IN PARIS WITH YOU

Last weekend I visited one of my best friends in Paris, where she is now living and working for the second half of her year abroad. I think it’s pretty self-evident that my experience in Paris would have been far different and let’s face it, so much better had our terms in Paris coincided. One of the main problems that I faced in Paris was loneliness, making friends and even having enough confidence to leave my room some days. I can say without a doubt that having the bubbly, sociable butterfly that is Roz Farr there with me would have fixed all of these troubles and Paris would have been much more successful for me in different ways than it perhaps was. Anyway, enough of that and let’s get onto my little weekend break and how Paris compares as a tourist to as a demi-resident / billy-no-mates who can’t afford anything after a weekly shop and a takeout coffee nor can they really communicate very well with anybody, not that there’s anybody to communicate with etc, etc.

10 / 3 / 2018

So here’s a little about my cheeky weekend away in the city of lurrve with my best mate. I arrived at 15.30 on Saturday 10th March after a 6 hour Flixbus from Lyon. After a little miscommunication, we were finally reunited (hurrah!) and headed straight to take some cute pics on the most instagrammable street I’ve ever seen in my life, Rue Crémieux.

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Roz @ Rue Crémieux
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Dream Home

This was swiftly followed by a quick stop at the Bastille en route to a pre-dinner freshen up. We had already chosen our supper destination based on Trip Advisor reviews and mouth-watering instragrams under #eastmamma and #bigmammagroup. Nothing was exaggerated, the truffle pasta was indeed to die for and we shared a lovely bottle of wine. Get there early, especially if you’re headed there on a Saturday like us because you will have to queue to be seated or even to be put on the bookings for later that evening.

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Roz w/ food & wine @ East Mamma

 

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Me w/ wine @ East Mamma
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LA PÂTE À LA TRUFFE  @ EAST MAMMA

11 / 3 / 2018

We used Sunday as our main tourist-y day and set out to see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, perfect photo opportunities on a sunny day (it’s got to be done) and the Parc du Champ-de-Mars being an ideal lunch spot for a little Sunday picnic.

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Roz & Tour Eiffel
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The 80s called and they’d like my denim suit back. Tant pis!
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Very happy Roz w/ picnic
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Me w/ picnic

Our picnic spot was also the sight of my first ever real-life encounter with the well known, French cliché “c’est la vie”, though it was under slightly different circumstances than one might expect. The gentleman’s dog had decided that our picnic spot was better suited as his toilet.

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Roz w/ Arc de Triomphe
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Me @ Arc de Triomphe
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And again.
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Roz @ Arc de Triomphe 2.0
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Looking like a Cool Coffee Mom

We spent the early evening at a café listening to some very cool jazz and got Chinese food a little later on (an experience in itself), before heading back to bed and booking a holiday to Palermo with our dear friend Emma! Although I’m  feeling that holiday hangover / weekend blues on this Tuesday evening before an early start tomorrow, I had an absolute blast this weekend AND my dad is visiting me this week! We’re even off to Geneva on Saturday, so deffo stay tuned for that – I hear it’s great.

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MARVELS of MONTMARTRE: Amélie, Dalí & Artist’s Square

Being here two weeks in advance of my classes has had its tribulations.  However, it has also given me plenty of free time to do some exploring. As a hardcore fan of the film Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, Montmartre seemed like a natural and obvious place to begin. The endless steps were most definitely rewarded by the spectacular view from the Sacré-Cœur and my fangirl moment outside the Café des 2 Moulins.

7/9/2017 / Amélie Sites

IMG_7403Sacré-Cœur

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IMG_7423Spot the moulin!

IMG_7446Café des 2 Moulins, where Amélie works!

IMG_7448Le Moulin Rouge

 

12/9/2017 / Espace Dalí

Espace Dalí was also on my week “To Do” list. An interest (and to some extent a confusion) in Dalí and the surreal was sparked back in my French Cinema module at Cardiff last year upon watching Un Chien Andalou, a surrealist short film by Dalí and Buñel – definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it! The exhibition is kind of small but in the same way it’s intimate, thus allowing you to get around everything on offer super easily, sculpture and painting alike.

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« Le surrealisme, c’est moi! »

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« L’éternal féminin rend l’homme semblable à un crétin »

 

Artist’s Square

My visit to, and through, Artist’s Square was less orchestrated and was more of a visit en route. I was mesmerised by the artists at work and spent a good half hour walking up and down the line of portrait works, watching. I had absolutely no intention of being painted myself until I was called over by one of the men who didn’t have any work on offer, wanting to paint me “for fun” and not obliging to buy anything. Of course, not having any other plans, I thought why not? I ended up buying the painting.

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In all honesty, the lower half of my face is a little off but I do like it as a painting nonetheless. It also means I’ve got a great little artsy souvenir of my first week in Paris, and my first week as an Erasmus student, forevermore!

VACAY IN VALENCIA

Another Spanish city break. Another girly getaway. This time Valencia was calling . . .

We’re going back a while now but in celebration of the end of exams and thus, the end of my second year at Cardiff university / reaching the half way point in my degree etc. (who needs excuses anyway yada yada), two of my housemates and I booked an urban girly retreat to Valencia, Spain. Having all acclimatised to the matte skies of Cardiff, the Spanish sun was most definitely calling. Be warned, this is a photo heavy post! 

