Prague! How many times I have heard from friends that this city is magnificent and very romantic! I have proposed this destination to my boyfriend but always got “NOPE”s…But this time we got there by chance!
We were returning back from our holidays in Crete Island, Greece and had a stop in Prague. Our next flight to Paris was 6 hours later so I got this brilliant idea to make a tour in the city! My boyfriend was against it referring to the fact that we could get lost as we didn’t know anything about the city and could miss our flight. But there is something that I like about myself. When I got an idea in my head and when I find that idea awesome, hell nobody can stop me until it’s accomplished. 🙂 So we followed my stubbornness and after 10 min of research on my smartphone about “what to see in Prague”, “how to get there”, we got the right bus to take us to the downtown! See? No city guide is needed when you have a connection 🙂 But there is one BUT! If I had known that I was going to visit Prague, for sure I wouldn’t have put on heels!
This is not a secret that Paris is one of the most visited cities in the word. The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Louvre Museum – this list is not exhaustive. The tourists are part of Paris and I guess today we can’t imagine Paris without its numerous international guests. But what if you have already visited the most famous spots and are looking for somewhere that you won’t run across the crowds of tourists and still enjoy the beautiful parisian dream? Well, Paris still can offer many unusual places where you can disconnect from the big city and enjoy your time.
We will start our Journey from Paris 11 (the 11 district of Paris). It spreads from the Place de la République, continues to Bastille and ends up at the Place de la Nation.
PLACE DE LA REPUBLIQUE
This is one of the symbolic places of Paris where manifestations and other types of public movement events are organized and held. At the center of the square there is a statue of Marianne who is the personification of the French Republic as it was erected in honor of the anniversary of the French Revolution. She is holding an olive branch in her right hand and a board engraved with the Human Rights. At the bottom of the statue you will always find flags, candles, pictures and other stuff that people leave here to commemorate something. This place can both be over crowded during such events and quiet and welcoming the other days. You can actually find during the lunchbreak or at the end of the working day a lot of people having their meal here, or groups of friends chatting and sitting on the steps. In other words, this is a rather popular and welcoming district.
Statue of Marianne
You can actually find some interesting restaurants in this area. Before arriving to the square there is this family restaurant – El Rincon Espanol with plenty of spanish food, tapas, etc for spanish speciality lovers.
Those who will choose the French food are welcome to this unusual restaurant called “the Pharmacy”. Bon appetit!
PLACE DE LA BASTILLE
Well this place is known for the Bastille prison which was destructed in 1789-1790 during the French Revolution. At the center of the place there is the July Column which commemorates the events of the July Revolution. The Place of Bastille or simply, Bastille is one of the busiest districts of Paris with La Roquette, Oberkampf and Rue de Lappe streets and their funky night clubs, bars and boutiques. One of the most famous feature of Bastille is the Opera Bastille.
Panoramic view of the Place de la Bastille
La Roquette is the busiest street of Bastille. It’s well known for its nightclubs and numerous cafés and bars where people just can hang on and have afterworks. If you walk down the street, you’ll run into the Rue de Lappe with its numerous bars, the Fontaine de la Roquette (historic fountain built in 1846), Bastille Theatre, etc. At the end of the street you will certainly come across a little park where you can have a rest, read your favourite book, or whaterver you please to do in the arms of nature.
Rue de la Roquette
Fontaine de la Roquette
Maurice Gardette Park
Maurice Gardette Park
When you are at the street La Roquette there is a little passage called “Passage des Taillandiers”. This passage is very special to me as one of the most important dance studios of Paris is situated right here – Studio Harmonic. I’ve been going there already for 6 months and I’m pretty satisfied of the dancers high level. There are a lot of young famous dancers that I knew there such as Yanis Marshall, Inès Van Damme, Nathalie Lucas, etc. Once I even came across into the famous French news presenter, Claire Chazal who seemed to take classical dance courses there. This studio offers a huge list of different dance styles as classical dance, modern jazz, street jazz, salsa, oriental dance, hip hop, etc.
RUE DE LAPPE
Rue de Lappe is the right street if you’re looking for original bars to have a drink with your friends and to find yourself in an authentic parisian underworld. Bar des Ferrailleurs, Habanero, La Chapelle des Lombards and a lot of others that you could try as there is a big choice!
