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Posts in ‘Sightseeing & Culture’

See everything with Paris hop on hop off bus tours.

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blog-picture1Paris is filled with some extraordinary famous landmarks and monuments which everyone should aim to explore at least once in their lifetime. The intricate designs provide a pathway into the city’s deep and meaningful past, and show how rich in culture and glamour the French capital has always been. The Paris hop on hop off bus is a great way to discover as much of Paris as you can in a short time. Just simply use the pass for the desired number of days and explore the best of Paris to your hearts content.

The Eiffel Tower winds high above the city, giving amazing 360 degree panoramic views of the picturesque capital. It is the most iconic landmark in Paris, and it is impossible to visit this breathtaking city without experiencing the Eiffel Tower. Its steel exterior was shunned by Parisians at the time it was built due to its ugliness, but now draws in visitors from far and wide. It houses three floors and two restaurants, in which visitors can either climb or take a lift to dine on the scrumptious food, or simply peer out over the most spectacular views of the French capital.

The Notre Dame is one of the most famous cathedrals in the Western world. Great novels have been set here, with Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hiding away from the world in the bell tower. However, there is so much more to this beautiful cathedral than works of fiction. The cathedral was fully completed in 1345, after almost two centuries of construction. Many historic figures held coronation celebrations in the Notre Dame, such as Napoleon I and his wife Josephine.

The Paris hop on hop off bus stops right outside these attractions and more. Be sure not to miss a thing with the Paris hop on hop off bus.

Image courtesy of Flickr

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The Best Things to do in the Isle of Skye

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Scotland is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Its vast landscape seems to roll on forever. Its hills, cliffs, seashores and many islands which dot the coast creates scenery so serene than not than many other places compare. The Isle of Skye is one of the pleasant islands which line the coast. Situated on the West Coast of Northern Scotland, it is the second largest Scottish island, with a population of around 9,232.

This island, whilst relatively small, has so much going on, with so much to see and discover which is why Isle of Skye tours are great for anyone wanting to discover the best of this picturesque place.

The largest town on the Isle of Skye is Portree. This is a great area for visitors to stay in as it enables them to easily explore the island whilst having amenities close by. The town has the islands only secondary school, the Aros centre of Gaelic heritage, and has been used in some films including Harry Potter and Made of Honor.

Points of interest on the island include Neist Point, a viewpoint where visitors can look out to sea and see dolphins, whales, porpoises and basking sharks. There is also a lighthouse here which was built in 1909. The Dunvegan Castle is also a great place to visit. This castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, and was opened to visitors in 1933. The castle towers over Loch Dunvegan which is home to many seal colonies. The island also has the Talisker Distillery, which produces the islands Single Malt Scotch whisky. The Cuillin Hills are a main tourist attraction also. These rocky hills are famous to hikers and mountaineers due to the rough rock which makes it easy to climb.

Be sure to explore all the wonders on this stunning island with Isle of Skye tours.

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Paris tourist attractions

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I don’t want to be rude about Paris or anything but it is hard to get excited about the Paris tourist attractions that you see on postcards, on film, in your friends’ photographs all the time. This attitude normally lasts until you get there as the romance and humbling nature of the great sights still has the ability to captivate despite being so well-known throughout the world. So, get to know the city all over again in a new light and find there is much more to see in so many more ways than most guide books will tell you.
The best way to see Paris in another dimension, as with any other city in any continent on the planet is to take a tour. The real life equivalent of taking a more informative Wikipedia with you on holiday can open your eyes to the huge amounts of history, bizarre facts and exciting happenings that surround the buildings and streets you thought you knew so well. The more obscure ways to see Paris can also be the most enlightening; the new and futuristic (and not at all dangerous)  Segways, floating along the Seine or even by horse and carriage will open the city up to a whole new world of interpretation. T here are a multitude of different personas this city can take on if you look at from a different angle.
It is not just how you choose to travel around the city but also what you do when you get there. Have you ever considered immersing yourself in a kitchen in France rather than just enjoying the food? Learn to cook with the experts, sip wine with those in the know and stimulate the nasal passage with a perfume making experience in the capital splashed on a thousand perfume adverts. New smells and sights reawaken the sense at night when Paris and its tourist attractions are reborn under a different guise and more alluring light. The illuminations at the Eiffel Tower can be seen for miles around but can be the highlight of a nighttime bike tour around the city and are best enjoyed from the Trocadero in front of the monument.
However well you thought you knew the city that never fails to surprise, elate and provide some of the most fantastic sights with the richest history in all of Europe, be prepared to fall in love again, as with an old flame rekindled. There is a reason why people visit this city again and again and always leave asking each other: Encore une fois?

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The Louvre Museum

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Have you ever wondered why the Mona Lisa sits with her hands folded across her lap or why the Venus de Milo is lacking both her arms? Find out more than any guide book will tell you with a guided tour of the Louvre museum in Paris.

With over 35,000 works of art housed within the former royal palace it is impossible to see, know and absorb everything in a week, let alone a day. A tiny bit of organization before leaving could mean the difference between spending all day snaking your way around the pyramid in a long queue, or going straight to the front and leaving a few hours later full of useful and fascinating artistic wisdom.

Discover where Dan Brown got his inspiration from and why the royal family chose to abandon the incredible building as their official residence. Take full advantage of an expert guide on buying Louvre tickets and make sure they answer any question, no matter how obscure.

Buying Louvre tickets in advance allows for more time exploring the surroundings including the Louvre palace itself, house of the royal collections since 1793 as well as the Jardins de Tuileries on the other side of the Arc de triomphe du Carrousel.

