8 Perfect Paris Streets

The only way you’re going to really see Paris is on foot. Because there are dozens of beautiful little walking streets in the city that you’re going to miss completely if you’re in a taxi or on the trains. If you Google “Paris walking streets,” you’ll get hundreds of lists; here are the ones I really liked. They’re all in quite central areas, easy enough to get to if you don’t know the city well, and will give you a really great overview of what you can find if you take the time to wander…

 

1. Rue Montorgueil
Why walk it? Cafés, bakeries and restaurants for the most part, like Au Rocher de Cancale. There are also some beautiful little places where you can get a crepe and some wine while you do some people watching.

 

2. Galerie Vivienne
Why walk it? This little undercover walking street has been made Instagram-famous for is beautifully tiled passageway which is strung with fairy lights overhead. Galerie Vivienne is home to a few old bookstores mixed in with some more modern boutiques.

 

3. Rue Saint-Séverin
Why walk it? It’s one of those story-book cobbled streets up near the Latin Quarter. Start at Boulevard Saint-Michel where you’ll find lots of pretty cafes and restaurants. Turn left on Rue de Petit Pont and you’ll end at Shakespeare & Company for a book fix.

 

4. Rue Cler
Why walk it? With wide walking paths and lots of shops, it’s an easy place to soend a few hours. You’ll find everything from Mariage Frères tea to lots of colourful florists to some delicious smelling bakeries. At the end of street, just past Rue Saint-Dominique, you’ll find the Church of Saint-Pierre du Gros Caillou.

 

5. Rue Mouffetard
Why walk it? This cobbled street on a hill hosts a farmers market of sorts every day except Monday. It’s lined with food stores and stalls – butchers, fromageries, bakeries, patisseries, the works. The croissants from Maison Morange are exceptional.

 

6. Passage Verdeau
Why walk it? For the beautiful old bookstores like Librairie J.N. Santon and other antique shops. It’s a real step back in time.

leading into…

7. Passage Jouffroy
Why walk it? This is another classic walking street, really harking back to the past. It houses a wax museum, a former 19th century brasserie, and Le Valentin, a tea house with the most incredible cakes.

leading into…

8. Passage des Panoramas
This one’s considered to be the first covered walking street in the city. With it’s old tiled floors, a few cafes and some antique collector stores (stamps, coins, postcards), it’s a great way to end your walking day.

Top 15 Things To Do in Paris

1. Eat all of the croissants and pastries

https://dupainetdesidees.com/en/
Where? Du Pain et des Idées, 34 Rue Yves Toudic
Why go? Because pastry tourism is a thing in Paris. Or at least I’m pretty sure it is. You can find an amazing croissant in just about every café, but the ones at Du Pain et des Idées are extraordinary. Also, the pistachio escargots… if you’ve eaten a more exquisite pastry, I don’t believe you!
Cost? A few euro each, and worth every cent.  

 

2. Go see the Eiffel Tower – and go up it for an unreal view

https://www.toureiffel.paris/en
Where? Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France
Why go? You can’t very well go to Paris without seeing it, but while you’re there, you may as well take the ride up – the view out over Paris is incredible. You can also have a drink or even enjoy a fancy meal up there – just remember to book first.
How long will you need? Give yourself about two hours.
Cost? A ticket to the top will cost you 25.00 per person.

 

3. Then, go see the Eiffel Tower from Montparnasse Tower

https://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/en/
Where? 33 Avenue du Maine
Why go? Now that you’ve seen things from the Eiffel Tower, it might be nice to check out the view with it in there. And you won’t get a better view than the one from Montparnasse Tower. You’ll take the super-fast lift up to the top where you’ll get an insane 360° view over Paris from 200 metres high. And you can relax at a café window seat and take it all in while drinking coffee and eating more croissants!
How long will you need? We were up there for about an hour.
Cost? €17.00 per person

 

4. Take a stroll through the Tuileries Gardens & grounds of the Louvre

Where? Rue de Rivoli
Why go? If you’re a classic art fan, you’ll of course want to visit the inside of the Louvre, but walking the grounds is like walking through a gallery in itself. Once you’ve taken it all in, spill out into the gardens, take a seat and do some people watching. It’s a really lovely break from the chaos of Paris.
Cost? Free!