HIDDEN TREASURES OF BASTILLE
Finally we approach to the hidden unusual spot of the Bastille district. The most fascinating thing about it is that you can literally walk along a place not knowing that behind the closed doors there is a spectacular and secret yard. One of these places is the Cité du Figuier – a hidden yard where actually there are people living. It is situated at 106, Oberkampf street in Paris 11. When you arrive there you might walk a little bit trying to find the entrance for couple of minutes (as I did) but no worries as you only have to open the big green entrance door to access this beautiful court. This place carried me away into a different epoch since I saw these really cute colorful houses full of mistery. Couple of blocks down you can find the Museum of Edith Piaf and different interesting restaurants and bars.
Cité du Figuier
Cité du Figuier
Cité du Figuier
Cité du Figuier
Museum of Edith Piaf
This visit to Paris 11 is not over as there are still a lot of other places of interest that I have to discover. I will keep you posted. You can still share your experience and add some ideas that I haven’t mentioned in this post. See you! Bisous
It was my last day in Madrid and it was raining the whole day. I had planned to go to El Rastro which is one of THE must-dos in Madrid! Actually it’s an open-air market held every Sunday where you can find everything – new and second-hand products. I was mostly impressed by antique shops with different sculptures, fountains and all kind of interesting disappeared objects.
It’s a real must-do in Madrid and to ensure you I can tell you that even walking there in the rain didn’t scare us as it worth it!
We decided then to go have some breakfast and also to warm up a bit. I was waiting for this day to have my favourite spanish breakfast with pantumaca and torilla patata. Pantumaca is a toast with potatoes and olive oil and tortilla patata is a kind of a cake with eggs and potatoes. These are THE specialities of spanish cuisine and very very delicious.
Another must-do in Madrid, is visiting El Retiro – the Spanish Versailles in my opinion. This is a huge park with lakes, beautiful trees, Crystal Palace, fountains, green gardens, etc. Unfortunately it was raining when I was there, but there are a plenty of activities that you can do – take a boat, do picnics, jogging, playing, walking and having a good time because you can actually relax, meditate and be around the nature…Next time I’m in Madrid, I don’t want a rain so I can benefit from El Retiro as much as possible!
Next to El Retiro there is another beautiful place to see – Los Cibeles Place with its charming fountain in front of the city hall. The latter is open to public and moreover, there’s a rooftop with a terrace to have a drink. We had our coffee inside of course but with this beautiful view!
Going back home I was glancing at the magnificient buildings and places, a little bit sad to leave Madrid, but not too much, as we were going to partyyy 🙂
We finished this last and eventful day in a night bar Star Studio where mixed latino and pop music was playing. It’s a nice place for those who are looking for latino dances and having fun!
Here comes to end my Journey and back to Paris it felt so sad and grey. I was disgusted at the beginning and wanted to go back.
I can tell you if you have a possibility, visit Madrid as it will affect you for sure. If anyone has questions, I’ll be pleased to respond to them.
See you soon!
My third day in Madrid.
Today I decided to help my friend Andrea to buy a dress for her gradution party so we went almost the whole day doing shopping. I’m not going to make this post about shopping but the little sightseeing that we did after it.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is so beautiful in the evening, it’s huge, remarkable and impressive. This is not the official residence of the king but here official banquets and ceremonies take place (the Kings lives outside of Madrid).
Then we went to San Gines (I’m going to talk about more in my post “One usual day in Madrid“) and walking around the streets I couldn’t pass by these beautiful doors! I don’t know why, but all the doors in Madrid are so big and long and beautiful that you can’t help taking a picture!
We dropped into a café to meet friends and here I had this tasty chocolate tea with a carrot cake. So delicious!
I’m upset to say this, but yes, we were exhausted after the whole shopping day. So we decided with my friend to get a good rest as I had one last day in Madrid and I had still so much things to do!!!
On my second day in Madrid I visited the Prado Museum. I was lucky as one of my friends who actually lives in Madrid suggested to be our guide and make a tour for us! José Luis made a great favour for us as without his knowledge and guide skills I’d be bored after seeing two paintings and would like to go home. Well, the point is, get a good guide who will make it interesting for you and will catch your attention! (If anyone is interested, I can give you José’s contacts).
