Day Trips From Paris To Reims, France

When one thinks of France, visions of the Eiffel Tower and even the Louvre may quickly come to mind. Wandering off the beaten path may open the doors to some other hidden gems of France. Reims is one such gem and you soon learn it offers something more to see while staying in France than the city of love.

Getting to Reims from Paris may be easier than you think. The ancient Roman city is located 80 miles northeast of Paris and can be accessed via TGV – France’s high-speed rail service. Each leg of the trip takes less than an hour and round trip fare is generally around €40-€50, but can cost less during non-peak times.

Notre Dame, Reims, FranceIn French monarchial history, Reims gained some notoriety as the site where the crowning ceremonies for French kings took place. That said, it is rich in culture and is home to a host of historic sites for the yearning tourist. As the largest city in the Champagne region of France, there’s plenty to see and do. The best part is it is small enough to be explored on foot – no rental car is needed.

The Palais du Tau: This historical building was the French Bishop’s palace in the city. Home to several historical artifacts, it currently remains a museum which contains sculptures and works of art, such as the chalice of Saint Remi and Charlemagne’s talisman. Hours of operation depend on the season. During peak season (May to September), the museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. If you visit during off-peak months, those hours change to 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visitors should take note that the palace is closed to tours on Mondays. Museum tickets cost approximately €7 per person.

Bibliotèque Carnegie: This 20-century building is an extensive library that houses an impressive collection of rare historical manuscripts. Several of the manuscripts here date back many centuries. The library interior is also notable for its lavish architecture and design.

Champagne Houses: Reims hosts several champagne houses – including some of the world’s largest producers of the drink. Major champagne producers such as Mumm, Veuve-Cliquot and Taittinger all own and operate cellars in the city of Reims. Tourists can not only tour these facilities to witness how the beverage is made, but they are also given an opportunity to taste the bubbly for themselves.

Taking a detour from Paris to Reims opens a door to the beauty that makes this whole region of France a top tourist destination. Leaving Reims may be the hardest part of going there for a visit.


Giverny, Just A Short Day Trip From Paris


Located just west of France’s iconic capital of Paris, Giverny is a beautiful and historically significant town with much to do and see. Set in the lush River Seine valley, a trip to this picturesque village is like taking a journey back in time to another era. From historic houses to charming cafes to fascinating museums, Giverny is sure to inspire and please even the most jaded traveler. A visit to this quaint, beautiful village should be near the top of the list for anyone planning a visit or vacation to France.

Monets Garden and Lily Pond, Giverny, FranceJust a short day trip from Paris, if you are staying in one of the many Paris apartments, Giverny offers a break from that city’s cosmopolitanism and urbanism and instead gives visitors the charm and quaint atmosphere of rural France. The village enjoys a mild climate and is surrounded by stunning scenery. This idyllic atmosphere enhances Giverny’s charm and cultural appeal. Everyone from history buffs to art enthusiasts will find something to like about this magical place.

The top attraction in Giverny is Monet’s House. The home of the famous painter himself, the house is renowned for its beauty and eclectic appeal. Covered in vines, the house features Monet’s collection of Japanese prints. The exterior of the house is beautifully manicured and showcases a wide array of gardens and flowers. Visitors will discover a water garden with a Japanese bridge, waterlilies and weeping willows throughout the property. The house also contains a gift store with a wide array of souvenirs.

Monets Garden, Giverny, FranceAnother fascinating attraction is the Natural Mechanical Museum. This museum displays a wide variety of historical and modern engines and other mechanical devices. It offers an interesting glimpse into the world of mechanics and technological history.

Yet another great museum worth a visit is the Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny. This interesting museum exhibits a wide array of art and other Impressionist works, perfect for those interested in culture, art and art history. The museum’s beautiful paintings are sure to leave an indelible mark on those who view them.

Giverny also contains a number of great cafes, restaurants, shops and bed and breakfasts. These charming establishments come in a wide array of price ranges and tastes.

Giverny is located about 50 miles west of Paris. Visitors to Paris with a extended stay in one of the cities hotels or apartments in Paris will find Givney is a excellent choice for a day trip. Access is conveniently  available by road, train and bus.


Andorra, Day Trip from Barcelona

OK, you have been visiting in Barcelona for some time; you think you have seen everything the city has to offer. You are ready for a change, or just would like to explore a little more of Spain. Sitting in your hotel or Barcelona apartments you pull out your travel book and map and wonder where to next?

