Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Around Toulouse in a Day

Bonjour, tout ! Finalement, c'est moi Aurélie qui vas vous montrer Toulouse. Mon amie Bénédicte habite à Toulouse. C'est toujours génial à la voir. Alors, voici Toulouse. Toulouse est une assez grande ville, mais je trouve que c'est possible à faire un petit tour...

Toulouse is one of France's larger cities. It is part of the fourth largest metropolitan area in France, and it is also capital of the région Midi-Pyrénées and the Haute-Garonne department.

Where does our tour of Toulouse begin? The Parc de Reynerie and the château de Reynerie!

The park, created by Guillaume du Barry, is divided into a lower and higher terrace. The château can be found on the higher terrace, which is where I spent most of my time.

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The staircase leading up to it is even beautiful.

Sadly, I couldn't go inside, so I settled for taking photos outside. If you're as curious about the interior as I was, definitely Google it!


Before leaving, I had my photo taken with Traveling Josefina.

Here's a photo from the lower terrace of the park, close to the metro stop;

Where was my next stop? The Capitole de Toulouse!

You can vaguely see it, but on the ground in front of the capital, there is the Occitan cross. It represents Occitania and the ancient province of Languedoc, now the Languedoc Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. (Languedoc= langue d'oc= Occitan language). 

Close-up of the main entrance:

Here's what it looks like from the back:

After photographing the Place du Capitole, I headed over to Pont Neuf de Toulouse. This stone bridge, completed in 1632, is unique and known for its asymmetrical features. It crosses the Garonne River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Bordeaux. 

I walked a little ways to the nearest B line metro stop and headed over to the Compans Cafferelli quartier to visit our next stop: le jardin japonais de Toulouse. This garden, inspired by Japan, is newer compared to most things in France. It was completed in 1981. It features Japanese plants, a red bridge, and a "pagoda". 



To end the day, I had a photo taken with Traveling Josefina in the non-Japanese portion of the park.

That concludes my tour of Toulouse in a day. There was a lot more I could've covered, but I chose my favorite things. I just love walking in unique parks and gardens; do you?

Bisous,
Aurélie

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mar-say what?! (Marseille, France)

Salut, tout le monde ! C'est Sabine, et je vais parler de mon séjour à Marseille.

After our three-day stay in Rome, my family and I spent two days in Marseille. Our flight was delayed, so we ended up arriving there at 2 AM. It was exhausting, and you know Sandrine...all she does is complain. Imagine how the delay in her sleep schedule made her feel!

So let's talk about Marseille. It's the second largest city and third largest metropolitan area in France. It is the capitol of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. How could you NOT want to spend time here?

This is somebody's backyard. I know, I'm jealous, too, 

We found a gorgeous secluded area on our way to find a beach.


I took an obligatory photo with Traveling Josefina. Sandrine was so weird about taking pics with a doll. I'm so over caring. 

This is definitely very different than Lille! Très provençal !



Here is a monument to honor the fallen soldiers.

Some random pics of me:


I took a photo of this for my American friends. I don't know the English word for "corniche", but it's named after president JFK!

On the Corniche, you can find "Petit-Nice", or "Little Nice". I assume they call it such because the buildings resemble those in Nice, which isn't far away at all.

As you walk down the Corniche, you come across the Jardin Valmer and villa. This villa is probably one of the most well-known in the city. The view from it is breathtaking. 


I can't forget about the Vieux Port, the heart of Marseille. It is the oldest port in France.

 It's guarded by the Fort Saint Jean.


Do you see that basilica on top of the hill? That's Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. I'm going to have to visit again. Sandrine and my mom didn't want to hike up to it or take the bus. Instead, we went to the Grand Littoral, which is the best centre commercial (mall) in the world. They have Primark, an inexpensive fast-fashion store I fell in love with in London, and a Disney Store. The Disney Store in Lille closed awhile ago, unfortunately.

Near Joliette, the port in which the cruise ship docks can be found, there's the Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille.

It is a basilica minor with completely stunning detailing. It was built in the Romanesque-Byzantine style. I've never seen anything like this in France, which makes this basilica minor so unique and special.



I forget the name of this park, but it certainly was pretty! Again, it provided us with a fabulous view of the sparkling blue Mediterranean. 

To end this post, I'm going to share a photo of a very typical provençal building and street:


After seeing my photos from Lille and photos from Marseille, can't you see how regions in France differ from one another? I love my hometown, but Marseille has such a different charm...one I'm not used to since I don't live there. Therefore, it's always neat to visit.

Are your favorite places to visit similar to your hometown?

Bisous,
Sabine

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Roman Holiday: Day 3

Ciao! C'est Sabine, et je vais vous partager mon dernier jour à Rome.

Since we had to fly into Marseille, we didn't do too much. We did some shopping and saw the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon.

Designed by Nicola Salvi and finished by Pietro Bracci, the Trevi fountain is one of the most famous Baroque-style fountains in the world. Legend has it that if you throw a coin into it, you'll come back to Rome. Unfortunately, the fountain was under some heavy-duty construction. I definitely plan on returning to Rome someday, even if I didn't throw in a coin.

There is a Pantheon in Paris, too, but here is probably the most famous one...located in Rome's Piazza della Rotonda...

It was completed in 128 AD and is probably one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings. It was once used as a church in St. Mary's honor. Former Roman kings are even buried there. Here are some photos of the interior:


That concludes my first (but not last) visit to Rome. Later that evening, my family and I headed to Marseille, France. Our plane was delayed for about an hour and a half, and when we landed in France, it was 2 in the morning. That's another story for another post...

A tout!
Sabine

Monday, June 29, 2015

When In Rome: Day 2

Ciao! 
C'est moi, Sabine, qui ne peut pas parler italien...

So, what did I do during my second day in Rome?

I climbed all 135 steps of the Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, or what most people know as the Spanish Steps. The funds were given to the Italians by a French diplomat, and the stairs linked the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to a church.

At the bottom of the steps, there is a cool fish fountain...

The stairs! Sadly, the church was under construction. There were also irritating men trying to sell tourists selfie sticks. Gross. I have a real camera.

The Piazza di Spagna:

Here's where I need your help, readers. On our way to the catacombs, we saw this beautiful building. However, we don't know what it is. If you know, leave a comment below!

Our next stop? The catacombs of St. Callisto, located on the Appian Way! This was my favorite part of Rome, hands-down. We had a wonderful guide, too, who told us several cool facts about the site. 

We weren't supposed to take pictures in the catacombs, but you know me. I don't really follow rules well. 

The crypt contained the tombs of popes from the 2nd to 4th century as well as many children and babies who died. The tombs were looted and empty, though several are still in tact. Greek was the written language of the Church, so you can see that on some of the stones.

After the tour, I posed for a photo with Traveling Mini Josefina

The catacomb tour was a great reprieve from the sweltering Roman heat. I drank at least five bottles of water. It was a drastic change from the weather in Lille, which is several degrees cooler. Regardless, Rome is gorgeous.

A la prochaine,
Sabine