One week in Brittany, France

Last summer I’ve decided to spend one week in Bretagne (read: Brittany), France. This region is actually quite popular having nice local population and breathtaking views. This is not my first time visiting Bretagne, I went there I think about 6 years ago to visit my college friend which is originally from Concarneau, one of beautiful coastal town in Bretagne. If my first trip was a love story, this region is actually my love at the first sight.

After I did some research on accommodation and which towns to visit, I finally came to conclusion to stay 3 days in Perros Guirec, 3 days in Carnac and visited some surrounded towns in within.

First town. Perros-Guirec

I’m a person that hates walking or hiking, but Perros Guirec got me no choice 🙂 . Fortunately, I remembered to bring my sneakers. Well, let’s say Perros Guirec city center is just fine – they have some basic restaurants, bars, and creperies, and decent beach. Besides, it was raining and gloomy on the first day I arrived, quite disappointing really. Until the next day, I found this astonishing hiking track that lead me into pink granite rocks which have been sculpted by the sea into varied shapes and patterns. And everything has changed, my holiday spirit was finally back on track. 🙂 For a person who hates walking a lot, 7 km hiking was quite something for me, the worst thing was I forgot to bring a bottle of water, as I don’t think I was going to walk that far. The problem was there’s no nearby town unless you turn your way back to the start or continue walking to the next village, Ploumanac’h. Well, I really had no choice did I? Yet, I remembered that I was really happy, those beautiful views –  like literally in every steps I took – made me forget the fact that I really hate walking.

 

Second town, Ploumanac’h

Accidentally visited this village harbour by mistake the day before, I decided to come back again the next day to explore the town center, (obviously by car). Actually, this village was voted as “the village most preferred by the French” in 2015. Well, I couldn’t agree more. It was a bit cloudy sunny that day, but still the view from the beach was amazing.

If you have chance to visit this town one day, you should try to make stop for lunch at the bar snacking at Castel beau site for 24€ you can get your main course and dessert, and obviously with the view from their terrace. It was so unforgettable.

 

Address: Castel Beau Site

137 Rue Saint-Guirec, 22700 Perros-Guirec
Website: http://www.castelbeausite.com/

Third town, Carnac

This town is well-known for the carnac stones, one of the most extensive Neolithic menhir collections in the world (source: wikipedia). So, if you like visiting pre-historic site, this town has lots of them. Carnac is split into two centers, Carnac city center (Carnac Ville) and Carnac beach-front (Carnac plage). Well, I prefer the Carnac beach-front as that’s the center when you have lots of choices of restaurants, bars, snaking, and also shopping. You need at least 2 days to visit Carnac,  so you can spend your first day relaxing at the beachfront, second day strolling arround at the town center and visit the carnac stones afterwards.

Fourth town, Quiberon

This town is really beautiful, it is situated on the southern part of the Quiberon peninsula. This town is quite popular for resort areas for tourist destination during the summer, so yes obviously it is quite expensive to stay arround here. If you have limited holiday budget, you can stay at Carnac and drive to Quiberon for a day out. Besides, the beautiful peninsula, Quiberon is also well-known for its history of sardine production. Well, today, the economic of this town is driven by the tourism. But, you still can find local shops selling their sardine. I thought it was just a basic can of sardine, until I tasted it with crepes, I think it was the best sardine I have ever tasted in my life, no joking.

Fifht town, Auray

Auray is crossed by the Loch, a small coastal river, which flows into the Gulf of Morbihan, when you arrive at the center, you will see the famous Port of Saint-Goustan, where Benjamin Franklin arrived at the port in 1776 at the beginning of US War of Independence, to seek military aid from Louis XVI (source: Wikipedia). What I love about this town  is the view from Pont-Neuf bridge, you can simply enjoy the wide river, surrounded by trees and the timbered houses architecture. It is so stunning.

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Hidden garden in Etretat

 

Have you ever been to Etretat before?

Etretat is a little town in the Upper Normandy, arround 30 km from the main city, Le Havre. Étretat is best known for its chalk cliffs, including three natural arches and a pointed formation called L’Aiguille or the Needle, which rises 70 metres (230 ft) above the sea (source wikipedia).

