After spending just under three months travelling around France, we fortunately got the chance to visit a number of different cities. Some we liked more than others. Here is a little review of the places we explored and tips we learnt along the way!
As we were in Paris for a couple of days we only managed a few of the sights. Fortunately, I have already been to Paris quite a lot so I could suggest things I thought Adam might like to see. Personally, I prefer going up the Arc de Triomphe compared to the Eiffel Tower, mainly because it’s not as busy and you actually get to see the Eiffel Tower from the top, if you time it right you can see it all lit up, so an added bonus. We also visited the Louvre Museum, which we got totally lost in. We eventually found the Mona Lisa, I was shocked at how small it was and left feeling slightly underwhelmed. My favourite place to visit in Paris is the Shakespeare and Company bookshop which I fell in love with a few years ago. It is every book lovers dream, I definitely recommend a little detour here. Tip- if you are 18-25 from an EU country, take your passport or I.D out with you because you can get into a lot of attractions and museums for free!
A third of people living in Montpellier are students, so it’s no surprise that it’s stylish and vibrant with lots going for it. A lovely city to wander around, but also a very simple tram system if you wish to venture further out. We spent most of our time finding cute tea rooms and great cocktail bars. Our favourite cocktail bar luckily happened to be round the corner from our air bnb. Papa Doble pays homage to one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers; Ernest Hemingway. The underground bar is tucked away down a side street and definitely worth a visit. The cocktails are slightly pricey, however, the unique concoctions are delicious. Another little gem we found was a restaurant called Playfood, a very different dining experience indeed. The idea is all the food is served in small transparent glasses instead of plates. You have two options- pick your own glasses or you can tell the owner (also the only waiter) what you don’t like and he will surprise you with 12 different unique recipes. A really fun and quirky place with great food to top it off. Tip- there is a free zoo that you can happily wander round for hours!
I wasn’t too keen on Bordeaux if I’m being honest, I’m not sure why though. However, there are a few good things to see and do there. I’d recommend a visit to the Darwin Eco-Système, an interesting project that works with lots of different companies to reduce their footprint. A restaurant, grocery store and even a brewery are located in this diverse space. With a focus on local and eco-friendly produce this is a great place to sit outside in the sun and enjoy the buzzing atmosphere. Other than that we wandered around the streets and because we were there in December enjoyed the small Christmas market that was happening. Tip- visit the Place de la Bourse at sunset when it lights up, the reflection in the mirror pool is pretty spectacular.
Here’s where things get interesting. So, let me point out we are not religious people. At all. However, we decided to visit Lourdes out of curiosity. I’m going to give you a tip right here- don’t visit Lourdes out of season. It is literally a ghost town. One evening we didn’t have any food, no shops or restaurants were open so we ended up eating at a kebab place at the side of the road. There was one positive of the lack of people; there was absolutely no queues for anything. The Grotto, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes and getting holy water took us about half an hour in total. Which is fine, except we had three nights there. To me, the whole religious aspect is absolutely surreal. It’s intriguing to see the belief and fascination that people have with this place. Along with this, you have beautiful surroundings that are definitely worth a visit, but maybe wait until summer! Tip- visit the Chateau Fort, you get stunning views of the town and Pyrenees.
I loved Marseille (and not just because we were there over New Years Eve and I got extremely drunk). Luckily the sun was shining for our visit and the main port is really quite pretty with the sun sparkling off the sea. The surroundings here were also beautiful. To get the best views we visited the Notre-Dame de la Garde, the clear blue skies helped to enhance the already spectacular sight. Definitely give the Fort Saint-Jean a visit, it’s free (which always helps) and, again, you get beautiful views of the sea and Port. Tip- you have got to have some seafood, the mussels are delicious! It’s also worth taking the Petit Train around the town, we got a chance to see the Old Town which we hadn’t planned to.
love birthdays. I always like to do something, see my friends and family and make it special. I was a bit worried that this birthday wouldn’t be memorable because I couldn’t do that, but, sitting on the pebbly beach on my birthday, watching the sun set, is one of my happiest memories. The view from Colline du Chateau is also worth a visit, you can see the whole city, along the beach and the airport in the distance. We wandered around the pretty streets, ate sushi and found a great English pub called Wayne’s bar. There’s delicious food, cocktails and we even managed to see some live bands. Overall, I had a fabulous birthday, thank you to my boyfriend for making it so special. Tip- make sure you find the waterfall at Colline du Chateau!Nice is nice. In fact, I’d say it was my favourite city that we went to. Ok, I might be biased because we were there for my birthday, but you can’t deny that it is extremely charming. I
I had such an amazing time travelling around France but we are now in Italy and I’m so excited to explore here!