Sunday, 25 August 2013

Travel: France - Troyes and Sens

Hi guys! This will be the last series of travel blogs for a while. I went to France for 2 weeks this summer and absolutely loved it. I took a break from all things social media including blogging and filming. We stayed in a little village called Voisines which was lovely and that was in the Yonne region in north Burgundy.

First of all, let me introduce you to the region. There were no tourists, it was very rural and very quiet, it's known for it's cider, cheese and also a pastry dish called gougère. The Yonne region is just in Burgundy but surrounding it you have the Champagne region, the Centre and Ile de France.

The closest town to Voisines was called Sens. It's quite a small town but the cathedral is huge. We wondered why and eventually found out that it used to be the capital of the ecclesiastic towns of Paris, Meaux, Auxerre, Chartres, Orléans, Nevers and Troyes in the Middle-Ages. Sens also has an outdoor market every monday and friday that sells mostly clothes and a covered market on the same days that sells all manor of food. The covered market is opposite the cathedral, on the the main square which is lovely. They even have a giant chess game in the middle of this square!

Covered market across the square

Chess in the square

About an hour away is a place called Troyes. It's in the Champagne region. Troyes is a little more touristy because of it's charming medieval houses and also because it's a bigger town. It also has a big cathedral and many other attractions. You can find cute little squares, little churches, lovely gardens and also narrow roads like the Ruelle des chats, so called because cats could jump from one roof to another because it's so narrow. Troyes is also quite good for shopping and eating. It has a shopping street and there are quite a few restaurants around.

Ruelle des chats

Little church garden

Those are the first two towns. I will be writing about the next two next week!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Travel: Paris!

Hi guys! So you might have seen my Paris vlog that I uploaded the other day! Here it is:

Anyway, I'll tell you in detail what we got up to here and give you a few helpful (I hope) tips and tricks.

We took the Thalys in which worked really well and then caught the metro (it's not as complicated as it looks, you just need to take your time with it). 

We got to our hotel which was the Studio Hotel, near the convention metro station. It was a bit strange and small. Our window wouldn't shut for example and it looked very outdated. The staff were lovely and very helpful though, the bed wasn't too uncomfortable, the shower was nice and the location was quite good too. The only thing I regret was the fact that the toilet was outside the bedroom but we didn't seem to be sharing it with anybody. We only paid 180 euros for three nights so very cheap for Paris. One thing you have to remember about Paris are that the hotels can be very hit and miss. You can end up in some fabulous places but you can also be staying in a very cheap looking place.

That afternoon/evening we wandered up Rue de la Convention and ended up at the Seine so we walked down to the Eiffel tower and the Champ de Mars which is lovely but very touristy. After that we went to the Hotel des Invalides which was quite spectacular. We just walked around the gardens and had an ice lolly in the cafeteria but there's also a museum.

We decided to get food so we walked all the way down rue de Vaugirard in search for a sandwich or something and ended up eating in a sort of fast food pasta place. It was a bit salty but good anyway. I couldn't finish mine so I had it for dinner the next day too with an apple and an éclair.
By then we were tired so we just went back to the hotel and watched a film on tv.

The next day, we had pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) for breakfast at a little bakery. We ended up having this every morning because it was yummy and inexpensive. The first thing we did was catch the metro to a stop not far from the Jardin du Luxembourg which is where the Senat is. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous garden. I really enjoyed it and it's very pretty and well kept.

For lunch we just popped into a local supermarket and picked up some bread and salami.

Then, we wanted to go to the Musée d'Orsay but the queue was very long so we kept walking along the Seine. We crossed it near the beginning of the Champs Elysée and the went into the Petit Palais which is opposite the Grand Palais which is more touristy. We didn't have to queue at all and the entrance to see their permanent pieces was free. So if you like classic art, this is a good museum to go to.

Grand Palais
Petit Palais

Once we'd finished visiting the museum we walked up the Champs Elysée a bit but decided it wasn't really that interesting unless you were going shopping.

So we decided to walk all the way back up the Seine and to the Notre-Dame cathedral. This is on an island in the Seine called la Cité. It's quite a nice part of Paris and we would have explored more of it if we had time. Notre-Dame is definitely a must see if you go to Paris. It's absolutely huge and it's an amazing building. Entrance is free but you might have to queue to get in but it's not too long. If you want to visit the tower and/or the treasury then you have to pay.

We walked back over one of the bridges with all the locks on them and then went back to our hotel because we were tired. Again, we just bought some bits and pieces from the shop for dinner.

On our final day we were going to go up the Eiffel tower but when we got there the queues were unbelievable and they weren't moving.

For lunch we just picked up some sandwiches from the shop again.

So we walked all the way to the Pantheon which is a lovely building. In the crypts you can find the tombs of people like Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Voltaire. This was free for all people 18 and under who are from the EU and it wasn't very expensive for the others. I will just warn you that the Pantheon is up quite a steep hill but it's well worth it. You also get a nice view of Paris and the Eiffel tower from up there.

After that, we walked back down to the Jardin du Luxembourg because it was so good that we decided that we wanted to see it again.

Once we'd had a bit of a walk around the park, we made our way to the Louvre to see the gardens and grounds there. If you want to go into any of the big museums in Paris, I would recommend going out of season if you can. We just wandered through the gardens which was lovely and there was quite a buzzing atmosphere around there.

We had decided to go out for dinner on our final night so we trekked around for ages trying to find somewhere that did vegetarian because I can't eat heavy meat. In the end we just settled for a pizza place which was really nice and friendly. I think it was called Alfio on the Boulevard de la Bourdonnais near the Champs de Mars. We even had some yummy Champagne!

Then it was time to go back to the hotel. We had a train at about 1 pm the next day so we packed in the morning and then went out to have breakfast and get food for lunch and then it was time to go.
Paris is a fabulous city and I would really recommend you visit. I loved every minute of our stay there and will definitely go back!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

July favourites

So this is a little late but here is the video I uploaded today where I talk about some of the things I've loved this July.

Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

New York haul

Still sticking to the New York theme in this post. Just a quick one to let you know that I have (finally) got a new video on my YouTube channel.

It's a haul of all the things I bought while I was in New York. Hope you enjoy it!

PS: Next post won't be about New York, promise!