Barcelona has several good day trips, and one of the top day tours is to the small country of Andorra. It is important to allow a full day since Andorra is a three hour drive by car or a four hour bus journey from Barcelona center. During the ski season, at least two bus companies run daily bus service between the Barcelona airport and Andorra. Some bus companies offer as many as 8 trips a day from Barcelona. If traveling in the winter season by car, winter tires and/or snow chains are needed.

Andorra is a small, land-locked, and mountainous country in the Pyrenees, bordering France on its north and Spain on its south. The area of this tiny nation is 486 sq km. The population is just over 73,000 residents and Andorra la Vella is its capital. Andorra has the distinction of having Catalan as its official language. Spanish is widely spoken as is French and Portuguese. Tourism officials also speak English. Its government is a parliamentary democracy and its official religion is Roman Catholic. The euro is its currency.

The main reason for visiting the country is for its mountain scenery and skiing resorts, and to tell others that another European country has been visited. Secondary reasons for a visit would be excellent shopping for electronics and jewelry since it has tax-free status.

Andorra Pyrenees near Andorra la VellaWHAT TO SEE AND DO IN ANDORRA

Tourism is the primary industry in Andorra and accounts for about 80% of its GDP and approximately 9 million tourists visit each year. The two major ski areas are Vallnord and Grandvalira. One ski pass will cover the areas. The Vallnord area includes Arcalis and the Arsinal-Pal ski area, joined by cable car. The Grandvalira area includes Soldeau and Pas de la Casa. The ski season is from December to March.

Mountain hiking is another popular activity and departure is from the town of Arsinal. There are at least six popular hikes in Andorra. Many hikes have mountain huts, views of lakes, and stunning mountain scenery. Mountain guides can be arranged at the Himalaia Hotel in Soldeau.

The famous Caldea spa is located in Andorra La Vella and is a complete spa and swimming pool resort. It has distinctive architecture with a large glass spire that stands out against the skyline.

The tax- free status of Andorra makes it an excellent shopping area and it is known for inexpensive electronic goods.

So if you are in need of getting out of your hotel or apartments in Barcelona, whether just for the day or the weekend, Andorra will make for a great destination. Close enough for a day trip, yet a 2 to 3 day weekend adventure might be more enjoyable.


Paris, To Know The City One Must Spend Some Time

Sidewalk Cafe , Paris, FranceParis, The City of Light has a long list of impressive, historical sites and the most famous art museum in the world. Notre Dame is a half-day venture in itself. In spite of all these time-consuming and incredible undertakings, one of the most satisfying and pleasurable experiences to be had in Paris is sitting at a sidewalk cafe, taking it all in.

It is said that you can see Paris in a day, whether you are just passing through on a connecting flight to other European destinations or you decided to take a day trip from London via the high speed train. Yet to really get to know the city one must spend some time. An  assortment of Paris apartments and hotels to fit any budget are available allowing travelers the opportunity to get to  know the real Paris.

Parisians consider the cafe a daily part of life in dry weather. Do not neglect the opportunity of soaking up the atmosphere and the culture in the park at the Tuileries Garden or wandering through the Marais. The Marais is in the third and fourth arrondissement in the middle of the city and is known for a culturally open attitude and ethnic communities. It is called trendy, but maintains unequaled and well-preserved architectural points of interest.

The Moulin Rouge has a dinner theater type of cabaret-dance hall to see the can-can in the Montmarte. The feeling inspired by the film will be accessible sitting in the gallery and pretending that Toulouse Lautrec is sitting across the floor sipping absinthe. While there, walk the hilly neighborhoods to take in the art of Dali and destroy the chocolate and pastry calories.

Apollo Fountain At Palace Of Versailles, Paris FranceThe Palace of Versailles in the western suburbs of Paris is the former home of Louis XIV who was later guillotined. Along with the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, it is a very populated tourist destination, although Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cite tops it with about twelve million visitors per year. Disneyland Paris is on the eastern outskirts of the city if children are traveling as well. Otherwise, take in the Musees Rodin and Picasso.

The French Open, a Grand Slam event of professional tennis, is held from late May to early June, which may affect travel plans. The Tour de France is three weeks long and 2200 miles, and ends up on the Champs-Elysees on July 24, 2011, just in case that is also a significant vacation time.

Temperatures are mild in winter with an average low of 36 degrees Fahrenheit and a high in summer of 77 degrees F. June can be slightly chilly if it rains. Boat rides on the Seine are relaxing and pleasant most times of the year. One-hour rides along the river are great for kids above toddler age for reasonable prices. Lunch and dinner cruises are available and are slightly pricey, but restful, after trekking around the city.

