Good Spots In Paris

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Tag - Monuments

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Sunday, July 26 2009

Little trips to come

I think I've never talked to you about anywhere else in France then Paris, right ? I did talked to you about the main train stations in the town, but not quite about where you can go from there, and I think it's the right time to do so :) For this first "out of Paris" post I won't go very far as I'll stick to France (no Europe overview yet ;) ), so don't be too afraid to get lost ;)

Vendee - Region of France The first place I'll introduce : Vendée. "Vendée" is a costal region of the West of France you can see in red on the map beside (Paris being in the middle of the green dot, if you've forgotten). The two main reasons you would want to go there (in my opinion) are : historical monuments and beaches.

In fact, those are two of the reasons I'm going to spend a weekend there next week :) !!! Me and 3 friends of mine are leaving Paris (by car) at around 6pm, and should arrive there before midnight to be ready to enjoy the "puy du fou" and the beaches for the whole weekend ! I know, you're wondering what the "puy du fou" is, don't worry I'll explain : it's kind of a park which theme is the history of this region of France, so if you like middle-age, kings, knights, vikings, and peons, you'd like to go there (sometimes it's cool to live in an old country ;) ! ). After a whole day at the "puy du fou", we'll spend the second one at the beach I think, and we'll then drive back to Paris before the end of the weekend :)

Vendee - What I'll see there

It will definitely be a busy weekend, and I'll have to really get motivated to wake up on the following monday and go to work but it'll be cool to have a "beach break" with friends :) ...and after all it's not going to be my "real" holidays : I'm going to a special place of Brittany in august for 5 days, and to a town in the south of France for 3 days...but that's other stories (soon to come on this blog ;) )

Sunday, September 7 2008

Train Stations !

TrainSure enough if you decide to visit Paris you'll have a lot of monuments to visit. Touristic monuments of course :) But what about non-touristic monuments ? I mean pieces of architecture that are really worth taking a good glance at but which are not (yet) supposed to be only for sightseeing. Great candidates for this are train stations :) ! I will introduce you to some of them (the biggest) which have very nice architectures :)

Let's do them alphabetically :

Austerlitz

This one is quit small actually (I know, i said I'll introduce you the biggest, but don't be so impatient !). Trains arriving here are mainly coming from the South West (Spain,... :) ). The funny thing to notice about this station is that the tube enters the station...in the second floor ^^ (I have no picture of it yet, but I'll take one next time I'll pass by). A great advantage of this train station, if you decide to go there, is that it's close to a charming garden ("Jardin des Plantes") and to the river Seine two. Gare d'Austerlitz

Gare de l'Est

Literally "Train Station for the East" you now guessed that trains ending here are from ...the East :D (East of France but also Germany, Switzerland, ...) Not yet one of my favorite ^^ Gare de l'Est

Gare de Lyon

One of the three biggest. If you know the town "Lyon" you know where trains coming from this station are going...Well I guess you don't actually : Lyon is the second biggest town in France (after Paris) and it's located in the South West of France :) Therefore in the "Gare de Lyon" (literaly "Lyon's train station") you have train going to Lyon, then to Italy...It's pretty nice one and as it's a big train station you will have no problem going there : take the tube ^^ Last good point for this train station if you intend to sightsee it's architecture : when you're done just cross the river Seine (which is hardly 100m away) and you're in front of the Gare d'Austerlitz we talked about earlier :)

Gare Montparnasse

My favorite one !! BUT you may not like it ;) We've been talking about nice architecture all the way until then but there's a "problem" with this station (which I believe is the biggest of all) : it's the only one which have been reconstructed in the XXth century. No luck with the architecture then : it's all modern. Anyway I wanted to talk about it because there are funny anecdotes : firstly now there is nice little park over the station (yes, on the roof ^^) which you can visit (it's called "Jardin Atlantiques" ); and secondly in 1895 a train could not stop arriving at the station (brakes broken) and therefore did not stopped where it was supposed to and continued his way...all the way thought the facade of the station (yeah...trains arrived at the second floor ... )

Train wreck at Montparnasse

Gare du Nord

A nice one, (tip : "Nord" = "North" ) deserving North of France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands. To be honest I've never taken any train at this station, and I don't lurk so much in this area...so except that when I pass by I say to myself "hey, nice facade", I've nothing to add (yet :p ) Gare de Nord

Gare Saint Lazare

Quite nice station but I don't like the neighborhood that much (not the same architectural style, so it's a bit weird ^^). This station is mainly for trains going in the far suburb of Paris...I guess you won't go there (whereas for every other stations I told you about you might be interested to jump in a train there and start the tour of Europe :) !) Gare Saint Lazare

Conclusion

No, "conclusion" is no name for a train station ;) I'd just add that those are ones of the biggest and are therefore all connected to the tube and many different bus, so it will be easy as a pie to check them all in no time :) By the way if you ever heard about the "Orsay" train station : go and see it !! I have not talked about it here because it is not a train station anymore but a museum, thought it's really a nice piece of architecture (and I may talk about it soon when I'll talk to you about some museums :) ...subscribe to the feed not to miss this one)

Friday, August 29 2008

Must See

CameraLet's assume you decided to go and visit Paris (good idea :) ), what must you see ? Lucky you, I'm going to answer this question ;) But make no mistake, I'm going on this post only to show you the "must see", all the less known places won't be here (I keep them for later posts ;) )

Eiffel Tower First of all the Eiffel Tower. You really have to see it, and you have to visit it (go on the last floor, the view's really worth it !), but I warn you : you'll have to face a usually very long queue before being able to visit :( By the way you'll notice a lot of guys selling little Eiffel Towers around this place : do not hesitate to negotiate the price, they're selling those illegally about 100 times the price they bought it (well, there's just "tourist hunting", you know the deal :D )

Arc de Triomphe Second one (not that far from the Eiffel Tower) the "Arc de Triomphe" (for the little story during the age of kings when the army came back from war if they had won the walked under the arch, if they had lost the battle they had to bypass it.) It's a must see for two reasons : firstly because it's pretty, secondly because it's a one of the extremity of the "Champs Elysées" (which is supposed to be the most beautifull avenue in the world ;) ). By the way the "Champs Elysées" is a must-see two ! Every luxury brand have to own a shop on this avenue (if not, they're not a luxury brand anymore :D ), it' really worth seeing it.

Notre Dame Fourth must-see "Notre Dame Cathedral". It's a really nice piece of architecture and it's so attached to Paris. There's even a great book called "Notre Dame de Paris" (which became a movie which became a musical :) ). Moreover it's the legal center of Paris :D You can actually see in front of the cathedral a little round piece of metal on the floor (about 40cm wide) with "Point Zéro des routes de France" on it which means "Point zero for every road in France". Don't hesitate to visit this one again, it's just beautiful :)

Latin Quarter Fifth must-see the "Latin Quarter" (lucky you, it's just beside Notre Dame). It's the quarter where students get together, a lot of prestigious universities are here and it kept the atmosphere of the "old Paris". You can't miss this quarter it's always crowded with tourist during day time and double crowded with tourists and Parisian at night ;) (and of courses there are hundreds of café :) )

Well, having seen those you may come back to your home country without being ashamed of missing "something huge", but if I were you I wouldn't just visit those ones, I'll go to the Luxembourg Garden, the area around Chatelet, the Conciergerie, the Opera, the Marais, etc. Don't worry, I'll cover those places in forthcoming posts (such as this one where I talk a bit about the luxembourg garden) !