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Top 10 Best Things to See and Do in Paris

Top 10 Best Things to See and Do in Paris

Just in case you are ‘all excited’ about learning THE 10 best things in Paris, I have to warn you that there really isn’t an agreed up ‘top 10’ of best things to visit in Paris.

What constitutes ‘best’ depends on who you are and what excites you. However, most of the ‘Top 10’ destinations within Paris that I’m highlighting here should be included in the itinerary of any visit to Paris, as they are of international fame and universal interest.

 

Paris has always been a place for kings, royal prestige, art and romance. So, in this context then, let me offer …

 

Top 10 Best Things To See & Do In Paris, France

1.  Eiffel Tower  (La Tour Eiffel)

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Photo by Thalamus

The Eiffel tower is the icon that stands for ‘Paris, France’.

Possibly the most visited paid monument around the world.  It’s one of those great –all-around places: wonderful to picnic under and great to take photos from the top, and delightful to walk.

This building, which is the tallest in Paris, was constructed in 1889 for the World Fair.  Currently also used as radio broadcasting tower.

 

 

On to the 2nd Best Thing To See & Do in Paris ….

Paris ‘Je Suis Charlie’ Peace Rally, January 11, 2015

Millions of people made the trip to Paris to participate in this afternoon’s peace rally.  Officials from many European countries participated in the rally, as well as many local Parisians.

 

The rally was an act of solidarity.

The rally was organized in response to this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris,  which literally shocked the world.    The major attack was on the newsroom of Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly cartoon publication.  But there were others.

 

‘Je suis Charlie’ became the slogan for solidarity with the victims of the attacks; it was written all over Paris.

je suis charlie - peace rally paris january 2015


Rally participants still chanting on top of the ‘Statue of the Republic’ hours after the demonstration.

 

Today’s focus was on peace (no hate), freedom of speech, and the French’s love for the satirical, humorist writers, besides the world’s sadness and shock of this week’s events.


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Cartoonists around the world responded.

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Today the slogan of the French revolution is once again relevant:  liberte’ egalite’ and fraternite’.


je suis charlie

Rally participants on the column on the Bastille, symbol of the French Revolution.

 

‘It is better to die standing, than to live kneeling.’ ~ Charl.

 


Je suis charlie

Altar for ‘Je Suis Charlie’ at Place de la Republique, Paris.

 

The rally was also in honor and mourning of additional terrorists killings this week, incl. of municipal police woman in training in a Paris suburb, Clarisse, who as doing a two month internship from Guadelupe.


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7 ‘Other’ Museums of Paris that are well-worth a visit

7 ‘Other’ Museums of Paris that are well-worth a visit

Ok. There is the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay – probably the best known and most widely visited of all of Paris’ museums. Once you’ve seen them, you probably want to go shopping for a day or two, because there is a wealth of art there. But after that, perhaps you are wondering what ‘other’ museums of Paris could be of interest.

Truth is, Paris hosts many other beautiful but often overlooked museums that you might like to add to your itinerary. Here is a list of museums that are well-worth seeing:

1. Musee Picasso. (Metro: St. Paul) A chronological collection of more than 3000 works of Pablo Picasso together with the artist’s own collection of Cezanne, Degas, Rousseau, Seurat, Mattisse, and various personal archives.

2. Musee Marmottan-Monet. (Metro: La Muette) While a lesser known and more recent museum, it has one of the world’s largest collection of Monet’s. The works were provided by the physician (Georges de Bellio) of Manet, Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir, in 1957 and by the Monet’s second son, Michel, in 1966.

3. Musee Rodin. (Metro: Varenne) Seven acres in the building, courts, and spectacular gardens of the Hotel Biron contains both bronze and plaster sculptures (e.g. The ‘Thinker’, and ‘Gates of Hell), sketches, paintings and archives of Auguste Rodin. An excellent venue.

4. Musee Delacroix. (Metro: St. Germain des Fres) The works of Eugene Delacroix presented in the artist’s apartment and studio. Exhibits rotate between his drawings, pastels and watercolours.

5. Musee Malliol. (Metro: Rue du Bac) A museum of 20th Century art collected by Dina Vierny, including works of Gauguin, Bonnard, Redon, Kandinsky, and others. There are permanent exhibits dedicated to Jacques Villon, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Marcel Duchamp, and to the French Primitivists.

6. Musee Guimet. (Metro: Lena) The museum is the French National Museum of Asian Art. It includes precious art and artefacts from South Asia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Indonesia. It also offers the Galleries of the Buddhist Pantheon together with a Japanese Garden and Tea Pavillion of exquisite quality.