For me personally, Etretat is the only town that I would never ever get bored to go to and/ or bring my friends there, when they come to visit me in Rouen. First reason, it is outstandingly beautiful. Second of all, nobody is ever dissapointed when I brought them there (side note: even in a very bad weather lol).

 

Except the famous looks like “elephant” cliff and amazing view from the above, apparently Etretat has a little hidden gem. I did not even recognise it until I saw a personal blogger posted about it on her instagram, Les Jardins d’Etretat. This garden was actually created by Madame Thébault (a French actress) in 1903 which the garden itself inspired by the famous painter, Claude Monet.

The garden is open to public from 10th February 2019 onwards: Every day: March, November and from 1- 20th December 2019 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. April – October 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (you can click on their website for more information).

The ticket entrance is a bit pricey, consider you only need at least 30 minutes to visit the entire garden, yet it is really worth to visit. I went there on spring last year, so the weather was not that hot. And here’s some magnificent pictures I’ve took from the garden..

Don’t forget to bring some water as you need to hike the cliff if you came from the town, or if you bring your car, you can park for free just in front of the Chapel at the Falaise d’Amont.

7 Days in Dublin (part 2)

Hello again.. as promised I would like to let you know the up next of my 7 days in Dublin. And it starts with Day 4.

Day 4 – Strolling around at the city center

We supposed to go to the coast today, but unfortunately there was no train available to take us there due to some rail works. So we decided to stroll around the city. We walked through the Trinity College Dublin area, and enjoyed some local cricket team playing. Then we had a quick chinese duck for lunch before continue to visiting the shopping area.

Where we eat:

Duck Bao
Address: 15 Fade St, Dublin, Ireland

Day 5 – Malahide Castle & Gardens

Address: Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Finally we went out of town! It costs me only 4.5 € for one way train ticket to the Malahide town, so 9 € return ticket, and it was really worth to visit. Well, I was kind of dissapointed when I visited Dublin Castle, because it wasn’t really look like a castle. So I told my friend to take me into a proper castle around Dublin.

If you want to go inside the castle (and you must) you need to buy a ticket for 12.50 € and you will enjoy a castle visit with their friendly guide.

Malahide Castle and Gardens offer a history of the Talbot family dates back to as far as 1175 and is one of the oldest castles in Ireland, set on 260 acres, this magnificent & historic castle was home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. (click here for more info)

The ornamental gardens adjoining the castle cover an area of about 22 acres and were largely created by Lord Milo Talbot. He was an enthusiastic plant collector who brought specimens from around the world to create the gardens here; he also re-landscaped the grounds here to dramatic effect. (click here for more info)

Day 6 – Kilmainham Gaol

Address: Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland

Killmainham Gaol is a former prison in Dublin. It is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works, an agency of the Government of Ireland. Many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed in the prison by the British. (source wikipedia)

After visiting three landmarks around Dublin, I finally knew how it works, you bought an entrance ticket which already included the guide tours. So, instead of strolling and looking around alone, you will take the tours around the landmarks with mostly friendly tour-guides and they will let you know the history of it. I bet you won’t feel lonely when you’re travelling alone.

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As it was a prison, so don’t be surprised if some places are dark, gloomy, and pretty scary. However, at the end of the visit you will be overwhelmed by the victorian area of the prison.

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Day 7 – Time to leave

Finally, it’s time to leave Dublin. I decided to chill at home before taking my flight back to Paris. I walked to take the bus, and I was actually arrived a second right after the bus left the bus stop. It was red light, so I brave myself to knock on the bus door, and the bus driver open his door, smile at me and said “fortunately I saw you knocking..” and he asked me if my holiday went well in Dublin.. and even said had a safe flight before I left. What a nice Lad.. I’m not sure if you will see that kind of attitude from the bus driver when you travel in Paris. xoxo Dublin. Hope I’ll have time to visit you again another day..

7 days in Dublin (part 1)

Checked one of my bucket list cities that I’ve always wanted to visit and finally I have one good reason to finally visit Ireland, well my friend works here and it has been a long time since I told her one day I’ll come to see her there. And here I am..

