Perfection in Paris

Paris

Paris

My aunt had never been to Paris, so we decided to maximize our time there by hiring a car to drive us from the port in Le Havre to the “city of love”. We met our driver outside the port terminal at 8:30am, and embarked on the two and a half hour drive. I had spent the night before at a crew Halloween party, so I napped for most of the ride.

Arc du Triumph

Arc du Triumph

Upon reaching Paris, our driver (I can’t remember his name, so I’ll call him Francoise) started taking us around the city to see some of the famous monuments. Our first stop was the Arc du Triumph. I’ve seen similar arches in New York, Lisbon, and Bucharest, but this one is the largest and most impressive. People were able to go up to the top of the arch, but we decided we’d rather see more than wait in line.

Madeleine Church

Madeleine Church

Our next stop was the Church of Madeleine. The exterior columns stretching down the side of the building were beautiful, as was the carving on the front of the building. If I remembered any of my vocabulary from art history, I’d be able to describe the church in much more detail. As it is, I’m not doing it justice! It seems I’m suffering from early memory loss…

Academie Nationale de Musique

Academie Nationale de Musique

We continued on to the Academie Nationale de Musique. The gigantic building had carved stone on all sides and gold angels on top. Pink, blue, and gold details popped out against the stone.

The Louvre

The Louvre

We moved on to the Louvre. Francoise pointed out the difference in the color of the walls outside the plaza versus inside. The inside walls have been cleaned, but the outside ones have not. We were able to spend some time walking around and taking photos at the museum. I’ve seen the Louvre in so many movies and photos, so it was exciting to see it in real life! I need to go back to Paris and spend a good four days exploring all the art inside. Francoise confessed that he’s never been inside, as he more of a contemporary art fan.

More at the Louvre

More at the Louvre

The last stop on our driving tour was the Notre Dame Cathedral. We stopped just long enough for photos before getting back in the car. Francoise got a bit lost on the way to our drop off point, so by the time we got out of the car again, I was starving! We were dropped off on the Champs Elysses for 3 hours of free time. My mom, aunt, and I headed straight for food!

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

After a glass of white wine and a delicious piece of quiche lorraine, I was ready for more exploring! We set off for the Eiffel Tower. It was about a 20-minute walk from the restaurant to the tower. My aunt, seeing it for the first time, was ecstatic. We took plenty of photos, and she even took a few selfies!

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

We walked back towards Champs Elysses, and had just enough time to stop for some wine before meeting Francoise again. I was unable to sleep on the ride back to the ship, but enjoyed talking with my mom and looking at the idyllic French countryside. Francoise pointed out his hometown as we got closer to Le Havre.

When we got back to the ship, I had to get ready for a farewell performance. I was sad to be saying goodbye to my family the next day, but was happy after a great week with them, and a practically perfect day in Paris!

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Captivated by Cannes

One of the first ports of this cruise was Cannes, France.  We’ve had some extra work for the past 2 weeks, so my friend and I were excited to get out and relax.  She was craving some sunshine, and I was in need of good food.  We were both satisfied by the end of the day!

Brilliant beach

Brilliant beach

We had to take a tender boat from the ship to shore.  On the boat, we spoke with a guest that recognized us from our show the night before.  She is a singer at clubs back home, so she had a real appreciation for the arts.  It was nice to talk to a fan!

Once on land, we started perusing the menus at restaurants near the beach.  We settled on a small restaurant with a covered patio.  I ordered mussels, which ended up being large enough to feed a family of 5, and my friend had a pizza.  The food was great, as was the house rose we both ordered.

Giant pot of mussels

Giant pot of mussels

While we were eating, we spoke with a couple that is cruising on our ship.  They were very friendly, and upon learning that we were dancers, asked if they can get a photo with us after tonight’s performance.  It was very flattering.

We're famous

We’re famous

After lunch, we went looking for a good wi-fi spot.  We found a small cafe that fit the bill, so we ordered some beers, sat outside, and took some time to connect with the outside world.  Once we were satisfied, we bought 2 beers to go, then headed to the beach.