7. Mysee Carnavalet. (Metro: St. Paul) New to Paris? Then be sure to visit this small but delightful Paris Museum. The museum is dedicated to the history of Paris itself. In it are both permanent and temporary exhibits highlighting the long history of Paris and its culture. The museum is housed in the Hotel Carnavalet and an adjoining mansion, which explains its name.

These 7 museums are smaller and certainly not as well-known. But each offers a unique view of the real Paris and its many fine artists. Be sure to see at least one or two of these boutique museums on your next visit to Paris.


S.E. of France: Top 10 Places to Visit

By Vera Lang

Looking for places to visit in the South East of France? Well, I would not skip the Cote d’Azur as it’s a special place. If you’re traveling by train from Italy back to the UK, you’ll most likely pass right through it.

Top 10 Destinations in SE France

(places in order of driving from Italy;
not ranked as best to worse)

1. Monaco: casino & nearby garden with meat eating plants

2. Nice: various impressionist art museums.

3. Nice old town. It’s beautiful and filled with fun little shops and places to eat. Did you know that the streets are narrow as a natural ‘air conditioning’-system for the town; not because towns at that time were build that way….

4. St. Paul de Vence: the world famous Maeght Foundation museum; and the fantastic old town itself. Walk along the outskirts of the town and make sure you get a coffee with a view. Gorgeous view, gorgeous town, gorgeous art everywhere!

5. Antibes: see the old market, and the old fort where Picasso used to work (there’s a Picasso museum now), and of course the wonderful harbour. Eat fish in the old town.

6. Villefranche: the Musee Renoir there was the artist’s home for the last twelve years of his life.

7. Biot is an ancient town known for its pottery. Very pittoresquely set on a mountain top.

8. Cannes: old town and harbour side. Gorgeous. Have a wonderful meal on a terrasse with ocean view and enjoy the sun, year round.

9. Grasse: visit the parfume factories and their nearby flower fields

Go beyond this, and drive for a couple of hours more and you’ll be in ..

10. Comptes: a town in inland Provence which is ‘in the middle of nowhere’. In the Auberge you can get a beautiful room and a wonderful 3-course meal that is just unbelievable for its location. Besides the auberge, the pub, the police station, a shop and the great, region-serving bakery, there’s nothing there, … oh besides, of course, its tower church. Beautiful hiking trails nearby. A once in a lifetime experience to be in a town where nothing seems to happen. Therefore, the road is just 1 horse (car) wide. There are campsites/ chambres d’hote not too far out of town.

For the coastal destinations 1-8, I’d find a campsite near Antibes and take daytrips to the other towns. All towns can be reached by train/bus.

There you have it. A great top 10 in the south east of France.

Top Four Drives Toulouse

Fiona Hilliard

1. Limoux-Scene
The pretty town of Limoux is within a one-hour’s drive of Toulouse. Limoux is a market town, situated on the River Aude.

The town is perhaps most famous for its winter festival (known as Fécos), which takes place between January and Easter each year. At any time of the year, visitors to Limoux will find a wide range of restaurants and eateries to suit every budget and taste. Locals here spend many hours lounging around at cafés in and around the Place de la Republique in the town square. The town’s thriving café culture comes to life during the Fécos, when colourful clowns duck in and out of establishments, followed by bands of cheery musicians. Meanwhile, Place dela Republique hosts a weekly market, where it’s possible to purchase cheap local produce such as cheese and wine.

2. Albi Back
Albi is the capital of the Tarn departément and is situated 80 kilometres to the northeast of Toulouse. The medieval town is famous as being the birthplace of artist Toulouse Lautrec and today is known as the home of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. The museum houses more than 1000 pieces of the artist’s works, including 31 of his famous commercial posters.

A walk through the city offers the chance to check out the city’s distinctive pinkish- coloured Languedoc style brickwork. Buildings of particular interest include: Sainte Cécile Cathedrale, which pertains to be the world’s largest single brickwork construction.

Golfers will enjoy a round at Golf d’Albi Lasbordes, which is the longest 18-hole golf course in the Tarn departément.

3. Pretty Penne
La Penne’s appeal is its simple setting amongst rolling hills and patchwork fields. The village has an interesting history, dating back to medieval times. A walk around the town is one way to while away a few hours. Attractions include Saint-Roch church and its charming chiming bell tower which dates back to the 13th century. The impressive donjon tower which looms above the village is also worth a look.

Lunch at L’Auberge de la Penne is a special treat which offers low cost local organic fare, as well as panoramic views of Gorge d’Aveyron.

