Check out my blog post of all the best things to see and do in 24 hours in Paris. Get away from the tourists and head over to the secret gems that Parisians don’t want you to know about. Continue reading “24 hours in Paris: things to see and do”
September and October was full of travels! I recently headed off to Pisa, Lucca, Florence and Paris. Check out this blog post all about these travels. Continue reading “September and October travels: Pisa, Lucca, Florence and Paris!”
The Bois de Boulogne has a little secret, one that many people do not know about. It’s the Parc de Bagatelle, located to the left of the park near the River Seine. This fantastic park is one of the city’s four botanical gardens, and should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Paris.
Within the park, there are numerous things to see and you could easily pass a few hours exploring all the different parts of the park. The expansive landscape of the Parc de Bagatelle is predominately designed in a mix of Anglo-Chinese style. As you wander around the park, you will also stumble upon some hidden gems; including several artificial caves and cascades to look from, grottoes to explore and ponds with water lilies. Oh, and you’ll also notice the beautiful Peacocks who roam freely around the park. If you don’t see them in person, I’m sure you’ll come across one or two of their feathers lying around!
The Parc de Bagatelle is also home to a small neoclassical Château – the Château de Bagatelle. Constructed originally as a place to stay whilst hunting within the Bois de Boulogne, the Château has an interesting history.
In 1777 Marie-Antoinette wagered against the Count of Artois that it was impossible to build a palace with a park in less than three months. In attempt to win the bet, the Count of Artois appointed architect François-Joseph Bélanger and Scottish landscape designer Thomas Blaikie to create the Château. And by Jove – they won! The Château and the surrounding park was built in just 64 days, making Marie-Antoinette loser of the bet. I have no idea what it meant to lose, so it would be interesting to see what the outcome was for Marie-Antoinette in this wager!
Despite being relatively unknown to tourists, and perhaps even Parisians alike, the park’s Rose Garden is one of its best-known features. Here one can admire the amazing array of roses within the garden. As you walk around, you cannot but be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of all the flowers – and the smell! If you come at the right time during the summer when the roses are in full bloom, the smell of the different species is captivating. In fact, in the Rose Garden there is an estimated 10,000 rose bushes of 1,200 different varieties – that’s a whole lot of rose! Every June there is an international competition for new roses, Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle.
Also located in the Rose Garden is the Orangerie. Built in 1865, the Orangerie is a classical-style building where concerts are held throughout the year.
Overlooking the Rose Garden is a sweet Victorian style Pavilion, the Kiosque de l’Impératrice. Located at the top of a small mound, the Kiosque is a great place to sit, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.
The English connections don’t stop at the style of the park however. In 1853 the park was sold to an English man, Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford and was eventually left to Sir Richard Wallace upon Lord Hertford’s death in 1870. During this period, the Château contained a large collection of French artwork, much of which came from the Wallace Collection in London.
The Parc de Bagatelle is definitely one of the best-kept secrets of Paris. When my Mum and I visited, we had a wonderful day walking around the different areas of the park and smelling all the beautiful roses. The park was completely quiet; in fact, at some moments it was just the peacocks and us! It was as if we had gone back in time when it was a private park, and we were just going for a leisurely afternoon stroll.
Being an au pair can be one of the most rewarding experiences. As you join a family for the year, you get to enjoy immersing yourself in a new culture whilst living in a different city, and learn all about the language and life there.
As a previous au pair, I found that there wasn’t much information about the life of an au pair. Therefore, I am launching my new ‘The Au Pair Series’, which will showcase a wide variety of former/current au pair experiences in different countries throughout the world – which will allow you to understand and see into the interesting lifestyle that so many of us have taken.
I hope that this new blog series will help those thinking of of becoming an au pair learn more about this amazing experience. If you were an au pair or are currently one, I would love for you to get in touch and for the world to hear about your very own unique au pairing experience!
I’m really excited to hear all the different stories of various au pair experiences, and hope you will too. The Au Pair series will be featured on my blog every Monday, with each new guest post going live then.
For more information, check out my page all about the new series here.
Summer in Paris is truly magical, and it’s definitely a great time of year to come and visit the city. However, with this, comes a mass of tourists into Paris. But do no fret! For this blog post will show you some of the lesser-known sights of the city, meaning that you’ll be able to avoid those crowds who flock into Paris in the summer.
Escape the rush, and stroll along the Promenade Plantée
The Promenade Plantée offers walkers an unparalleled and unique experience. Often off the beaten-track for tourists, the promenade provides visitors with expansive views of the city – you become one with the various buildings and architecture, yet remain a flâneur simultaneously. It is a surreal experience – hardly do you find a place within a capital city wherein you feel totally separated from the buzz and rush; but whilst uniquely being right in the middle of it.
Ascend the mysterious La Tour Saint-Jacques
Throughout the summer months, the Tour Saint-Jacques opens its doors to visitors, to allow the public to ascend up and to marvel at its magnificent views.
Standing at over 200 feet high (nearly 50 feet higher than the Arc de Triomphe), la Tour Saint-Jacques offers visitors some of the most amazing views that I have ever seen of Paris. Not only are the views sublime, with the vantage point at the very top provides a 360-degree view of the Parisian landscape. From there, you can pretty much see everything (weather permitting).
La Tour Saint-Jacques is still relatively unknown to tourists, and even to many Parisians – meaning that it is a definite must for those wanting to escape the rush of crowds in the city and get the best view of Paris.
If you’re interested in reserving a place on the guided tour up la Tour Saint-Jacques, head over to the website here.