 

5. Walk up the hill and see Sacré-Cœur Basilica at the top
http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/

Where? 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre
Why go? Sure, you can take the funicular, but the steps are so much more rewarding (and if you eat as much pastry as I did in Paris, kind of necessary). Sacré-Cœur is beautiful to see once you get to the top, but the view when you turn around is almost better, especially on a clear day.
Cost? Free to walk up that hill, free to enter the basilica

 

6. Do some shopping at the undercover passages

Where? Galerie Vivienne, 5 Rue de la Banque
Why go? Paris has a heap of gorgeous undercover walking passages that hark back to the 18th century when the city was a rabbit-warren of these passages. Most of them didn’t survive, but a few like Galerie Vivienne and Passage Jouffroy have become quite popular for a bit of coffee drinking and shopping.
How long will you need? You could easily (and we did) spend an entire day exploring the city’s undercover passages.

 

7. Have a fancy French dinner at P’Tit Troquet or Cafe du Commerce

http://www.leptittroquet.fr/en/
Where? 28 Rue de l’Exposition
Why go? When in Paris… I always thought French food was completely overrated, until I ate at Le P’Tit Troquet. They have only a few items on the menu at any one time, all using fresh produce and prepared with the utmost care. One spoonful of the beef bourguignon and you’ll start to understand why the stuffy old ladies adore the cuisine so much.
How long will you need? A few hours. There’s the entrée, the main, the dessert, the wine…
Cost? Around 40 per person will get you a three course meal and generous glass of wine.

 

8. Get some kitchen inspo at E. Dehillerin
https://www.edehillerin.fr/en/
Where? 18-20 Rue Coquillière
Why go? Once you’ve tried some good food over there, you might be a little more inspired to hit the kitchen when you get back, and E.Dehillerin has absolutely everything you could possibly need. Even if you don’t like to cook, you can’t not want a giant wooden spoon the height of a small child.
Cost? Prices are actually pretty reasonable, so you may buy more than you expect.

 

9. Visit some Parisian residents of the past at the Père Lachaise Cemetery

http://www.pere-lachaise.com/
Where? 16 Rue du Repos
Why go? One of the most beautiful cemeteries I’ve ever visited, the Père Lachaise is set on the most stunning garden grounds. If you can visit in autumn, you’ll be rewarded with golden and red leaves everywhere, and it makes it a lot more enchanting than creepy.
How long will you need? 2 – 3 hours
Cost? Free

 

10. See the show at the Moulin Rouge

http://www.moulinrouge.fr/?lang=en
Where? 82 Boulevard de Clichy
Why go? Yes, it’s tacky and old, but you know what? It’s actually a really fun night. Especially if you purchase the tickets that include a bottle of champagne and find yourselves sharing a table with some other foreigners. We actually found the comedic/contortionist/random filler acts in between the main musical numbers to be the most entertaining, and it was kind of fun to get dressed up and pretend to be in the fancy Paris of yesteryear for the night.
How long will you need? A few hours
Cost? Prices vary depending on date and time, but start from around €70

 

11. Go to Disneyland!
http://www.disneylandparis.com/en-us/
Where? Marne-la-Vallée
Why go? If you need a reason, there’s just no helping you…
How long will you need? All day!
Cost? 1 day tickets are around USD$80.00 per person

 

12. Eat some Nutella crepes in Luxembourg Gardens

Why go? Have you even been to Paris if you haven’t stuffed yourself silly with crepes?! Grab a Nutella-smothered crepe in the gardens and walk your way around the part French/part English/Italian inspired gardens to work it off.
Cost? A few euro for one, but you’re probably not going to want only one.