Walking on sunshine

Walking on sunshine

The beach was absolutely beautiful.  I could have stayed there for hours!  The temperature was perfect, the sun was shining, a light breeze was blowing, and waves were crashing in.  I took off my shoes to enjoy feeling the sand between my toes. I didn’t want to leave!

Perfect way to end the day

Perfect way to end the day

It was a simple day out in a fantastic city.  Cannes has joined the list of places I must return to!

A Nice Day in Nice

Train station in Nice

Train station in Nice

We stopped in Villefranche last week, and I headed out with a few friends to catch the train to Nice.  We had to take tender boats from the ship to the port, and then it was just a 10 minute walk to the train station and an 8 minute train ride!

Walking to the shops

Walking to the shops

Once in Nice, we walked to a little shopping street to find food.  I felt obligated to try a Niciose salad in Nice, and was not disappointed!

Niciose salad

Niciose salad

After lunch, we slowly made our way to the beach.  A Finnish skater in the group went in for a swim, but I chose to just admire the beautiful blue water from the sidewalk.  The water was much too cold for me!

Beautiful beach

Beautiful beach

We unfortunately didn’t have much time, so after stopping at the beach, we wandered back through some shops, grabbed a quick drink, and headed back to the train station.

Arabesques around the world

Arabesques around the world

Although the day was very short, it was nice and relaxing.  I’d love to return to Nice to see more.

Loving the French Riviera

Loving the French Riviera

The City of Love

We had a two-day cruise to Le Havre and back to Southampton last week. At the last minute, I was able to join a crew tour to Paris. The bus ride was long, nearly two and a half hours, leaving us with just two and a half hours in Paris before we needed to return to the ship. Although my time there was brief, I had a fantastic day! I can’t wait to return to Paris.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

One of the other dancers and I tagged along with the sound tech from the theater. He was meeting a friend from high school that has been living in Paris for 7 years. It was great to have a local show us around!

Drop off point

Drop off point

We were dropped off near Invalides, and walked straight to the Eiffel Tower. The walk took only about 15 minutes. Although we were walking quickly, we were able to enjoy the sights along the way. In my travels, I’ve sometimes felt that certain landmarks and cities aren’t worth the hype. The Eiffel Tower, however, was even better than I expected!

Casual arabesque

Casual arabesque

We met our guide under the tower. She led us across the street to get better photos, and then we jumped in a cab to go to Notre Dame. While we were driving, she pointed out other important buildings and told us more about the city. We even drove through the tunnel where Princess Diana had her fatal accident.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame was beautiful, but seeing it made me wish I had my notes from Art History so I could fully appreciate all of the architectural details. We were already running out of time, so after taking a few pictures, we walked around to find lunch.

Near the cafe

Near the cafe

We stopped at a café called Le Sainsev on a side street that our guide had been to before. My meal was delicious! I got 3 courses for just 12 euros.   To start, I had mussels in a white wine sauce. My entrée was fish with a cream sauce. My dessert of chocolate mousse was too rich for me to finish! It was on of the best meals I’ve had in months.

Paris

Paris

By the time we paid our bill, we had to take another taxi to get back to our bus on time. It started raining as we were driving back to the ship, so the ride was longer than expected. After a busy day out, I napped the entire ride!

Invalides

Invalides

My few hours in Paris were fantastic. I can’t wait to go back!

Fantastic France

We stopped in Villefranche, a small town between Nice and Monte Carlo on a perfect, sunny day. I got off the ship with a fellow dancer, hoping to find food and wine. We took a tender boat from the ship to the terminal. During the boat ride, I enjoyed some fantastic views and a nice, light breeze.

On the tinder boat

On the tender boat

Once on land, we walked through a small outdoor market, then wove our way through some small side streets, looking for a good place to stop. We settled on a restaurant near the water, where I had some delicious pizza and a mediocre glass of rose.

Beautiful town

Beautiful town

After lunch, my friend went to find her boyfriend, and I went back to the market to buy a locally made perfume. I then stopped at a small café, where I had another glass of rose. This time, the wine was great! Sitting outside, sipping vino, and people watching was the perfect way to end my day out.

Looking for a restaurant

Looking for a restaurant

This cruise has confirmed my desire to move to the Mediterranean. I never want to go home!

Wandering the streets

Wandering the streets