Parle vous Francais?
I arrived in France on the afternoon of the 31st of July, after a 20hr transit through Perth and then Doha, Qatar. I managed to navigate the Paris train service, only to arrive at the wrong hostel haha! Luckily the correct accommodation was a 15 minute walk along the Siene River - St Christophes Hostel.
the capital of France was founded in the 3rd century BC by celtic people called 'parisi. Paris - the city of light was one of the first European cities to adopt the use of gas lights which are still evident on Parisian streets.
The 1st of August was my free day in Paris. I attempted to see the Catacombs, but unfortunately it was closed on Mondays (don't make my mistake). My brother and I hired Velibs bicycles and found our way to Jardin Du Luxembourg, before heading to Notre Dame cathedral. #hunchbacks
From Notre Dame we rode past Sainte Chapelle Cathedral and the Concierge, Musee dÓrsay and Jardin des Tuileries - before stopping in at the Lourve for that token shot with the pyramid. Lunch was had on Rue de Rivoli, Paris' most famous shopping alley, and consisted of a traditional quiche and salad.
Post lunch we rode down Champs Elysee and Arc de Triomphe - hectic cannot describe this intersection, I was quite glad not to be in a car. We were stopped by deaf-people beggars who were after 50EUR, if you visit Paris make sure not to be conned into these things. Rob and I then raced back to the Eiffel Tower Gardens to join a bike tour with the rest of the crew.
On the bike tour, we stopped at Champ de Mars, Ecole Militaire, Palais de Invalide and the Grand Palais. Was a true #tourlefrance.
We finished up the tour where we started in front of the Eiffel Tower and settled down for a picnic dinner - which consisted of all the local delicacies. Frogs legs, escargot, and beef bourginon to name a few. Post dinner we had a quick stroll around the Trocadero before heading up for the night walk up the Eiffel Tower.
Words cannot describe the Eiffel Tower at night, every hour on the dot there is a flashing light show. Our group managed to be up the top at 10pm and managed to all get 13EUR champagne flutes to celebrate. #unicornclub. We got down from the top in the nick of time for another light show at 11pm - before catching a risky international Uber ride back to the hostel.
is an ancient town in France's countryside that is surrounded by medieval ramparts. The bridge of Avignon has been built and re-built many times throughout the cities. Avignon is the city of exiled popes - Palais de Papes and the Rhone Valley where the town is situated is famous for award-winning French wines.
Our group arrived in Avignon late in the afternoon of the 4th of August. We walked along the cobblestone walkways along Pont du Avignon, strolling around Palais de Papes and the main square. Some of us decided to have to find a hidden bistro for local gems - I ate Ratatouille followed by some Lavande Glace. We settled on the banks of the Rhone river and enjoyed some Syrah & Grenache.
is situated on the French Riviera - the most lavish water front property. Its Promenade des Anglais is world-famous and unfortunately is the site of the truck driving into the crowd on Bastille Day. Nice is best known for its rich and famous lifestyle, roller-skating along Promenade des Anglais, or hitting up the boutique shops in Old town.
7th August - En route to Nice, we travelled through Perpignan & Girona - glimpsing some spectacular views of the Pyrenees. There was a quick stop at Grasse to visit the La Fragonad Perfumery, before setting up camp in Antibes. Where a punch party, carnival rides and a group skinny dip into the Meditteranean was had.
The next morning I set out for an 8km run pre-breakfast visiting the star-shaped Fort Cavre and the Port Vauban Marina. I found an Australian Bar - can't escape the Aussies. After Breakfast the group were dropped in the centre of Nice for an explore.
I visited the Massena, Jardin Albert Ior, Le Paillon Vieux, Nice's Old Chateau, Monument aux Morts before settling down at Ruge Plage for an expensive cola and some Caprese Salad. Expect to pay upto 35EUR for a sun-bed, but trust me - you will definitely need one! The pebbly beaches are painful to say the least and its a challenge climbing up the slippery face to exit the water - not ideal for sun-baking either.
well... its not technically France, but it is a tiny independent city-state along the French Rivierian coastline. The city is most famous for the Monte Carlo casino, its expensive yacht lined harbours, and the Grand Prix's hairpin turn. Monaco may be the second smallest country but it is the most densely populated. 30% of Monaco's population is made up of millionaires - they even rejected Michael Jackson's application three times. The Grimaldi family have ruled Monaco since 1297 - and the countries residents pay no income taxes and have low business taxes. The Prince of Monaco is also known for famously marrying the actress Grace Kelly.
In Monaco, the group stopped in for a look at the Le Palais des Princes de Monaco, and the Cathedrale de Monaco, which both over look the Port de Fontvielle. The cobblestone walkways were picturesque and the views out over the Meditteranean Sea were stunning. We then headed out to the Monte Carlo Casino and had a sneak peak at the stunning architecture of the Opera de Monte-Carlo, and oogled at the super expensive sports cars parked out the front, Mazerati, Ferrari's you name them...
Apparently the chaffeurs shuffle them as to importance and value, with only the best cars allowed to park near the entrance to the casino.
This area of Monaco overlooks La Condamine, where only the fanciest of fancy yachts and boats can moor. Inside the Casino was just as lavish (don't forget to bring your passport) with only the most expensive food and beverages served. Some of the guys managed to get onto a roulette table, but no one hit the jackpot.
Things France does best -
France is on just about everyones bucket list, and the facts prove it too. In 2012, France was the worlds top tourist destination and attracted 20million more tourists in the years than the countrys population.
France is also critically ranked as one of the most romantic countries in the world also. Just take the many lock bridges as examples.
French pastries - need I say more...
Cycling - easy way to view cities. France is so accessible for cyclists - they don't host the Tour le France for no reason.
Politeness and the French language - if you don't try to speak some French then there is no politeness. But come on, if a tourist didn't try to speak your language then wouldn't you be annoyed too?