Promenade along Lac Inferieur in the Bois de Boulogne
Situated southeast of the Bois de Boulogne, the Lac Inferieur is the largest lake within the park. It is a delightful scene, where two manmade islands are a joined by bridge, but can only be accessed via boat. Walking along the woody trails surrounding the lake, one is guaranteed to see a unique part of Paris.
Located on one of the islands of Lac Inferieur is Chalet des Iles. As previously mentioned, this Chalet is truly enchanting. To access, visitors must take a boat across the lake, at the mere €1.50 for a round trip. Here at le Chalet des Îles, one can have a delicious meal in the restaurant, or relax by the lakeside at the bar. You don’t just have to go to the Chalet to eat, you can also explore the two islands, and perhaps enjoy a home-made picnic amongst the trees.
An absolute must when visiting either the Chalet des Îles and Lac Inferieur is to rent a rowing boat! Whilst during Napoleon III reign, rowing was reserved for the social elite; nowadays anyone can enjoy this leisurely activity. Renting a boat on Lac Inferieur was absolutely fantastic. Not only is it a really fun activity to take part in (despite myself being incredibly rubbish at rowing), but it’s a great way to see the Lake and explore the islands too.
To get Lac Inferieur and le Chalet des Îles, the nearest Metro stop is either La Muette or Rue de la Pompe. Alternatively, you can just head towards the Bois de Boulogne and enjoy exploring the park! You definitely won’t see many tourists here.
Visit the magnificent Rose Garden of Parc de Bagatelle
Also located in the Bois de Boulogne, the Parc de Bagatelle Rose Garden is one of Paris’ best-kept secrets. Filled with around 10,000 rose bushes of 1,200 different varieties, with the annual international competition for new roses, Concours international de roses nouvelles de Bagatelle, the Rose Garden of Parc de Bagatelle is a great place to escape the rush of the city tourists.
Walking around the garden, one cannot but be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of all the flowers – and the smell! If you come at the right time during the summer when the roses are in full bloom, the smell of the different species is captivating.
Also located in the Rose Garden is the Orangerie. Built in 1865, the Orangerie is a classical-style building where concerts are held throughout the year. Overlooking the Rose Garden is a sweet Victorian style Pavilion, the Kiosque de l’Impératrice. Located at the top of a small mound, the Kiosque is a great place to sit, relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.
So if you’re ever in Paris during the summer, or just fancy seeing a new part of the city, I without a doubt recommend heading over to experience the beauty of the Parc de Bagatelle Rose Garden yourself.
Wander around Les Jardins du Ruisseau and eat at a disused train station
Up in the 18th arrondissement, Paris has a little secret – Les Jardins du Ruisseau. As part of La Petite Ceinture (‘the Little Belt’), the former railway route has been opened to the public, with many of the old train stations having been redeveloped. It is here that the previous Gare de Charonne has been reconverted into a chic new restaurant and the delightful Jardins du Ruisseau are situated. After being used as a landfill site, in 1998 it was proposed to turn this space into a garden for schools and the community.
After much expansion and redevelopment, Les Jardins du Ruisseau is now a small haven. Maintained by volunteers and local schools, the Jardins du Ruisseau has become a great place to come for a walk. As you wander up and down the garden along the train tracks, you’ll see a variety of flowers and plants. There are even seats and tables where you can bring your own food and enjoy a lovely picnic in the sun. The Jardins du Ruisseau is a delightfully sweet place, taking you from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Throughout the year the Jardins du Ruisseau opens its doors to a variety of different events; including live shows, education events and exhibitions. There seems to be an incredibly strong social bond at the Jardins du Ruisseau, and I definitely recommend spending some time here.
During the summer, the gardens are open Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday.
After wandering around the sweet Jardins du Ruisseau, head on up to the hip restaurant/café La Recyclerie. Originally a former train station, La Recyclerie has fast become one of the places to go and hangout at in Paris. Here you can wine and dine overlooking the spectacular Jardins du Ruisseu and former train tracks, or even relax on the terrace if the weather is nice. Not only is the food and drinks great at La Recyclerie, but there are a lots of things happening here – for example, there is a permanent DIY workshop situated within the former train station called Chez René. Here you can learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to restoring timeless pieces. There are also heaps of pop-up shops that are often set up along the train track in conjunction to the La Recyclerie, so definitely check out their website to see what’s coming up.
What a weekend! I have a surprise for many of you (for those who follow my instagram account, the surprise is unfortunately ruined…). Last weekend in France was a holiday, which meant that we had a four-day weekend. With so much time off, I decided it was the perfect time to go and visit one of my best friends, Sally. So, I headed of to Berlin! Yes, I spent the four-day weekend exploring the city and hanging out with one of my dearest pals.
Berlin is an awesome city. It was my first time there, and to Germany! Having studied German for five years with the expectation of going to visit the country with my family, you can probably imagine how excited I was to finally go. There is something really interesting about Berlin. As we wandered the city, I felt as if there was not ‘one’ Berlin. The capital is incredibly diverse, and as you progress around the city, it almost feels as if you yourself are traveling through different cultures and countries. Berlin is super cool and edgy, owning a fantastically active art and music scene. Although I could never see myself living there (Paris has stolen my heart), I would love to go and visit again.
My friend Sally is also an Au Pair, and her German ‘family’ owns a beautiful apartment right in the centre of the city. Being in such a central location meant that we saw and did lots of different things – of which I am currently writing in an upcoming blog photo diary post.
Overall I had an awesome weekend, and got to finally tick one of the cities that I have been desperate to visit! If you have been there, I would love to know what you thought of the city.