Sunday, 28 May 2017

Europe 2017 Diaries. It All Began in France.


A few weeks ago I made the very quick decision to plan a holiday. I knew I had some time before I started my new job (which I have done now) and just instantaneously thought to myself, I want to go on holiday/away. 

Looking at different options, I knew I wanted to do and see as much as I could. And so turned to a company called STA, who specialise in booked tours. Within a couple of hours of walking into their office, I'd decided to book a 14 day adventure around Europe - EU Highlights. 

And I definitely made a great decision to do it! I could ramble on for ages about where we went and what we did and the people I met. But I'm going to try and keep it short and split up these posts by country so you have different posts to look forward to. (or jealous of..sorry) 

So, we started out in London. Not a massively fascinating place for me, but as I later found out, for the mix nationalities on the tour with me, London was one to see. 



France

Paris
Anyway, after London came Paris! 

Bonjour. Admittedly, having studied French until A-Levels, I should've been pretty fluent. Wrong. I can say words and just string together a sentence. However, this trip has definitely made me want to pick up my French again. 

Paris... I can't tell you how gorgeous Paris is. If you've been you'll understand. Everything is very elegant and modern. The Parisians pride themselves on symmetry and once you learn that you notice it everywhere

So, we arrived in Paris and went off to see The Eiffel Tower at night. It was pretty cool - it lights up on the hour, every hour! I'd met a few people by now and do I say... become friends with them. So we watched the tower light up whilst eating crepes - the first of an insane load of food I'd eat in 14 days. It was a pretty great night.



The following day, we had a little tour of Paris - seeing the usual sights - and then it was our turn to explore. We climbed up the Arc de Triomphe (my gosh how many stairs), walked down the Champs d'Elysees. Past the Louvres and then stopped to be a proper Parisian, by sitting in a restaurant with a glass of wine and watching the world go by - something we'd been advised to do by our Tour Manager! I'll come onto Tom later. 


View from the Arc D'Triomphe

Baguettes came next, something else our T.M. had recommended doing, he pretty much loved baguettes. But I understand why! They were so delicious. I mean I know the French are famous for bread but it just tastes different to one from home. It's so crispy yet soft and tasty. 

Parisian Dinner and Cabaret
That evening, we went out for a Parisian Dinner in a really cute, quaint French bar and restaurant. I can't fully remember what I had but I know it was a Caesar Salad to start and a very tasty chocolate tart for dessert! 

Then came an evening at the Cabaret...so burlesque dancing, an experience that must be done in Paris.



Beaujolis Wine Region
On the way to our next destination, we spent a night in the French Beaujolis Wine Region. All I have to say is beautiful. (I might say that a lot throughout this post but just go with it)



South of France
A couple of days in the South of France was our next stop - Nice was our main stop off. Like Paris, a very modern and pretty city and the architecture was beautiful. We climbed up a hill and got a beautiful view of the city. By the way, the sea was pitch blue...how?! 

We also took a train to Cannes and spent some time there. I can definitely understand why the rich and famous love the South of France. It's very picturesque. 

I forgot to mention, being in France I wasn't going to leave without trying some snails and frog legs was I?! 


Nice

Cannes we sit on the beach with a drink?

Cannes
Views from the hill in Nice


Monaco, Monte Carlo
From Nice, we also spent an evening in Monaco - more gorgeous views and of course the home of Monte Carlo Casino, which we went into. It was so elegant and extravagant, chandeliers everywhere as you can probably imagine. 

We walked to the highest in Monaco - Mont Agel - and got told off for popping bottles of champagnes and then went for crepes. What else do you do when on holiday. Similar to Nice and Cannes, I can understand why the rich and famous, live and visit Monaco. The tax-free law of course helps. 



But simply walking down the streets, you could 'see the money' around you - super-cars everywhere! 

If you follow Formula One racing, believe me, I'm going to be crying when the Monaco Grand Prix is one this weekend! Surprisingly, you might not know but Monaco is actually a separate country... it's tiny though. You can walk across it in less than an hour, that's how tiny.

I keep saying I would go back to France and I would. But I'd go to other parts of it now. I love Paris and the South of France but I'd also love to now see The Alps. After spending 5 days in France, I was more than ready for Italy. I always had been! 


Some of the super amazing people I met! I can't begin to explain how much this group made my trip an unforgettable one.


And that's where the French Diaries end... Keep an eye out for Italy...
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