The painting that YOU MUST ABSOLUTELY SEE is Christ Washing the Disciples’ Feet of Tintoretto. Actually I would have never paid attention unless somebody warned me to look at this paiting attentively. If you’re looking at this painting from your right, on the left of the painting you’ll see a little white building which is outside of the dome and is in the second plan. But when you move to the left side of the painting, this white building I DON’T KNOW HOW but moves with you and now it’s situated right in the center of the paiting! Check out the video here:
I took two picture of this painting before I was asked to turn my camera off but still I’m happy to have this proof of how the painter created this beautiful and magic optical illusion. I think I was so charmed by this painting that I was going back and forth for couple of minutes trying to find out the trick!
Well, there are a lot of must-see paintings of course like the Garden of Earthly Delights of Bosch, Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest of El Greco, Las Meninas and Surrender at Breda of Velázquez, La Maja vestida and La Maja desnuda of Goya, The Three Graces of Rubens, etc.
We spent about 4 hours there but we eagered for more and more after getting involved in the history. Thanks again to José 🙂
On our way back from the museum right across the street, there were these magnificent statuettes in the balcony. Madrid is genious!
Now time to eat! Even though my friends told me that the real paella is in Valence, I was stubborn and hungry and eager to have my paella no matter what. We found this nice restaurant Casa Luciano not far from the museum where I had the famous paella that I was waiting for! I like dit, really tasty! When I’m in Valence next time, I’ll taste it there too, no problem, dude 🙂
Now when we were finishing our meal we received a call from a friend of ours and decided to visit her in the hostel she was running. I was staying at my friend’s as I told but this Hostel was pretty cute. Old fashion furniture, all the commodities and a friendly simple atmosphere for comfortable prices (about 16-19 EUR) ! I think it might be a good deal for those who are looking for something in the downtown, not too expensive. Both the hostess and the guests are funny and this makes you feel cosy! You can check out their website here www.dhostelmadrid.com
We finished this day with a tapas bar. I DO RECOMMEND YOU to ask what’s on your tapas before ordering or eating it because you might be surprised. The tapas I ordered that evening looked yumi but when my friends told me that it was made of the testes of the bull!!!!!! OMG, I was disgusted to have eaten the half already!!!! it makes me shiver even now at the very thought of it!
See you on my next post to follow up this fabulous Journey!
Hello guys! I’m happy to share my experience of visiting Madrid for the first time. In this post I’ll give you some tips, ideas and addresses that might be useful for you if you’re ever planning on going to Madrid.
So to start with, it was the first time I was taking Transavia and I can say it’s ok if you’re flying in Europe, pretty comfortable for economy class!
I had this amazing view out of my window (I was staying at my friend’s appartment which was perfectly situated near the metro La Latina).
The first thing to do was to go and grab some food because I was starving! We went to Mercado San Anton where I tasted tapas. This place was really fantastic as you could walk around, buy some food in the market and eat right there! Well, of course after having done the line as it’s pretty crowded during the meal time (the lunch time is between 14h and 16h, it was a hmmm….how to say, ..interesting lol).
And the olives are especially tasty as well as their famous olive oil!
Now that we have filled out bellies we can go visiting! The Plaza Mayor is a must-do as it’s one of the major squares of Madrid, one of the oldest and attractive. It kinda recalled me Dome Square of Florence and it was as much crowded by the tourists. What makes this square special is that right here during the reign of Felipe 2 there were public executions, crowning ceremonies, bullfights, and inquisition trials.
You can walk, take some coffee in one of numerous cafés or take a funny picture with typical spanish dress only for 1 euro as I did.
Just next to Plaza Mayor there is another square – Puerta del Sol which is also attractive thanks to the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree.
But not only! It’s a busy corner of Madrid with a lot of shops with typical spanish staff. Aaaamazing!
Now we can go shopping! First at El Corte Inglès, then at the Gran Via – Madrid’s main avenue with a lot of boutiques and beautiful buildings.
After the shopping we were a bit exhausted and we decided to climb up the rooftop to have a coffee at the Gourmet Experience – the delicatessen food floor of the Corte Inglès with spanish shopping galleries. You have this beautiful view of Madrid and it’s even better if you manage to get a table near the window so as you could have your coffee and enjoy the view!
On our way back home we went to the museum of jamon and to one of the churches near the metro La Latina. In the latter it was really nice to walk as it was calm and quiet (no tourists at all, so no noise 🙂 ) and actually it was possible to stay alone with oneself for a little while.
That was all for today! Tired and exhausted we got home to get a rest and energy for the next day.
You can continue reading the next part in my next post.
See you !:)