 

13. Shop for books in English at Shakespeare and Company

https://shakespeareandcompany.com/
Where? 37 Rue de la Bûcherie
Why go? This may be the most famous independent book store in the world, and for good reason. The perfect old building is full of English language books, and is worth seeing even if you’re not a reader. Also, a café on site in case you haven’t had your fill of French coffee and croissants yet.
How long will you need? If you’re a certified bookworm like me, an hour or two…

 

14. Visit Montmatre
Why go? This is artist-territory, and the classic Paris you imagine after seeing movies. Storybook old buildings covered in ivy, sweet little cafes run by equally sweet little old couples, and artists working on pieces on the streets.
How long will you need? If you have time, spend half a day there.

 

15. Sample your way through Rue Mouffetard market

http://www.rue-mouffetard.com/market.html
Where?
Why go? This cobbled walking street fills with street stalls most mornings, selling everything from seafood to fresh bread. Head in on an empty stomach so you can eat your way through – bonus points if you’re staying in an Airbnb with a kitchen so you can buy ingredients to cook with later!
How long will you need? An hour or two

A Weekend in Ronda, Spain: Why to go & how to get there

A few years ago, I saw a photo of this bridge and the surrounding area in a travel brochure. I had no idea where Ronda was, but I knew I wanted to see if for myself.

It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to, and it’s constantly overlooked because of bigger tourist towns like Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and San Sebastian. We found there was so much more information on all of those other places than there was on Ronda online, so I wanted to put together a bit of a guide for others who are travelling to Spain. Because Ronda is very much worth visiting.

 

HOW TO GET THERE:
By train – cheap and easy.  The best airport to fly into is Malaga, and you’ll be able to catch a direct train from there, which takes 2 hours each and cost us around AUD$35.00 per person.

You’ll be able to book online a month or two before travel. Rail Europe is a reputable website and will advise you if your tickets can be downloaded to your phone, if they need to be printed, or if they are paper tickets that must be posted to you. You can also create an account so that you can access your trips easily.

 

WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed at the Hotel Colón, which I couldn’t recommend more highly. Its a basic hotel (we’re not fancy-hotel people), but in a great location that’s within walking distance of everything you’ll be wanting to see, lovely staff, 24 hour reception, free Wi-Fi, and a huge complimentary breakfast served in their restaurant.

 

WHAT TO DO ON A WEEKEND VISIT:

Day 1:
– Go for a morning walk through Alameda del Tajo Park
This gorgeous 19th-century park is full of enormous trees, wide walking avenues and park benches. It also has an absolutely insane view out over the gorge, if you’re not too bothered by heights.

– Keep walking on to the Ronda Bullring
Built in the 18th century completely out of stone, this was the heart of the city for a very long time. You can head in and check it out from the inside for around €7.00 per person, or just have a wander around the outside. Be sure to check out some of the gift stores around the bullring selling hand-painted ceramics.

– Check out the Puente Nuevo bridge over El Tajo gorge
Yup, the bridge in the first photo. Built in the mid to late 1700s (it took over 3 decades to complete), this is one seriously impressive feat of engineering.

– Take a break for lunch
Visit Casa Quino on Calle Nueva for a platter of Iberian cured meats, cheeses and a jug of sangria. There isn’t a better lunch in Ronda.

– Visit the Jardines de Cuenca
The gardens are gorgeous, even when we visited in winter, but it’s also one of the best places in the city to visit for a killer view of the Puente Nuevo.

 

Day 2:
– Get an early start with a hot air balloon ride
Hands down one of the best experiences of my life was driving down to the bottom of the gorge and rising up over the town of Ronda in a hot air balloon at sunrise. We went with Glovento Sur, and they were fantastic, even bringing us to a local eatery for breakfast after the ride.

– Make your way back into town and visit the Arab Baths
Similar to the design of Roman bath houses, the Arab Baths in Ronda are believed to have been the main public baths for the Moorish population back in the 11th century. It’ll cost you around €8.00 per person to walk through the remains, and there’s a great little film playing in there to show you how the baths would have operated.

– Stop for lunch, again
Keep heading south and order from the hand-written tapas menu at De Locos Tapas – the patatas bravas are especially delicious. And more sangria, obviously.

– Climb up to look down
After lunch, look over your table and across the plaza, and you’ll find some steps up to a wall – climb on up to burn some of those lunch calories and you’ll also get a great view.

