Paris: Part II

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Lunch in the Eiffel Tower

When we were planning our trip we knew that we would have to buy tickets to the Eiffel Tower beforehand. However, tickets for the entire time we were there were sold out. The only way we were getting tickets was if we went for a meal. So, we made a reservation for lunch at le 58 Tour Eiffel for lunch which included an elevator ride up to the first floor. The check in was pretty smooth and we had the first seating of the day. In my opinion we had the best table in the restaurant, right beside the window with a view of the Seine.

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The meal was served picnic style, appetizers and desserts were served first, followed by the main course. Which isn’t really a picnic to me, pretty sure it just makes it easier for the servers. A glass of wine was also included with the meal. Each meal was 41 Euros, I would definitely say that it was worth it, considering we didn’t pay any entrance fees.

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After lunch we walked up to the second floor and did a quick lap around before it started to downpour.

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Seine River Cruise

After our lunch at the Eiffel Tower we went for a river cruise on the Seine. This was right after the flooding so the route had be changed because the water was still too high for the boats to go under some bridges. Instead of going East towards the Louvre and Notre Dame, it went further west then usual. Unfortunately there is not a lot to see in that direction. Even though the price had been discounted the cruise wasn’t really worth it. It was raining so we couldn’t go outside and Fabien fell asleep…

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Tuileries Garden

After our rather disappointing river cruise we walked along the Seine to the garden Tuileries. We rode the Ferris wheel which had pretty amazing view of the Seine, Champs-Élysées and Tuileries. We stopped for some macarons and then walked through the gardens.

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Dinner in Montmartre

That night we went to meet Fabien’s cousin and his girlfriend for dinner in Montmartre. They met us at the metro station and showed us around their neighbourhood, including Sacré-Cœur and The Moulin Rouge.IMG_2838.jpgIMG_2839.jpgIMG_2840.jpgIMG_2841.jpgIMG_2847.jpg

We had a drink at their apartment, which features the smallest elevator I have ever seen then went out for pizza.

After dinner we went for a few drinks and met up with even more cousins. We caught the last Metro back to our hotel, ending an extremely long day.

Paris: Part I


We didn’t have the easiest time getting to Paris. Our flight from Nice to Paris was cancelled 4 times because of Air France strikes.  So, our week long trip was turned into 5 days, but luckily we had only booked a hotel for the last five days of our trip anyway. I got an amazing deal on a hotel in Gare de L’Est on Hotwire for only 70 euros a night. Our trip was right after the flooding of the Seine and at the beginning of the Eurocup. So you could say that there was a lot going on.

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Arriving in Paris I was under the impression that my French-born and raised-boyfriend would know how to get around, I was wrong. So it took us a bit longer then it should have to get from the airport to the hotel. We also walked in the complete opposite direction from the train station but that was my bad. Once we finally settled into out hotel, we set out to find something to eat and explore the neighbourhood.

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The next morning we took the train to go visit Fabien’s Grandmother who lives just outside of Paris. We spent the day catching up and looking at baby pictures, while I tried to understand french.

On our way back into Paris we got off the metro near the Eiffel tower for dinner and some sightseeing. The streets were absolutely packed with football fans.

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There was a television behind me. Eurocup > Everything.

France won they’re game that night,  the streets and the metro were crazy people with all kinds of people celebrating.

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Aquarium of Genoa

Genoa is a little bit farther from Ventimiglia than some of our other trips. But I was able to convince Fabien to take me to the Aquarium there with the promise of doing some shopping at Ikea afterwards (jks, that was for me too).

Our first stop in Genoa was at the aquarium. It is built right on the harbour and is one of the biggest aquariums in Europe.

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After spending a couple hours at the aquarium we walked around the port and took a quick peak into the city.

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As promised on our way home we stopped at IKEA. Having family in Sweden, I consider myself somewhat of an IKEA expert, I can spot IKEA furniture from a mile away. But my favourite part is the cinnamons buns, I was truly disappointed when they were sold out. We did however pick up my favourite IKEA accessory, the scrub brush.

I didn’t love Genoa, the aquarium was fun and worth a visit, but I can’t see myself going back. (Unless I find myself furnishing a student home in Italy)

Nice, France

Living about 45 minutes from Nice definitely has its perks. Once again we were truly in vacation mode and by the time we were out the door and into Nice it was time for lunch and a glass of rosé. We ate at Movida, which has a cute little patio that looks right out on the Promenade des Anglais.

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After lunch we walked up and down the promenade and into a few shops.

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This was right during the time that the Eurocup was beginning and Nice was where one of the stadiums was located.

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To this day we are still talking about this gelateria that we went to, Fenocchio. It was absolutely amazing and had the most unique flavours…cactus gelato, anyone? Anyone who knows me can figure out that I went for the Mojito gelato, I added some raspberry as well. Fabien had a scoop of the rose and lemon gelato (mine was better).

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Our next stop was the beach, remember this was in early June, so the water was still a bit too chilly for this Canadian. Fabien however, did go for a dip and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him hobble back up the beach on the pebbles.

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After our (Fabien’s) swim we went for tapas at El Merkado. We basically ordered every vegetarian item on the menu, with some sangria of course. And for dessert… churros, one of my all time faves. I don’t think Fabien even got a chance to try one…oops.

Hanbury Botanical Gardens

So I am finally getting back to posts about my trip to France and Italy! I know it’s been a while, but this summer has been a busy one.

The Hanbury Botanical Gardens in Grimaldi, Italy are about 15 minutes away from Fabien’s place. We drove by them almost everyday and really didn’t know what to expect. When we first walked in we thought that it was a joke that we were actually charged an admission fee. The entrance of the garden was nothing special and kind of unkept. It wasn’t until we walked a little bit farther and took a good look at the map that we realized how huge the gardens were. There were tons of different paths with lots of different fruit trees, flowers and plants. We couldn’t believe that the garden went right from the highway to the ocean. Walking down to the ocean we passed the Hanbury’s villa. The property is now operated by the University of Genoa.

