we were there was nowhere in our prices. London is expensive, like, really. We couldn’t help, 10£ was too much for us… So we walked again, plenty. It was horrible because there really was nothing! We ended up around Westminster (as it is a tourist attraction we thought that maybe there were some restaurants or stuffs like that, we were very wrong though!) but finally decided to move again and went to a Burger King (can’t remember exactly where though).

For the first time in my life I tasted Raspberry cola. It was awful. Tasted like a medicine, terrible! My friends loved it though. I don’t understand why! But Cherry Schweps is fine. Burger King is good, and you can drink as many sodas as you want (well, when it is cold and rainy outside, I can tell you, you won’t drink that much at all).

So all of this to say: when you see a cash machine, use it! Don’t think you will find one easily later!

Westminster

We finally came back to Westminster as we had decided to visit the Abbey at any cost (hey! Kate and William married there after all!). We passed by the Parliament and Big Ben (another must-see!) and took plenty of photos. Let say it, Westminster abbey IS expensive. We had student cards so it was 15£ (around 17€) instead of 18. It is still a lot, and we wanted to make the most out of it. Honestly, despite the price I strongly recommend you to visit the Abbey. You can have an audioguide in plenty of languages and the staff is really kind. We wanted to know how it was organized during the Royal Wedding and one of the woman who worked there explained everything to us. She was very patient, and even gave us more informations than we asked for! She seemed very happy to talk to us so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

We were so slow to visit that we unfortunately missed the gardens. They are not opened all the time, and close earlier, so we could not visit them. However, we did enjoy the cloister, it was beautiful, and I bought postcards to make up with the fact that I could not take any photos inside. I suspect it is exactly what they wish tourists would do, but I could not help myself.

Big Ben

Finding each other

One of my friends had already visited Westminster Abbey last year and so we decided that we would meet up at the exit at 4:30PM. We were exactly on time but her… well, she was late. Unfortunately when you travel like that you don’t have an easy way to contact each other so we wondered if we had understood the same thing or if we were mistaken. It happens that three of us had cellphones that we could use in emergency case (well, emergency because one message is 0,10€ and we don’t want to pay too much at the end of the month just because we cannot find each other), so she managed to warn us that she was at least half an hour late. Waiting half an hour in the dark, cold and rain was not that funny but well. That is to say, when you travel abroad it is very important to be on time. It can become a nightmare rather quickly if one doesn’t, as there is no way to know if one is coming or not. We were lucky to have our phones, but it is not always good to rely on it.

M&M’s World

This. shop. is. HUGE! No but, honestly, so many m&m’s! It is almost a museum! We had a lot of fun there, like finding our “mood color” of the day through a scanner. I was Yellow (wished to be pink but oh well, I love yellow too!) and it said something like “even if it’s cloudy outside, you’ll brighten someone’s day today!” SO CUTE! I was delighted, indeed!

So, M&M’s was fun but incredibly expensive. One of my friends spent more than 40£ there! She would never have done so if she had known the price before, but you can fill your own bag of M&M’s and the price is for 100g so there is no way you can know in advance the exact amount you will have to pay. I was rather angry about it because they could at least let people weight their bags on scales before paying. Of course she could have been more careful, but it was not entirely her fault. She regrets it a lot now. I know there is a similar shop in the US, I don’t know if the system is exactly the same but I cannot say it enough: BE CAREFUL.

As ever, pictures are mines, don’t use them without asking!

That’s it for our second day in London!

Thank you all for reading,

SunsetPink

Tagged , , , , ,

DISNEYLAND PARIS

Disneyland, it is probably Paradise for children, right? Well, it is a bit mine too, as I love it so much! The price however… it isn’t that great at all… so! Some tips if you are coming to France and willing to go to Disneyland:

– there are very often offers and sales for tickets at a better price, so do check out Disneyland’s website often. (I never pay more than 30€ – 40USD, 26GBP so that is waaaay better than the 60+ that I would pay if I bought my tickets full price)

decide the date of your visit early. Even if you don’t plan your whole trip in advance, it is worth chosing the date for Disneyland as usually if you want to have a discounted ticket you have to buy it 5 days before the actual day and give the date during the booking process.

– you can go to Disneyland either by car or by RER. As the RER is quite expensive (something around 12€ -10GBP, 16USD- for a return ticket) going by car is not always a bad idea, as the parking lot is around 15€ for the day. However, you might be parked quite far from the entrance. The best thing to do would be to google “Disneyland Paris parking” and you should finds some advices, as I always take the RER to go I cannot help you much.

– if you can, avoid French holidays. It is so crowded that sometimes you spend the WHOLE day in the lines and get to do only 4 or 5 attractions which is a total waste. So, if your are coming during summer, chose a week day, avoid August the 15th, avoid July the 14th and really be there for the opening. For the rest of the year, wednesdays, saturdays and sundays are the worst, be careful.

some attractions are more popular than others. You should definitely start by those as it only get worse during the day. I think of three of them in particular: Peter Pan, Space Moutain and La Mine. It’s terrible. You can have more than one hour of wait so if you don’t go right away to do the attraction, at least pass by to take a fast-pass (you can only have one at once, so be careful).

– as expected of Disneyland, everything is expensive in there. Particularly the food. Buy your own picnic before going and you will save a lot of money!

– the shops are really tempting. If you don’t want to ruin yourself buying too much stuffs, set a limit that you won’t exceed.

– I know that some girls reaaaally like to wear heels wherever they go but seriously, your feet will hurt so much by noon that you’ll regret it. Good shoes are a must-have to go there as you will have to walk all the time to get from one point to another. If you are staying the whole day, be kind to yourself, no heels.

– Paris is cold. I mean, not always that cold, but still. Of course sometimes it can be overly hot in summer (in that case, no need to read further) but honestly it does not happen so often, be careful, take a jacket with you if possible. The best is still to have a backpack as it is easy to carry.

Disneyland1

Disney2

Thanks for reading! I hope it was helpful :)

As always, the pictures are mine so don’t copy or use without my consent,

SunsetPink

Tagged , , ,