eiffel-tower

The Best Three Days in Paris Itinerary

Paris is one of the my favourite European cities with its French cuisine, countless museums, historic architecture and charming parks. I treated my sister with two tickets to Paris for her 18th birthday so that she could go with her best friend to see the Christmas Markets. Because my family still had some reservations about her going alone, I had to go and just be their point of contact if they need. Who wouldn’t turn down tickets to Paris!? 

In my opinion, Paris is not a once and done type of city. I would happily return again and again, especially with my husband. Paris is just so vase and there is so much to explore. Im going to give you a brief breakdown of what I did in each of the three days. You will find that it was pretty laid back because I went to Paris as an opportunity to de-stress from work and to re-connect with myself. In other words, I wanted to see the main attractions but also soap up the wonder of Paris at a street side café, indulge in way too many croissants at a local patisserie, watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night and just feel the city envelope you – that’s part of the Parisian charm!

As we went in late November, we were lucky enough to experience the French Charismas market. There’s an extra dose of magic when visiting Paris in winter. So dig out your scarf and glove and see the best three day itinerary for Winter. 

Day 1

After checking into the hostel, my sister and I parted ways. The first thing I always like to do is go on a free guided walking tours to learn more about the city’s history and to get my bearings. This is what I go up to on day 1: 

Walking tour 

I booked the walking tour with Sandman’s as I’ve used them before and know they are brilliant. The 3 hours ‘Free Tour of Paris’ covers many of Paris’ top attractions, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Arc de Triopmhe. It started at the Saint Michel Fountain and ended at the Louvre. It was a great introduction to Paris at a price that suits everybody’s budget. 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame was the first stop of the walking tour and was the most architecturally impressive in my opinion. Like many other cathedrals, it was very intricately detailed and had some beautiful glass-stained windows. The cathedral has free entry so before the tour began, I quickly went inside to appreciate its beauty. Unfortunately, due to the huge fire last year, the church is closed for the foreseeable future until they do the repairs.  

notre-dame-paris-france-sister

Louvre

After walking along the Seine for about 40 minutes, passing iconic sites such as Alexandre iii bridge and the Tulleries Garden, the tour ended at the world-famous Louvre Museum. The louvre is home to hundreds of medieval ruins and priceless artefacts from around the world. It also happens to be the largest museum in the world. I did find the museum to be expensive as you have to pay for each separate section – so I just opted for the site with Mona Lisa and that was plenty for me. Catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa was on my bucket list, so I didn’t want to pass this opportunity by. 

inside-louvre

Even if you don’t plan to go inside, I would aim to at least visit the outside of the Louvre as the architecture is simply stunning. 

Galeries Lafayatte 

The two grand shopping complexes along Boulevard Haussmann are Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Both stores are completely decked our with stunning window displays. I went to the stunning dome shaped 10 story Galeries Lafayette after dinning as I was keen to see the larger than life-sized Christmas tree, which has a different theme each year. 

I loved just walking around each floor of the shopping mall. I bought a gold bracelet from this pop-up stall Lou Yetu as the queue was leading to outside the mall. It is also home to one on of the best free panoramic views in the city if you go its rooftop terrace. You can also ice skate on the roof of this department store, but as I was alone, I didn’t think it would be fun. 

At this stage, i was absolutely exhausted and started to get hangry, with myself as i had no-one to aim my hanger towards. I have no idea where i walked or how long i walked for, but it seemed like more than an hour. I reached this neighbourhood which was evidently not very popular with the tourists. I was craving a duck confit and finally came across this adorable french restuartaunt. I had the nicest conversation with the waiter and ordered duck confit. I just remember sitting down and my head was so clogged up with thoughts about work, family, friends, life that i just pulled my notebook and started writing. I really enjoyed it, especially with the candle and dim-lit room. The food also exceeded my expectations! Im a terrible travel blogger as i should have noted down the name, but it felt good being lost in the moment.