Day one – First impression

Well I took my flight in the afternoon with Aer Lingus from Paris Charles de Gaulle. As my friend still had not finished her work, so she told me to take the express bus 757 or 747 to one of the famous tech-company. The bus driver asked me my destination, I said I was going to this tech company, but to be honest I had no idea what stop was. So the guy just told me you need to stop at the convention center. OK, which it was just two stops from the airport after passing through the tunnel. I’ve remembered my colleague told me that Dublin is not beautiful as Paris or London, but the Irish people are really humble and nice unlike Parisian. Well, that was true! When the bus arrived at the convention center, the bus driver took his time to explain me how to get to my destination. That will never happen if you are in Paris. You’re lucky enough if Parisian is smiling at you.

Day two – Hop on Hop off tour

You’re not visiting Dublin if you’re not trying the Irish breakfast – poached egg with avocado, sounds weird, but surprisingly pretty nice.

breakfast of champions
Herbstreet brunch menu: Breakfast of Champions

Where to eat:

Herbstreet Restaurant
9 Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock,
Dublin 2, D02 KP20, Ireland

Since my friend was not available, I strolled around Dublin alone with Hop On Hop Off city tour bus with 20€ , actually it was really amusing, the bus driver was really funny explaining each area or landmarks, it made me feel like I wasn’t travelling alone.  My first stop was Saint Stephen’s Green area, is a city centre public park in Dublin, Ireland. The current landscape of the park was designed by William Sheppard.

The area is finally showing a pretty neighbourhood in Dublin with decent architecture of the surrounded buildings and houses.

The perks by getting on the green bus of Hop on Hop off tour bus, you actually got a free entrance ticket to go to The Little Museum of Dublin (it was worth 10 € by the way). So I decided to jump in. According to Andrew (The Museum’s guide) the museum is also known as a people’s museum, because most of the museum’s collections are given by the locals. The museum exhibitions include the 1916 Rising, U.S. President John F. Kennedy‘s visit to Dublin, and many other landmark events in Irish political and social history. The museum also recently opened a new exhibit that focuses exclusively on the success of the rock band U2. (Source: Wikipedia)

The museum address:

15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, D02 Y066, Ireland

My next stop was The Temple Bar’s area. I thought it was just a bar that you must to visit. It’s actually a pretty famous and hype neighbourhood in Dublin. Beside bars, the area has lots of restaurants too, so you can eat at any hours.

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Last stop by the end of the day: Facebook office tour. (P.S. This is not a landmark as many tourists wish for, so unfortunately you can’t get in unless you know somebody who works there)

Day 3 – The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland

This is actually my favourite place in Dublin. It is located 5 km north-west of Dublin city centre and there’s no fee for entrance ticket as being a tourist destination and an amenity for nearby residents. The gardens are very huge, so you will spend at least half of your day to enjoy and have a nice walk there.

Address:

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland
Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland

Don’t forget to have a big brunch before you visit the gardens. Here’s one of the fine one located in Dublin city centre.

Where to eat:

Brother Hubbard (north)
Address:
153 Capel St, North City, Dublin 1, D01 V9V0, Ireland

As I cannot fit all my 7 journeys in one article, I’ll promise you to give the ensuite of my journeys in Dublin. To be continued..

Weekend in Bruges, Belgium

This was actually my second time visiting Bruges, but really my first experience of enjoying the sightseeing. I’ve slightly remembered the first time I went there, as it was only for couple hours in the evening, so I basically didn’t see anything.

I didn’t expect that Bruges has a lot attractive views and lovely architecture. It reminds me of Lille, France, only this one has canal ways.

Make sure you wear sneakers when you visit this town. The pathway made from old cobblestones, and you will do lots of walking. Normally, I’m kind of person that hate walking, yet I’ve really enjoyed walking trough the small streets and taking pictures of the city. If you are a beer person, you will be very happy. Bruges has bars in every single street (I might be exaggerated a bit), but I mean really, I’ve never seen too many bars and restaurants like every 10 m I’ve walked! 🙂

 

Where to stay

Hotel Jacobs

Address : Baliestraat 1, 8000 Bruges, Belgium

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The Jacobs Hotel Brugge is housed in one of the typical stepped-gable buildings that give Bruges its fairy-tale atmosphere, and is near the Langerei, one of the picturesque canals that once transported cargo for the medieval textile industry. (source: click here)

What to see

1.
The Market Square

2.
The Canal ways

3.
Flandres Architectures