There is a whole host of things to discover in Paris and although it can be difficult to fit all of these things in it could be a more worthwhile option to explore a few in depth than cram everything into one weekend. Louvre tickets allow for both, saving time while you could have been queuing and offering you insightful access to the museum.

Be warned though, you could find yourself missing that most English of pastimes, queuing

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See the panoramic views from the Eiffel Tower Restaurant

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As you drop your knife over the edge of the basket and hear the screams from below you realize your dreams of dining above the streets of Paris was probably not best achieved in a shaky and cramped hot air balloon. If only you had known the Eiffel Tower restaurant was easy to book and not out of your price range before you had to make a getaway to Russia with just hot air and the unpredictable weather to take you there.

58 Tour Eiffel is closer than you think, and can be booked as part of varying kinds of tours whether for lunch, dinner or anything in between. Sit on stable ground above vistas of Paris and its surroundings during a shining and sunny day in April or frost-bitten and misty night in December. Either option seems perfect if you are planning a romantic weekend with nothing but romance, romance and a bit more romance and is organized at the click of a mouse rather than going to elaborate lengths to impress the girl of your dreams and leaving the fate of the most romantically romantic weekend to chance.

Although a choice venue for couples the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant is becoming one of the most respectable and well-renowned restaurants in Paris after a refurbishment in 2009. Fine food, impeccable service, the finest wines and panoramic views raise this restaurant from tourist trap to a delectable experience for all the senses. The restaurant has the tendency to be extremely busy throughout the year, but booking as part of a sightseeing tour or nighttime visit through the city is one way to ensure your table above the hustle and bustle.

The Eiffel Tower restaurant is the simple and hopefully extremely effective method for impressing your choice of date without going to perilously dangerous lengths and can be the perfect sojourn in a busy and otherwise action-packed trip to Paris.

With more and more elaborate activities, trips and experiences on offer in any destination across the globe, risking the lives of visitors with the danger of falling cutlery, keep it simple and spend an evening with the old-fashioned but never out of fashion components; fine food, fantastic location and lofty conversation.

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Don’t be Scared of an Alternative Halloween Across the Channel

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Does the thought of having to find a costume for Halloween fill you with more dread than the haunting face of a man wielding a chainsaw? If so, Europe could be the answer. With some semblance of a cultural festival still being celebrated across the Channel you can take advantage of an excuse for a holiday without the dodgy eye make-up, fraying bandages and the handing out of ‘treats’ to hungry teenagers.

For a last minute trip Paris is the perfect option, and easily accessible. The city of love is slowly becoming one of horror for one night of the year only, but like the rest of Europe celebrates All Saints Day on November 1st, where the dead are honoured and the graves of loved ones are visited to pay respects. This also constitutes a national holiday so many attractions will be closed. The Paris Hop-on Hop-Off Bus takes in all the sights and runs all year, so while Parisians are paying their respects, the city can be explored. The route takes in all the most popular sites such as the Louvre, Champs de Mars, Notre Dame and the Champs-Élysée. continue reading

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Eat…Pray, Love

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You might wonder what taking a hop on hop off Rome tour, buying Last Supper tickets, and embarking upon a Venice gondola ride have in common with Julia Roberts. If you’ve seen her latest film, then you will know that one third of it takes place in Italy, where all three of the above experiences can be enjoyed. continue reading

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Winter Delights in Paris

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When the chilly November winds begin howling down the boulevards of Paris, the locals simply do as they always have: Turn up their collars, go about their business and complain archly that such weather is simply un-Parisian. For visitors however, winter in Paris can reveal a trove of treasures from cosy Paris boutique hotels to glistening markets that the summer tourist will never experience. Be sure to invest in a very warm coat with all the trimmings (boots, gloves and hats are highly recommended) and stay outside – there is much to see and do in the City of Love, even in winter.

continue reading

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Alternative Travel in Spain

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Spain’s busiest beaches and exciting cities have been hot tourist spots forever. Independent travellers and those looking for an adventure will revel once in these buzzing centres but will soon crave more unique experiences on the Spanish peninsula. How about a road trip through one or more of Spain’s distinct regions, sampling culture and cuisine and staying in historic Paradores hotels?

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How to avoid being cheated in Paris cafés

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This is the other side of the medal, as they say in France, of those little old style Parisian cafés.
Nothing really illegal, but sometimes they bend the rules to the point that unsaavy tourists end up paying fat bills.
 
More light on this:
- Most cafés have a clear menu on each table, with all items and prices clearly displayed.
But others will only bring you a printed menu upon request. In some cases they assume that you
don’t need the menu for simple orders (coffee, drinks) and that’s precisely where they
get you. Your bill will show fantasy prices based upon the look of your clothes.
- The “riskier” areas are the famous Paris hop on hop off bus tourist spots: Ile de la Cité (around Notre Dame), Saint Michel, Saint Germain, the restaurants area around Les Halles/Chatelet.
-“Would you like some X with that?” is a typical strategy to sell you more without telling you
it’s more expensive, sometimes by a lot. Adding milk to coffee can add 1-2 euros.
Adding a side salad to a steak can add 4-6 euros to the bill.
- Serving a larger size than requested is quite typical, especially when hiding behind
linguistic incomprehension (sometimes faked). For example draught beers: the standard serving
is called “Démi” and it’s about 20cl. The larger option is called “Serieux” and is around 40cl, roughly the same as a British “pint”. Well, if you just ask for “a beer” without being specific, chances are you’ll get a pint, or even sometimes one full litre. For coffee: the default size for
coffee is a small cup, but don’t be surprised if you get a large bowl. A generic “café creme” order
will get you a large bowl unless you specify “petit” or “noisette”.

continue reading

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