Day 2

French Market

En route to Eiffel Tower, we stumbled the most French street market you can imagine. It was the cutest thing – I picked up some cheese from here. 

Eiffel Tower

There is nothing more Parisian than catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We also ascended the Eiffel Tower – even though it provided a great view over the city. I personally don’t think it was worth it, and you’re better off seeing from the top of Arc de Triomphe or another rooftop bar. Luckily there was no queue when we went so it didn’t necessarily eat up my time. 

Eiffel-tower-christmas-market

Arc de Triomphe

Another must-see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe; a monument in honour of troops who fought in the French Revolutionary. Its located at one of the Champs Elysees and is looks very majestic. Its worth checking out from the outside and if you have the chance, to go up to the very top. 

Champs Elysees 

This is the oxford street of France – a huge boulevard lined with famous French luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Cartier. I spent a long time just sitting outside in Paul café, reading my book, people watching and drinking coffee and eating their amazing pastries. 

Dinner at Bouillon Chartier 

I heard great things about the Bouillon Chartier. It shows a slice of Parisian history as its perfect-preserved relic of an old Paris, with glass-globe fixtures, tables jammed together, coat racks high above the tables and a menu that hasn’t changed in the last three or four decades. I was eternally curious… 

Bouillon Chartier is tucked away down an alley off a side street, Bouillons were established so anyone can get affordable traditional French food and speedily. There are very few left and the price of started range from €1 – €6.80 and mains not exceeding €13.50 (and that includes steak). Its no wonder there was a queue snaking outside into the street. I expected lots of tourists, but I surrounded by the locals. It wasn’t too long before I was sat in this beautifully ast room, elbow to elbow with some strangers on a shared table and digging into my steak. 

Going to a restaurant is an experience and never just about your meal. Its about the room, the service and everything in between. The steak I had was absolutely delicious but the experience was even better.

Day 3

I wanted to do something slightly different on the third day and explore a new district. I was recommended by my colleague to go to Montmartre to soak up with 18th arrondissement’s ambiance. I definitely did not regret it as it was my favourite part of the trip. The hilltop neighbourhood of Montmartre was once synonymous with drinking, dancing and debauchery. This is because in the mid-19th century, it was just outside the city limits meaning it is free of the city’s taxes and controlled and ultimately evolved into a bohemian, artistic enclave. I did a self-guided walking tour of this unique city. 

Place Dalida

This stunning location is named after Dalida, a legendary Italian-Egyptian singer who is absolutely huge in France. I just know her from her rendition of Bang Bang, which is just perfection. 

Dalida’s Parisian home was in Montmartre and it was only after she died that the city named this square after her and installed the bust of her. You’ll notice a few shiny places because its apparently good luck to rub it – hmmmm. Say hi to the bust of Dalida and continue up the stunning Rue de l’Abreuvoir, the most beautiful street I saw in Paris. 

Moulin Rouge

This Is the birthplace of the can-can dance. I wanted to go to a show here but the tickets were sold out. Maybe next time… 

Le Moulin de la Galette

Le Moulin de la Galette is the last remaining windmills in Montmartre and also a tourist attraction. This windmill, once used for grinding flour is a favourite of Vincent Van Gogh. The owners of the windmill created a brown bread (Galette) that was so popular that the windmill got its name from it. 

Sacre-Coeur

Built in late 1800s, Sacre Coeur, otherwise known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is one of the most famous churches in Paris. I enjoyed going inside the church and also just enjoying the sunset over the city. However – be cautious with your personal belongings as there many pickpockets around. 

I couldn’t leave Paris without trying a fresh Macaron from a bakery. I came across one on the way back to the accomodation and was blown away. It was so fresh and sweet that i had to go back and buy a box for my family!

french-macarons-paris-bakery

Do you have any questions about travelling to Paris that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂

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Why You Should Visit Marmaris, Turkey

Marmaris is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. Located in the Mulga province in the south-west of Turkey, Marmaris is filled with gorgeous beaches, great restaurants, friendly people and great full-day tours.  For those adventurous travellers – there are also lots of options for you. 