– Visit Mondragon Palace
Once the palace of a Moorish ruler, it’s now a little natural history museum. It’ll cost you around €4.00 per person for entry, and is well worth it – a lot of the ceiling and tile details are well-kept originals, and the garden is completely magnificent.

Eating the city: Berlin, Germany

It’s not all beer, meat and potatoes… well, I mean, there is a lot of that, but there’s other stuff, too.

Potato dishes

Why get it:
Germans do potato particularly well – there’s a lot more to it than mashed potato with meat. Dishes like this one from Zur Rose make it a kind of replacement for pasta, without making it exactly like gnocchi.
We got ours from: Zur Rose, Weinbergsweg 26, Berlin 

Goulash and potato dumplings

Why get it:
When you’re travelling through Germany in winter, you want warm, hearty comfort food. That’s goulash with the aforementioned mashed potato. It may look like dog food, but the meat is fall-apart-in-your-mouth soft, the sauce is rich, the sauerkraut is the perfect food to cut through the richness of the goulash, and mashed potato is always a welcome addition.
We got ours from: Georgbräu, Spreeufer 4, Berlin

 

A cured meat and cheese breakfast spread

Why get it:
It’s not all rich, hearty food – places like Alpenstück are breaking the stereotype with some really basic but delicious options for the modern traveller. Everything is so fresh and simple, it’s the perfect change from the typically heavy meals you’ll eat later in the day.
We got ours from: Alpenstück Bäckerei, Schröderstraße 1, Berlin

 

Pork knuckle

Why get it:
For that heavy meal later in the day, you can’t beat a crispy-skinned pork knuckle. This is the quintessential German plate of meat: juicy, soft pork under a crispy, salty layer, sitting on yet more sauerkraut with a side of yet more mashed potato. Sounds like it’d be getting repetitive, right? Wrong.
We got ours from: Weihenstephaner, Neue Promenade 5, Berlin

 

Traditional German sweets

Why get it:
After all that meat and potato, you’ll be wanting some sugar to balance things out. And Germany does sweets just as well as they do meat and potato. Some delicious options to look for are strudel biscuits – basically a jam covered butter biscuit with ‘crumble’ on top, and nussecken, an absolutely delicious nut/apricot jam/chocolate concoction that you really have to try.
We got ours from: A tiny little café that I can’t remember the name of… sorry!

Asolo, Italy

I’m really lucky to have parents hailing from opposite ends of the same country. The north and south of Italy are quite different, and I’ve had wonderful opportunities to see both. Mum’s side of the family are from the north, up near Venice, so I really wanted to show some of the little towns and villages in the area that most people who visit Venice never get to. While the island is obviously incredible, I wonder how many people would kick themselves if they knew what they were missing on the mainland…

Asolo is one of those little towns up in the foothills of the Dolomites that you picture when you think to yourself “how gorgeous it must be to hire a car and just drive and explore little medieval cobblestoned villages.” Dating back to pre-Roman times, Asolo has been around for a very long time, and hopefully won’t be going anywhere soon. And getting there is as easy as leaving the Venice islands for the mainland and hiring a car.

With cobbled streets, creeping greenery, delicious food in windows, remainders of medieval buildings, and seriously stunning views, it’s easy to see why so many artists and writers find their way there. Dame Freya Stark, explorer, traveller and writer, was one of those – she visited Asolo for the first time in 1923, eventually retired there, and passed away a few months after her 100th birthday there. That’s her villa in the photo below…

Asolo is one of those towns that managed to retain all of its old-world charm while Venice was being slowly commercialised and destroyed by tourism. They don’t get a heap of visitors, comparatively, and it’s so much more beautiful for that (so if you visit it, please do so respectfully!) – it’s the sort of place you want to find a little table balanced on cobblestones to sit at while you drink wine, a place you’d want to visit with a sketch book and pencil, even if you can’t draw. The fact that there isn’t a heap of big tourist attractions to see and do there is what makes it such a great place to visit as a break from the chaos that can be Venice.