Day one was for exploring (and papping each other it seems)

9/6/2017

Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències / Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias / The City of Arts and Sciences

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Day two, I will be honest with you, was a hungover right off.

11/6/2017

We were kindly invited along to a (boozy) Erasmus Pool Party @ Tumbao Beach Club which was so much fun. 

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12/6/2017

Our last day was a tan topping (burning) beach day at Playa de la Malvarrosa. After cycling there, we rewarded ourselves with loads of obligatory paella and lazed around by the sea all day. Absolute bliss.

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BREAK IN BARÇA

I’m a sucker for a city break so when mumma suggested a girly Easter getaway, I was so down. We decided on Barcelona, having both wanted to visit for some time, and what a fabulous decision it was. Arriving on morning of the Tuesday 11th and flying home on the afternoon of Friday 14th April, we had 3 nights and plenty of daytime to wander around and explore the city. Let’s take a look at our mini adventure through photos!

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We stayed in the super central Praktik Rambla Hotel on the Rambla de Catalunya and it was so gorgeous! We had a twin room with fancy French doors onto a cute little balcony overlooking a bustling square of restaurants. The super comfy beds made for great afternoon siestas too (when in Rome and all that).

Touristing

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Our visit to the Picasso Museum was perhaps my favourite outing. Get there early to avoid humungous queues!

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Bruised like a peach in the land of the orange.

 

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La Sagrada Família

 

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Arc de Triomf

La Sagrada Família and the Arc de Triomf were spectacular. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get into the Sagrada as tickets were sold out but it was still great to walk around such a magnificent piece of architecture.

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Couldn’t resist a snap in front of the cutest floral-fronted abode in Barcelona.

Now, onto food . . . and drink!

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Obligatory holiday ice cream snap 🍨

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Naturally, tapas and sangria were on the menu of an evening.

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We were lucky enough to have a great tapas place literally on the doorstep of our hotel so naturally we took advantage of the fact and dined here two out of the three evenings of our stay, trying out different dishes each night.

Big thanks to mum for treating me to our girly Easter break! Barcelona was great fun and I’ll definitely be back.

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FORTNIGHT in NORMANDY

Having just arrived home from a wonderful fortnight in Normandy, I thought it about time I return to the blog having not posted since before my first set of university exams. So, before getting into talk about my travels, I should say that all went well. I finished my first year studying French at Cardiff University with 69%,  one frustrating percent from a 1st but delighted nevertheless.

After months of lazing around at university and taking my first year pretty easy, I was so ready for a break having done some real work again for a few weeks. Normandy was the absolute ticket and oh so relaxing.

Having been kindly invited along by Tom’s dad, we had been so looking forward to this trip for weeks! After my new passport finally arrived, we decided that I would drive to Portsmouth, we would catch the ferry to Cherbourg, (I would be brave) and drive to the château on the other side.

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The bulk of the holiday was spent in the beautiful château above, situated in the village of Fontenay-sur-mer, Normandy which lent itself to relaxation galore.

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Our absolutely gorgeous room was ever so grand with its alcove enclosed bed and chandelier.

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On the several days that weren’t entirely spent swimming, snoozing and sunbathing, we visited local villages and more notably the nearby World War II batteries (namely Batterie de Crisbecq & Batterie d’Azeville) and Utah Beach. These visits were extremely poignant and really help to add depth and a sense of context to the Normandy scenery.

IMG_2634.JPGUtah Beach

Although the holiday was absolutely amazing, Tom did unfortunately miss his graduation ceremony. Thankfully, and due to all of his hard work & brains, he graduated with a first class BA (hons) in Ancient History so we were able to use the holiday as a huge and well deserved celebration!

IMG_5878.JPGThe staged graduation shot

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After almost two years, we finally got a decent photograph together too.

ATHENS TRILOGY | MUSEUMS

For me, no city break is complete without several visits to its greatest museums. They are central to any city and are the epicentre of identity for each and every one of them. The entire point of such trips is to gain from the culture of another country and learn from its history. There are very few other places that can open your eyes to and teach you these things in such a way as Athens.

IMG_5187National Archeological Museum

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The National Archeological Museum of Athens is a literal trove of the most amazing things you could ever lay eyes on. The mere idea that some of the objects in the vast collection are thousands of years old is mind-blowing and completely mesmerising. Gold, marble and bronze galore.

IMG_4931The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is so beautifully laid out and designed in such a modern and minimalistic way that the exhibits really stand out as they rightly should. They all stand alone and are uninterrupted in expansive, spacious and flowing rooms that are easy to direct.  The huge glass panels allow for glorious views of the Parthenon as seen in the photograph below.

IMG_4936I absolutely love this shot of the Parthenon from the Acropolis Museum. Visiting the museum first and witnessing this view just makes you 10 times more excited to get up there in the following days.

Two other museums that we visited were the Epigraphic Museum (situated next to the National Archeological Museum) and the Museum of the Ancient Agora, both also worth a visit.

As students from an EU country, all of our museum tickets were free of charge which was absolutely amazing as it allowed opportunity for multiple visits and meant no rushing.

http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en

http://www.namuseum.gr/wellcome-en.html