My family and i just wanted a relaxing Turkish summer holiday and Marmaris was perfect for that. It had the perfect combination to make everyone in the family happy – for those family members who want to just chill on the beach all day (my brother), eat all day (my sister) or wants to mix it up with some activities (me). 

Here is a list of why Marmaris should be your next summer vocation.

Excellent, yet affordable 5* resorts  

There is no shortage of accommodation in Marmaris, Turkey as it’s a very popular summer destination for European travellers, especially with us Brits. There is a variety of accommodation suitable for all budget types – from hostels and apartments for those on a budget and to 5* hotels if you are looking for luxury. 

My family and I stayed at the luxury 5* hotel – D-Resort Grand Azur Marmaris, located only 15-20 minutes walk from Central Marmaris and the Marine. It has a freshwater pool in the most beautiful tropical setting as well as a private beach. My sister and brother appreciated the volleyball tournaments organised by the the resort’s entertainment team.

To satisfy the foodies… the resort has 5 bars and 2 restaurants. The food was delicious with plenty of choices in the buffet.

I particularly loved how spacious the rooms were (given I was sharing a room with my siblings) and the huge single beds. Fortunately, we also had a large private balcony and the best ocean views I’ve seen in a while.

The evening entertainment was also the best ive seen so far with a different star act coming every night.

On a side note, I was also particularly impress with how the hotel dealt with an earthquake we experience on 21st July. Read about my experience here.

Whether you are on a romantic getaway or holidaying with family, D-Resort Grand Azur is the perfect spot for that summer holiday. (unsponsored post) 

Full-Day Cruise to Dalyan

Part of the compromise with my family is if we go on one full-day cruise from Marmaris to Dalyan to get some sight-seeing in. The boat trip started off by us snorkelling in the clear blue waters of the sea, sunbathing and BBQing on the boat. The views from the boat cruise are absolutely amazing. 

After this, we moved to a small boat where we headed to turtles’ beach. We were lucky enough to see some turtles in the water and on the beach. 

we then viewed the rock-cut tombs of the ancient Kings as we cruised on a small boat on Dalyan river. 

The most fun part of the day cruise is the mud bath! I mean who wouldn’t want literally bathe in mud? The mud is usually warm and perfect for the skin – and your skin is left glowing afterwards. Its also meant to add 5 more years to your life… call me cynical, but im not quite sure I’m convinced. Its super fun nonetheless. After bathing in mud, you have a quick shower to wash it all of and then you jump into the thermal pool. When I say the thermal pool is hot… I mean it was really hot (like borderline boiling)

We all really enjoyed the day and would recommend this to anyone. You can book for this tour online beforehand but we just booked it at a stall in the marina, near the hotel. Don’t forget to haggle! 

Take a Turkish Bath! 

Locally known as Hammam, it is one of the most relaxing things to do in Turkey. The bath is not the most private spa experiences you’ll have but It is one of those things you have to try while in the country! 

We took a Turkish bath in our resort. I don’t think my dear siblings knew what a Turkish Bath was and spent an hour making the whole room soapy and sliding one end of the middle island to the other. *facepalm* 

turkish-hamam-spa-marmaris

Enjoy the Beach and the Water sports 

I would say, as a 9 to 5 professional, the most important thing on summer holidays like these is to RELAX. The stress of working can’t be to good for the body and soul, so just relax – take in the cool breeze, swim away and sunbathe. There are plenty of beaches around Marmaris but we were quite happy with our private hotel one (and too lazy to look for another). 

pink-flamingo-inflatible-marmaris

When you’re done relaxing for the day, its super fun to participate in the water sports. There are lots of companies on the beach where you can do snorkelling, scuba diving, banana boat ride, kite surfing, jet ski etc. 