4. Heavenly St Antonin
The picturesque village of St Antonin is situated on the banks of the Aveyron and is ideally suited to a range of sporting activities including angling, fishing and walking. The peaceful town can be reached by hire car, within a one-hour drive of Toulouse. A colourful market is held on Sunday mornings in the town, where market traders offer the best of local produce like Couer Fidéle de St Antonin gourmet cheese at a discount price.

Fiona Hilliard is a freelance journalist and writer who specialises in writing travel features for print and on-line media. http://www.argusrentals.com/Europe/France/car-rental-car-hire-Toulouse-Airport.html Car Hire Toulouse

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French Riviera Vacation Guide – Bormes-Les-Mimosas

By Cheryl Antier

Bormes-les-Mimosas means “the Sunny One” and it’s an accurate description of this medieval village that is perched high on a mountain top.

Mimosa - photo by Josep Altarriba

Bormes-les-Mimosas still has the imposing remains of a castle and the rampart walls that protected it during the Saracen invasions. Its official title as the “village of flowers” was given to Bormes-les-Mimosas for good reason – first because of the flowering trees called “Mimosas” that line the streets and lean out over stone walls are as bright as the sun itself.

And secondly, because no matter what time of year you’re visiting the French Riviera, the beauty of Bormes-les-Mimosa will be sure to please. The sun beats down on the pink-tiled houses that crowd together on both sides of the narrow winding streets
and alleys, and window boxes, glazed ceramic pots and gardens overflow with jewel-colored flowers. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time or walked into one of the paintings of an old master.

To those familiar with this quiet little village, one of the most fascinating aspects of Bormes-les-Mimosas are its narrow little alleyways that lead to secret places filled with unexpected treasures. Walk along a narrow alley and turn through a narrow
archway and you might find a bubbling fountain, with the flowing water making music for the birds and a lazy cat napping out in warm sunlight. Or walk down a cobblestone staircase and find yourself in the midst of a tiny public garden.

Turn another way and head up a narrow pedestrian walkway and you’ll come across a comfortable old bench that invites you to sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular views of the bay and the Golden Iles in the distance, or the Massif des Maures mountains.

The nearby coast has always played a very important part in the rich history of Bormes-les-Mimosas. In fact, one of the most famous fortresses in the area, “Bregancon” has been one of the official residences of the president of the French Republic. Perhaps because it sits high above the Mediterranean Sea,and offers complete privacy and security as well as its beautiful gardens, thick forest and its own private beach away from the curious and prying eyes of onlookers and the paparazzi,
Bregancon has always been a favorite weekend and summer get-away of the the president, his family and visiting heads of state or celebrity guests.

You’re invited to a party! Bormes-les-Mimosas is a must-see to add to your vacation itinerary for the sights, sounds and colors that can only be experienced during festival time! Throughout the spring and summer months, Bormes-les-Mimosas is one of “the” spots for true music lover for classical and folk music concerts. Proud of its rich heritage, culture and traditions, the villagers organize a number of other large-scale events throughout the year, including the “Festival of the Mimosas” during January, the
traditional “Corso Fleur” that attracts thousands of visitors every year in February (and which, for those of us who live here, really heralds the coming of spring!)

In May the “Sports en Lumiere” celebrates sports for everyone and is a great time to see many of France’s top-level athletes. Autumn means a celebration of the grape harvests with the “Santo Coupo” and there’s even a car rally in October, for visitors who enjoy a little more excitement. And finally, Bormes-les-Mimosas shouldn’t be missed if you’re planning a trip to the French Riviera in December, because the entire village is transformed into a living “crib” as it is called, and celebrates Christmas and the
little Santons figures that Provence is known for with traditional costumes, food and fun.

Looking for a break from the crowded beaches of the French Riviera, or the wall-to-wall people packed into Saint Tropez during the summer months? Come to the harbor of Bormes-les-Mimosas and sit in a sidewalk cafe, sipping on a cool drink while you enjoy watching the yachts and sailboats whose captains have recently begun to discover this beautiful port. Then you can lazily wander along the coastal footpaths to find hidden creeks, and beautiful sandy beaches. Or enjoy the many amenities of the Golden Isles and try scuba diving, water-skiing, windsurfing or sailing.

Bormes-les-Mimosas is also a haven for painters, potters, ceramists and artisans who work with silk, leather, wool, wood and metal. You’ll also find soap makers and sellers and other vendors who will set up shop on the little alleyways in the summertime, and offer real bargains for those who want to take a little of Provence and the “Sunny One” home with them!

About the Author

Learn all about where to go and what to do in the French Riviera from an American who lives there! Discover the best places to eat, stay and shop. Why settle for an ordinary vacation, when you can create an extraordinary one? French Riviera Vacation Guide

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