Tag Archives: paris
August 1, 2015

Become a Parisian during your trip to Paris

WOP Logo - We Own Paris

WOP Logo - We Own Paris

When it comes to Paris, the most romantic city in the world, you probably want to know everything about it. No doubt you’d love to grasp the authenticity of its secrets, enjoying your trip through the eyes of Parisian people. We Own Paris (WOP app) travels with you to make you appreciate things fully, while experiencing a dash of Parisian daily life.

homepage we own paris WOP appMuch more than a simple mobile application, it is your personal interactive TravelMate to help you get away from the traditional flow of tourism. According to your mood and needs, WOP always gives you personal tips; restaurants, bakeries, art galleries, etc.  Thanks to its private transporting services, WOP will also help you discover unique attractions around Paris, vibrant capital of France.

Visiting Paris through Parisian eyes is a special experience. Two Parisian friends, passionate about their city and soul travellers, depict Paris, the one they really love, in all its charm. They’ve personally reviewed the best addresses and conjured up Paris as you have never seen it, immersing travellers in a unique journey: the perfect combination of tradition, culture, leisure and authentic vibes.

The WOP App gives you useful tips about daily Parisian life. On your arrival you receive goodies to use during your stay. Through an integrated e-boutique, you have the possibility to extend your Parisian experience while enjoying trustworthy French products, selected on the base of different themes such as gastronomy, fashion and wine. As a souvenir of your visit, WOP can send you a personal photobook with all the photos you took with your phone during your stay.

WOP shows you unknown places and perspectives in and around Paris, far from fixed schedules. Off the beaten track, beneath all of that, an incredible ambition is hidden: to help travellers get to know each other, creating a community of WOPers who will share activities and spend time together.

This post is in collaboration with CUDLINK, a young and dynamic company operating in the Tourism sector in France. Aware of this country’s attractiveness to tourists worldwide, CUDLINK aims at improving quality service offered to visitors. Parisians by birth and travellers in the soul, CUDLINK’s founders have created WOP to help tourists visit Paris as if they were living there.

June 16, 2015

Plan your trip to France the easy way

My very first trip to France was with school to Paris many years ago, where the boys went off and got drunk in a bar that was perfectly happy to serve 15 and 16 year olds. The girls kept wandering off to look in shops and giggle at the handsome French guys. The teachers struggled to herd pupils round sights they weren’t that bothered about seeing and at night went to each other’s rooms to drink cheap plonk and try to unwind … I know that because I was one of those teachers and I vowed one day to return to Paris and see the sights properly, without playing the role of reluctant sheep dog.

eiffel-tower-paris-france

Eiffel Tower – photo France-Voyage.com

It was 20 years before I got back to Paris and this time we did all the sights without student distraction. The Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre, the Tuilleries Gardens, Notre Dame and even out to the glorious Palace of Versailles – all magical and beautiful even with lots of other tourists around. Another time we took the car over and explored charming Northern France, with its lush pasturelands and historic towns. More recently I went to see World War One sites in the footsteps of WW1 poet Wilfred Owen.

wilfred owen house maison forestiere france

Wilfred Owen Maison Forestiere

If you plan a trip to France, you may be wondering how on earth to organise what to see, when to go and where to stay in such a diverse and big country. There are lots of guidebooks and websites, blogs and articles for you to trawl through, but ideally what you want is a one-stop solution, where everything you need to know is all in one place. Well, I came across France-Voyage.com recently and it’s perfect for planning every aspect of a trip to France, whether it’s French chateaux, ancient cathedrals or to follow the Tour de France.

Chateau la Rochefoucauld - photo France-Voyage.com

Chateau la Rochefoucauld – photo France-Voyage.com

As well as lots of information on all the regions of France, it’s a goldmine of practical and cultural tips to help make the best use of time on holiday. Other plus points include:

  • Complete, detailed content for tourists covering the whole country;
  • Daily updates in cooperation with official organisations;
  • Multiple illustrations and virtual tours;
  • Easy planning with creation of tailor-made itineraries and mini-guidebooks;
  • Ease of access via an intuitive, user-friendly interface that works on all devices, from smartphones to desktop computers;
  • Geolocated, personalised mobile interface;
  • Multilingual information giving easy access to foreign tourists;
  • Completely free for holidaymakers.
Cannes beach, cote d'azur, france

Cannes beach – photo France-Voyage.com

My favourite trip to France was staying with my boyfriend on a yacht in Cannes; we spent three weeks exploring the south of France. Antibes, St Tropez, Villefranche, Monaco – evocative names on the French Riviera. The smell of lavender takes me back immediately to that lovely holiday. I’m hoping to return for a long weekend on the Côte d’Azur in the autumn  so decided to use the site to plan a long weekend in the Alpes Maritime. As a foodie I love the tips on regional food as well as recommendations for places to eat and drink. There are helpful suggestions for coastal and inland walks and so much info on each village and town that I think we’re going to need a lot more than a weekend to see it all.

villefranche-sur-mer cote d'azur france

Villefranche sur mer – photo France-Voyage.com

This article was written in collaboration with France-Voyage.com.