water-sport-marmaris-turkey

Go for a romantic stroll in the Promenade 

We walked along the promenade a few times and it so pleasant. My parents loved doing this just after dinner, to walk off the food and because the weather is undoubtedly cooler. It was only a short 20 minutes walk to the Old Town. I wish I remember the name of it, but we had the BEST Turkish ice cream from a stall in the promenade. Make sure you try Turkish ice cream (or otherwise known as Dondurma). Its a mastic ice cream similar to the Syrian dessert, booza. Dondurma typically includes the ingredients of cream, whipped cream, sales, mastic and sugar.

turkish-ice-cream-marmaris

Soak in Culture in the Old Town

The old town basically begins at the crossroads at the statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk was a Turkish field marshal and the found of the Republic of Turkey. He became the first Turkish president in 1923 until he died in 1938. He played a huge role in rebuilding and modernising Turkey. That’s why he was rewarded with the surname Ataturk by the Turkish parliament in 1939 which means “Father of the Turks”. 

The old town really blew me away by its architecture and old stone. Inside these old buildings were dozens of shops filled with counterfeit merchandise.

marmaris-souk-turkey
marmaris-old-town

The other main attraction in the old town is the dancing fountain of Marmaris. What seems like a normal fountain during the day, transforms into a sightseeing adventure at night. Every day around 8:30pm, the show begins with the fountain splashing water in different colours and matching with the music in the background. 

marmaris-water-fountain-turkey

turkish-mint-tea

Have you been to Marmaris Turkey before? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or if you know any other places to see while in Dalaman or the surrounding area.

Handling the Heat: Day Trip to Seville

Being the capital of the Andalucia region, I read online that Seville is one of the country’s most gorgeous places to visit. Okay… I must keep it real with you guys – I really did not agree and think there are much nicer cities to explore in southern Spain. Maybe because it was the last city to visit in our southern Spain road trip and I was comparing it to the other beautiful cities? Or maybe it was because of the summer heat and that Seville is known to be the hottest city in Europe? I have no idea, but i just wasn’t a fan.

HOWEVER – as I always say in this blog, one must judge for themselves before making a decision so here are a few of the cities main attractions you must visit:

Alcazar of Seville

Originally built to serve as a fort in 913, the Royal Palace of Alcazar has gone through many different rulers and historical change. Built by the Moors, it features different architectural styles due to the fact it was built through various time periods i.e. the Moorish, Gothic, Mudejar, Renaissance etc. 

There is a section in the Renaissance part of the Cathedral, where you can see where Columbus stood when asking the king and queen for permission to venture into the New World – pretty cool. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the best things to do in Seville. 

Seville Cathedral

With a whopping 80 chapels, you can’t really miss this enormous cathedral. In fact, Seville Cathedral is considered to be the largest Gothic cathedral of Europe and third largest in the world. The site was built back in the 1400s and once home to a mosque. The cathedral is home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus as well as the colourful Patio de los Naranios – a courtyard filled with orange trees and fountains. 

Giralda Tower

Sitting right next door to the cathedral, the Giralda Tower is one of the most famous symbols of Seville. It was built by the Moorish people and was the minaret to the mosque that once stood there. The tower has no stairs at all and instead there are 34 ramps that lead to the top of the tower. It was made like this so the muezzin (that led the call to prayer) could ride his horse up the tower instead of walking. 

Visit Plaza de Espana

The very, very rare occasions when i do reminisce of Seville, I always remember the Plaza de Espana because it just looked so immense! It was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition and is created around a semi-circle. The plaza also edges onto a canal and is overlooked by a pretty vast curved palace. 

Maria Luisa Park

This park is situated in the massive plaza de espana. It’s a great place to stroll and sunbathe! 

We then ended the day wandering the cobbled streets and eating the best paella!

Do you have any questions about travelling to Seville that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂

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