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Obviously trying to touch every animal he can find. Poor turtle, I tried to not make a scene while yelling to put him back in the water.

Once you get all the way down to the ocean there is a cute little cafe where we stopped to have an espresso and a snack.

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We left the garden just as it started raining, agreeing that we could have spent the entire day there. This was Fabien’s favourite garden that we visited on our vacation. He liked that it was so big and that there was so much room to explore. I preferred the succulents of the Monaco garden or the views from Eze.

What’s your favourite garden that you have visited?

Musée Océanographique de Monaco

Most of our days in France got off to a rather slow start. Ill be the first one to say that I’m not exactly what you call a morning person, but Fabien is on a whole new level. We had decided that we were going to spend the day at the Oceanography Museum in Monaco but by the time we actually got out the door is was time for lunch, and a late one tbh. We had lunch along the promenade in Menton to avoid the outrage prices in Monaco.

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By the time we got to the Museum we basically had it our to ourselves.

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The lower level of the museum is the aquarium, with a huge coral reef exhibit in the middle.IMG_2079.JPGIMG_2081.jpgIMG_2082.jpgIMG_2086.jpgIMG_2159.jpg

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Don’t worry, after five minutes I told him it was time to give the other kids a turn. ^^

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This is where I got to act like a child, I could have watched all of Nemo’s little brothers and sisters all day. SOO many of them.

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The upstairs of the museum was full of historical and cultural exhibits.

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You could also go up to the rooftop, where the floor was covered with a native turtle design. From here you could see all of Monaco. There were even real turtles up there too.

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The Museum is located on the Rock of Monaco, right near the Palace and is right on the water. It is absolutely amazing to see from the other side.

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I hope everyone has a good weekend! I’m off to Old Orchard Beach tomorrow for family vacation!

 

cheers

Debby

 

Eze Village

Eze is a small medieval village just east of Nice and about half an hour from where we were staying in Italy. At the top of the village is the Exotic Gardens. I did a little bit of online research the night before going to Eze and decided that we weren’t going to hike the trail from the coast to the village. Mainly because we were driving which meant we would have to hike down then back up and secondly because I was not interested in that much physical activity on my vacation.  However, nothing I read mentioned how horrible the parking situation is. There is a small parking lot at the entrance to the village that we ended up driving around and almost giving up several times before finding a spot.

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The village is so cute and charming, it almost doesn’t look real. Once you get to the very top, you are at the Gardens. A lot of attractions and museums have free admission for students or french residents under 25, I tried to show them my Brock ID from 2009, no deal.

The garden is mostly full of succulents and some other exotic plants, but the best part is the view. IMG_1961.jpgIMG_1962.JPGIMG_1964.JPGIMG_1980.jpgIMG_1992.jpgIMG_1997.jpgIMG_1999.JPGIMG_2009.JPGIMG_2010.jpgIMG_2051.JPGIMG_2025.jpg

After taking in the amazing views and seeing all the cacti we could take, we went for lunch right outside the entrance of the garden.  Le Nid D’Aigle translates to “the Eagle’s nest”in English. The location of the restaurant is amazing, right in the centre of the village and the food was delicious.IMG_2040.jpgIMG_2038.JPGIMG_2043.jpgIMG_2047.jpg

If you are ever in The French Riviera a trip to Eze is a must. It’s a great change from posh cities like Nice and Cannes.

Exotic Garden of Monaco


The first week of our vacation got off to a little bit of a rocky start when I ended up spending the day after the Grand Prix in the hospital in Monaco. And let’s just say that if I had to spend the day in a hospital anywhere, it would be in Monaco. Just thank the dear lord that I am still covered by my dad’s health insurance…

Anyway we ended up making the most of my check up later in the week with a visit to the exotic gardens. The gardens are filled with plants from around the world, mainly Mexico and SOO many succulents.  Besides the amazing plants and maintenance of the gardens, it has an beautiful view of Monaco.

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Fabien had never seen the gardens before even though he has lived half an hour away his entire life and even used to work in Monaco. As we were wandering around, waiting to do the tour of the grotto he remembered that he had worked here installing the bathrooms. He took some time to admire his fine work, toilets > flowers.


A tour of the grotto is included in the ticket to the garden, and it is just as amazing as the garden itself.  The grotto was discovered in the early 1900’s when construction was being done in the gardens.

On the way out there is an amazing view of Monaco including the Rock, where the Royal Palace, Oceanographic Museum and Cathedral are located. What is also so special about the view is that you can see 3 countries from standing right there, Monaco (obvs), France and Italy.

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We pulled over at this spot along the highway on the way back to Menton to see the view of all of Monaco.

Back in Menton we enjoyed a late lunch of pizza, of course, and seafood salad, with some tiramisu for desert.


GRAND PRIX DE MONACO

 We were lucky enough to get tickets to the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco from one of fabien’s sisters who works at the Monaco yacht club. We took the train into Monaco from Menton, which only took us about 20 minutes. The streets of Monaco were packed with people, vendors and boothes. The restaurants had tables spilling out into the streets. We grabbed an incredibly overpriced lunch before the race and then headed to our seats. The stands were packed with well dressed spectators. Across the raceway from us was the port full of yachts with people watching the race. Tbh I had no idea what was going, but I had fun people watching and something about a redbull car…

After the race we walked up to the Prince’s Palace and wandered around the rock of Monaco. We admired the amazing the views and strolled through the old streets and small gardens.  Monaco was so beautiful and classy, we even saw a dog that was trained to pee into a grate.