July 29, 2014

A tasty trio of Europe’s culinary delights

After the weather, food and drink are probably the subjects you will be talking about most after your holiday. As one of the most accessible ways to sample a country’s culture, eating and drinking is not only a pleasure but a requirement of any well-rounded holiday. While a lot of places around the world serve international dishes, it’s the local food staples that are really worth trying.

Italian Frittata at Avanti - photo Zoe Dawes

Italian Frittata at Avanti

And then there’s the wine … Wine tasting is a lovely way to spend a day or a weekend. It’s a perfect complement to a meal, and a pleasant way to unwind after a day of sightseeing. Wine regions like Bordeaux and Burgundy in France and Napa in California are well-known tasting destinations.

Here are three favourite food and wine destinations:

Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi coast, Italy

Sorrento is a small town in Campania, southern Italy. Overlooking the Bay of Naples with views towards Mount Vesuvius, Sorrento is famous for the production of limoncello, a digestif made from lemon rinds; the resort also has a reputation for fine wine, nuts and olives. Also worth visiting on the Amalfi Coast are Capri, for insalata caprese (mozzarella, tomato and basil salad) and the calorific (but amazing!) torta caprese which is an almond and chocolate cake, Minori for fresh scialatielli and ‘ndunderi (similar to Gnocchi) and Naples, the birthplace of pizza.

San Sebastian SpainSan Sebastian

Situated just 30 miles from the French border, San Sebastian, in the Basque region of Spain, is famous for its exceptional cuisine. It is an amazing place to visit as it caters to all; the party goers, the sightsee-ers and families. The city is home to several Michelin star restaurants with the most renowned being the 3 star ‘Arzak’. Basque cuisine includes meat and fish grilled over hot coals, cod, marmitako and lamb stew, pintxos (Basque tapas), Idiazabal sheep’s cheese, Tolosa bean dishes, txakoli sparkling wine, and Basque cider.

Paris

The Eiffel Tower Paris

 

Paris has some of the most beautiful scenery you will ever see, they have endless boulevards like the Champ Élysées, breath-taking historical structures like Montmartre and most importantly heavenly food. From cafés, patisseries and bistros to chic wine bars and gourmet Michelin star restaurants, Paris is absolute heaven for lovers of food and wine. Gastronomes around the world continue to look to Paris as a model and inspiration, and the gourmet traditions established in this country of haute cuisine continue to be.

I’m sure your mouth is watering after reading about some of Europe’s culinary delights, so why not try out a trip to any of these beautiful destinations brought you by Railbookers.

July 3, 2012

Disneyland Paris: Top Tips for a great day out

Travel writer Laura Porter visited Disneyland Paris for the first time with her young daughter recently.  She shares some some tips to help you make the most of your time at this magical Kingdowm.

Disneyland Paris Castle

Disneyland Paris Castle by Laura Porter

From Marne-la-Valle train station you’ll see Disney Village and the two Disney parks. Disney Village is free to enter and is mostly shopping and dining but it’s popular at night too for the Wild West Show and cinemas. Do note, a sandwich and drink from the station is cheaper. Keep your bottle and refill from the water fountains before you go to the parks.  In front of the station are the hotel shuttle buses.   There are plenty of hotels to choose from – book before you go to get the best deal.  My daughter absolutely loved the Magic Circus Hotel. You’ll need at least one day at each park so consider staying three nights.

Magic Circus Hotel

The Magic Circus Hotel

 Park 1: Disneyland Park

Arrive early, and definitely visit this park first as – yes, I know it’s a cliche- it’s magical!  Four zones branch off from Main Street USA: Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland and Discoveryland. Grab a map as you enter, along with a daily events schedule.

Cinderella & Prince Charming

Cinderella & Prince Charming – by Laura Porter

Go to Fantasyland first as it’s best done in the morning before the crowds get too bad.  Ignore the carousel as it’s a common ride (and had ridiculous turn-around times) and head to Peter Pan’s Flight, Dumbo or the Tea Cups as they are close and all great fun.

Teacup-ride

Teacup-ride by Laura Porter

It’s A Small World is an indoor boat ride through displays of moving dolls with a repetitive song. That might not sound appealing but we went twice as little ones love it.  Captain EO, a 3D film, was OK but is only really good if you want to remember what Michael Jackson looked like when he was black.

Even with two days, we only saw Frontierland and Adventureland from the Disneyland Railroad, so plan your days well.

Disneyland Paris Parade

Disneyland Paris Parade by Laura Porter

Where to Eat At Disneyland Paris

Be prepared to live on high sugar treats for a few days. And even though the park is open until 10pm, many food outlets are closed after the 5pm Parade. The best option for dinner is Victoria’s Restaurant (near Central Plaza) where pizza, salad and drinks for two was quite a bargain.

