Aug 24, 2011

De retour en France. The final days in Paris.

Traveling in the South of France and spending a couple of days in Toulouse was amazing. However, I was really looking forward to Paris for two reasons. One, I hadn't been to Paris in five years - about time to return. Second and most importantly, in Paris a little "réunion" of friends from Maine was about to happen. So I said goodbye to Toulouse after meeting up with a couple of more couchsurfers and made my way to Paris. I arrived on Friday evening and left Tuesday morning. The weekend was filled with reunions, parties, and discovering Paris. Of course the fact that we celebrated our reunion in an appropriate manner played a huge role in our leaving the house a little later in the afternoon every day. Still, we saw quite a bit, walked around a lot, and still managed to squeeze in some necessary shopping. Hey, can't leave Paris without a new dress, right. Right?

As always, a picture can say more than a long blog post, so here a little photo tour of last weekend's shenanigans in Paris.

Sunday seems to have been a good day for weddings

Place de la Concorde

Fall is just around the corner

On the Pont Alexandre III

Inside Hotel des Invalides

Hotel des Invalides

A coke for six euro anybody?

There are creeps everywhere.

Jardin du Luxembourg avec Yuna et Zach
Jardin du Luxembourg


Smart person that I am, I left my memory card in my laptop on Saturday so all my pictures from that day have to be developed before they can be shared.

Un grand merci à Charlotte for hosting our crazy bunch in Paris (and of course Montpellier)! Et un grand merci à Benjamin for providing shelter in Toulouse! C'était inoubliable.

Aug 18, 2011

De retour en France. Day 6 + 7: Toulouse.

With a nice sunburn, I made my way to Toulouse on Monday night. The last two days here have been insanely hot but this morning it has cooled off a little and it even rained for about ten minutes. I've loved every place I have been to so far on this trip and Toulouse is no exception. It's a beautiful city and it definitely deserves its nickname "Ville Rose".

After my "marathon" in Marseille where I basically could not walk after exploring the whole city on foot, I decided to take things a little bit slower this time. And of course in this heat, it would be suicidal to rush from one place to another. So on my first day, I walked around in some quite random neighbourhoods and parts of town, something I always enjoy. This little "stroll" also included a cemetery, a personal favourite everywhere I go.

At some point, I also made it closer to the city center, though.

Pont Neuf

Grand Rond

Ville Rose

On the Pont Neuf
On my second day discovering Toulouse, I finally made it into the city center after walking along the Canal du Midi for a while. And after making a quick stop in a shopping center where, like in all places I've been so far, most shops are actually closed right now. In the afternoon, I meet for a drink with a couchsurfer from Toulouse and learned some more random facts about the city.

Canal du Midi

Dans le Jardin Japonais

Jardin Japonais

Conseil Général

Basilique St-Sernin

Inside Basilique St-Sernin

 Capitole - the center of Toulouse

Aug 16, 2011

De retour en France. Day 4 + 5: Montpellier et la plage

After Marseille I moved on to Montpellier to visit my friend Charlotte that I met in Maine. I stayed with her and her family for two days while she showed me her city and a nearby beach.

My company and guides

Arc de Triomphe

In a church
On August 15, we went to the beach in Palavas where I didn't take any pictures but where I got a nice sunburn. Because my body is obviously not used to sun anymore after this summer in Austria. 
 Merci beaucoup Charlotte!

Aug 15, 2011

De retour en France. Day 3: Les Calanques et îles du Frioul

Since I walked so much while discovering Marseille that I even got blisters, I decided to have a more relaxing and less exhausting second day in Marseille. While exploring the Vieux Port, I came across some companies that offer boat trips to see the calanques. I was sold.
So after I checked out of my hotel, I made my way to the Vieux Port again early in the morning to take a three-hour boat trip to the Calanques. It was yet another beautiful day so I could fully enjoy the beautiful landscapes around Marseille.

Before returning to Marseille, the boat made a stop on the Iles du Frioul where I spent about two hours on the beach, reading, tanning, and swimming.

When I got back to Marseille, I just got my luggage from my hotel and went to the train station straight after to take a train to Montpellier where I was going to visit my friend Charlotte for the weekend.

Aug 13, 2011

De retour en France. Day 2: Marseille

Having finally caught up on some necessary sleep, I spent yesterday discovering Marseille by day. On foot.  Breakfast together with my new couchsurfing friends, and then we all went to visit the beautiful Palais Longchamp.

We all had lunch together before I moved to my new "home", a hotel right next to my host's apartment. In the afternoon I set out to discover more of Marseille on my own. I have no idea how many kilometres I walked today, but they sure were many. Basically, these are the places I saw today:

Stairs to the train station

Cathédrale de la Mayor

Vieux Port

View from Parc du Pharo

Vieux Port

Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

Sunset over Marseille

Night at the Vieux Port
That covers about most of Marseille. Or at least as much as you can cover in a day.

Aug 12, 2011

De retour en France. Day 1: Nice et un peu de Marseille

Yesterday was a long day. Which basically every day that you start travelling is. I got up at 4.20 am, left my house at 5.15 am to catch the bus, took a train to Vienna at 6 am, met a friend who accompanied me to the airport, took a plane from Vienna to Nice at noon, and arrived in Nice at around 2 pm.

Approaching Nice

After the fall-like weather we had in Austria basically most of the summer, I was really looking forward to some guaranteed nice weather. While "planning" my trip a few days before I left, I had decided to just spend the afternoon in Nice and immediately move on to Marseille. So I stored my luggage at the train station, changed clothes (we had about 9 °C at home when I left), and went to discover Nice. It would definitely have been great to spend more time there but I just enjoyed the two short hours that I had. And as soon as I arrived at the Proménade des Anglais, I wanted to jump in the water and just spend a lazy afternoon on the beach.

That was that for Nice.
I arrived in Marseille at around 8 pm. Luckily I quickly found my way to my accommodation for my first night in Marseille - with a great couchsurfer who offered to host me pretty much last minute. After a quick dinner with two other couchsurfers who were staying there as well, we headed to the Vieux Port to have a drink. A nice, cold beer was the perfect ending to a looong day.