There is nothing I love more than being in a place I've never been, and I pretty much just want to go everywhere...
I can't get enough of travelling and sightseeing, so this blog is dedicated to the cool little places I would someday like to go.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Lights and Linen" : The Paris Déco Off

I've always wanted to go to Paris (who doesn't want to go to Paris?), but Paris is a topic that's way too overdone. Everyone knows everyhing about Paris. So the destination for this post is not Paris. Instead, I’ve chosen a really cool festival in Paris that you probably haven't heard of – the Paris Déco Off.

The Paris Déco Off is an annual five day festival that takes place in January. More than 60 designers participate in the Déco Off, setting up show rooms on the roads along both sides of the Seine.

The festival really comes alive on the Soirée Nocturne, when the festival is open late into the night. The Left Bank and the Right Bank each have their own Soirée on two separate nights. The Rue du Mail, a main street on the Right Bank with several designer shops, is decorated with a string of gigantic lanterns, whose shades are made from linen provided by various European designers. The result is an enchanting display of light and colour, illuminating the entire street.
I added the the Déco Off to my blog because I love festivals and I love the pictures of the linen lanterns. It's so simple but so pretty, and I feel like it would be a really fun atmostphere for exploring and walking around. Of course, I would make sure to hit up the rest of Paris while I was there...but the Déco Off is just something fun and unique I'd like to try.

What to Do? There is much to explore at the Déco Off. Visitors can browse displays and collections of furniture, lighting and fabric from the most prestigious international designers. For entertainment, there are films and shows, and a variety of bands play in the Paris Déco Off Concert.

What to Eat? There are plenty of restaurants in the surrounding streets – and we all know how good French food is. Do I need to say anything else? Have a baguette or some Escargot or something.

For lack of a fun fact (I’m sure everyone is real disappointed), I have a fun travel quote:

“Men read maps better than women because only men
can understand the concept of an inch equaling a hundred miles.”
                     - Roseanne Barr

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"La Merveille de L'Occident" : Mont Saint-Michel

Has anyone seen the movie The Woman in Black? If not you should, it's pretty good. But anyways, in the movie, Daniel Radcliffe is a lawyer and he gets stuck overnight on this creepy island you can only reach when the tide goes out. Pretty scary. But what's cool is that there's basically a real life version of this island, and it's open for business.

Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky island in Normandy, off the coast of North-Western France. The Mont has held a fortress since early medieval times and also served as a monastery. Today, 44 people live on the island. 

Mont Saint-Michel at twilight

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island, which means it can only be reached at low tide. Originally, the road that led to the island was covered during high tide, and the island was completely isolated.  Nowadays there is a raised causeway, so the Mont is always accessible, but it is still very dangerous to go out into the bay alone, because the tide changes very quickly.

I actually wish there was no causeway, because call me crazy, but the idea of being stuck on the island between tides sounds totally thrilling to me. Kind of creepy, but really cool. What I love about the island is the haunting architecture, and the idea that people have been coming to this island and staying in this building for centuries, doing the same things that people are doing here today.

Mont Saint-Michel consists of a Gothic style abbey and the village that was built around it, both of which date back to 700 AD. The abbey is an artistic and architectural feat, and its rugged walls and delicate towers almost seem like a natural part of the island.

What to do? There are several hotels around the entrance to the causeway, as well as within the walls of the Mont. The village’s main street, the “Cour de l’Avancé,” has original historical buildings and shops which sell food, jewellery and other souvenirs in the tradition of medieval shopkeepers. You can visit the Abbey and the Parish Church, which was built in the 1400’s. Classical concerts are frequently hosted in the Abbey. There are four museums on the island, covering the history, culture, archaeology and ecology of the island. Rates are reduced for non-European young adults (score).

What to eat? Salt meadows surround Saint-Michel, and are used for grazing sheep. Apparently, the salty diet of these sheep gives their meat a unique flavour. “Agneau de pré-salé” (salt meadow lamb) is a local dish that can be found in the island’s restaurants. I’ll have to pass, since I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but other specialties include omelettes and seafood from the bay, which can be enjoyed at numerous restaurants within the walls.

According to Wikepedia, Mont Saint-Michel was the inspiration for the city of Minis Tirith in the Lord of the Rings. I thought that was pretty neat. (Apologies if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Monday, February 25, 2013

"Terra Delle Sirene" : The Amalfi Coast

So it’s been nearly impossible to choose what to write about first (which is why I’m doing this now and not a week ago, when I should’ve started…) but since Italy is pretty much the top of the top on my travel bucket list, I’ve decided to start there.

The Amalfi Coast is known as one of the most scenic coastal regions in the world. On the Western coast of Italy, the region can be accessed from land by only one road, and includes 13 picturesque towns. Mountains, cliffs, beaches and the sea combine to form a unique and stunning landscape. In his poem “Odysseus,” Homer described Amalfi as the "Land of the Sirens.”
Colourful houses cling to the cliffs, with a 500-foot drop to the Mediterranean Sea and sandy coves below. It’s the houses that got me hooked on the Amalfi Coast – they are so charming, and this is exactly what I picture when I think of the Mediterranean sun and sea.

What to Do? Shopping and eating along the Coast is apparently pricey, and since I’ll probably be a poor student, I’d most likely stick to a day trip. The towns are charming, steeped in history, with shops, villas and beautiful views, but the biggest attraction for me is the scenery. The bus ride along the coast is apparently breathtaking (and somewhat scary - but that's ok, a little adventure never hurt anyone). The bus ride would be the best part of the trip for me (never thought I’d say that), and I’d also make sure to hit the beaches and explore a few of the towns.

The towns are know for the exquisitie architecture, especially the village of Positano, pictured above. Positano is pretty much a vertical town, and has stairs instead of streets. How cool is that?

What to eat? Lemons. The Amalfi region is known for cultivating lemons, which grow in terraced gardens all along the coast. The Lemon Festival happens every year in September, and the towns take turns hosting. I didn't know there were multiple types of lemon, but apparently the festival exhibits every kind available. You can sample all kinds of lemon delicacies, too, like the region’s famous limoncello liqueur.

So that’s the Amalfi Coast for you in a nutshell. And fun fact – Beyonce mentions the Coast in her song “Upgrade U.” Beyonce knows what’s good.