Park 2: Walt Disney Studios Park

This smaller park was simple to navigate, easier to find toilets, and less crowded.  The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was darn scary and not recommended for young children even with the 1m height restriction. The ride involves a hotel elevator freefalling again and again. The Flying Carpets over Agrabah is very similar to the Dumbo ride so there’s no need to do both.

Flying-carpets Ride

Flying-carpets Ride by Laura Porter

Where to Eat At Walt Disney Studios Park

Blockbuster Cafe has the best kid’s meal deals, plus you get a voucher for a free hot drink later too.

FastPass

You can use your ticket on FastPass machines to get an allocated time to return. It’s not at all rides and you can only have one at a time.

Daily Parades

There’s a major parade in each park but get there early as staff (fun police) will constantly move you back, and get in the way of photos, if anyone goes 1cm over the line.

Disneyland Paris Main-Street Parade

Disneyland Paris Main-Street Parade by Laura Porter

It is slightly odd seeing adults wearing mouse ears – especially ones that light-up at night – but if you don’t give in to the fun at Disneyland then where can you?

Laura Porter is a freelance writer and has About.com London Travel, an online travel guide for visitors to London. You can follow her on Twitter at @AboutLondon All Images © Laura Porter. Disney provided her Disneyland Park Pass.

April 2, 2012

Taking it easy by rail from Carnforth to Interlaken

Setting off on a journey from Carnforth Station is rather like being on a film set – the platform and Refreshment Room are very similar to how they looked on that classic 1940s movie Brief Encounter’ – with an exciting journey into the unknown ahead.  This time I was going on a Railbookers holiday to Switzerland and the idea of travelling across Europe by train was most intriguing.

Carnforth Station platform, Lancashire

 A few hours hours later I was comfortably settled in to The Montague, a luxuriously quirky hotel in Bloomsbury.  I had chosen to stay here as it is ideally suited for an early start from St Pancras Station and came highly recommended.  My lovely room (a mini-suite really) was delightful, with a big, comfy bed, some very good art work, a desk where I could write and some gorgeous Penhaligon toiletries – bliss.

Montague toiletries

Up early, after a quick breakfast of fresh fruit, I got a taxi to St Pancras station; highly recommend a glass of bubbly at their Champagne Bar – great way to start a holiday in my view. The station is very well laid out and there are plenty of places to shop, get something to read, buy last minute items you forgot to pack.

Eurostar Departure Lounge - St Pancras

Boarding the Eurostar train I got the first real sense of excitement that comes when I’m off into the unknown. The check-in had been so easy and with pre-booked seats we were able to just get settled in and relax.  As well as it being my first time on Eurostar and train across France, it was my first trip to Switzerland so I spent some time reading my guide book and info provided. We were to stay in Interlaken for 2 nights with a trip on the Jungfrau train up to the highest railway station in Europe. Then we were catching the Glacier Express across the Alps to St Moritz for a couple of days of luxury at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains. What a treat.

Gare de Lyon - Paris

Just over 2.5 hours later we arrived into Paris where we went across the city to the elegantly Belle Epoque Gare de Lyon station.  It’s huge, but very well laid out; we found our platform without getting lost and in a matter of a few minutes.  As we had a bit of time before departure, we splintered off to get some lunch –  a fromage et ham baguette pour moi, of course.  Look up towards the ceiling – there are some wonderful pastel murals on the walls depicting scenes from the south of France and other places the trains go to.

If you’ve travelled through the French countryside on that route you’ll know the scenery is not especially interesting; mainly flat with mostly barren fields and the occasional town to create interest.  However, with good company and a glass or two of vin rouge the hours flew by.  As we got nearer the Swiss border we saw a few more villages and even some hills.  Arriving in Basel on the Swiss-French border, the air was noticeably cooler and I was sure I could hear a cuckoo somewhere in the distance 😉

Map reading on Swiss train

The last leg of our journey took us from the border south to Interlaken.  Snapshots of wooden gables, dark green firs with a dusting of snow, toy-town church steeples and hazy peaks far off, hazily outlined in the dusky light …  Switzerland was finally coming into focus.  Getting off the train at Interlaken station, high above shone a brightly-lit star – a restaurant sign on top of a mountain.    As I took the short walk to the nearby Hotel Krebs I tried to imagine what Alpine view might greet me the next morning …

For a glimpse of the following day’s Jungfrau train trip and the stunning Eiger read here.

Interlaken station

My thanks to Railbookers for arranging a great trip by rail from Carnforth to Switzerland.  They have an excellent choice of Swiss holidays or you can design your own. Thanks also to all the people from the Swiss Tourist Board, hotels and attractions who created a truly memorable trip.

Listen to ‘By rail from Carnforth to Interlaken’ on Audioboo podcast