Palace de la Concorde, Paris , FranceA mere cab ride through the Place de la Concorde in the eighth arrondissement will remind one of the movies and advertisements seen over the years; images from this area are well known. There are also world famous designers nearby for padded wallets. There is a view of the Eiffel Tower behind a large, beautiful fountain for a perfect photo of Paris, and a great memory to share.

There are numerous apartments in Paris, as well as boutique inns and hotels that can put you in the center of the City of Lights. For more information on Paris and surrounding areas in France, check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures travel guides.

The sun does not set until 10:30 p.m. in July, so enjoy a leisurely dinner and walk back to the hotel and love Paris.


Chamonix, The Jewel Of The French Alps

Chamonix Aerial View, FranceLocated in the northwestern section of the Alps, Chamonix is only 15 km from both Italy and the Swiss border. Chamonix and its surrounding valley include the Mont Blanc chain in the south and the Aiguilles Rouges, or red peaks, in the north. The glacier-made valley measures 17 km and extends from the Col des Montets in the north to the Taconnaz torrent. The altitude at the town’s center is 1035 meters, and Le Tour is the highest village at the upper portion of the valley at an altitude of 1462 meters. The Arve River flows through the Chamonix valley to Geneva, where it meets the Rhone.

Chamonix is home to about 10,000 people. During the summer tourist season, Chamonix sees about 100,000 visitors each day, and during the winter season, it hosts about 60,000.

The spectacular viewpoints of Chamonix may be accessed either by hiking trails or by the lifts. Visitors can place themselves in the center of the panoramic views by traveling just a few minutes by cable or a few hours on foot.

Among the most famous ski resorts in the French Alps, Chamonix has extremely cold winters due to its high altitude, so it receives ample snow. The ski season runs from November to April. The most snowy months are February and March. The summers here are warm but wet at times. The climate of Chamonix is often quite humid. The region has its own microclimate and on any given day can experience a variety of weather. Sunshine can quickly turn to thunderstorms.

Glaciers in the valley cover 125 square km. Large forests separate the glaciers, crowned by rocks of granite at great heights, sculptured in obelisks and sprinkled with ice and snow. The Bossons and Mont-Blanc glacier, because of its steep incline, moves the fastest of all glaciers and reacts most quickly to changes in climate. The first ice grotto was excavated on its flanks in 1870. An outdoor exhibition, free of charge, relays the history of the glacier: the small ice age, its life, and its evolution.

La Blanc, Chamonix FranceThree nature reserves encompassing 4000 hectares of territory in the mountains exhibit nature in undisturbed form: cliffs, vestiges of glaciers, lakes, and strange rock formations. A living laboratory with guides lets visitors explore the flora and fauna of the area.

A for hotels in Chamonix, the town saw its first inn open in 1770. The first luxury hotel opened in 1816, and the industry thrived into the 1800′s. Three palaces were built in the 1900′s. Today Travelers will find many different types of accommodation in Chamonixavailable.

The introduction of rail and road access influenced Chamonix’s growth exponentially. 1901 saw the inauguration of the railway line from St. Gervais Le Fayet and Chamonix. This train improved access greatly and led the way winter sports tourism. Chamonix hosted the first Winter Olympic games in 1924, and the construction of many lifts followed.

Chamonix has become more than just a tourist destination; it is a link with Italy by the Mont-Blanc tunnel. This town juggles the demands of tourism, transport, and preservation of its magnificent natural environment. For more information on Chamonix, check out My Destination Chamonix.


The Parisian Nightlife

Paris is known for its tourist attractions and romantic atmosphere but this City of Lights is also a haven for partyphiles and adventure seekers not just from France but all over Europe. Is a long stay in the works for your next visit or adventure to Paris?  You will find an almost infinite choice of  Paris apartmentsand hotels throughout the city to chose from that are just minutes away from a nightlife like no other city.  Below are some places you should not miss if you want to experience the true night life Paris has to offer.

Champs Elysees at Night and Fireworks Paris FranceFirst up is Champs Elysees. This infamous chic spot and the widest avenue in the world lights up at night with luxury stores and restaurants open until at least 9 PM on weekdays and much later on weekends. Make sure to dress fashionably when walking around Champs Elysees.The next hot spot in Paris at night is Barrio Latino. This large establishment is known for playing salsa music and is just as hot as the music it plays. Comprised of four floors, this restaurant also has a bar and a nightclub, making it an all in one destination. Its posh people mixed with high priced drinks makes this a perfect place for those looking to look good and flirt. Barrio Latino is located on 46-48 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine

Queen (read: drag queen) is one of the most famous clubs in Paris and is a favorite destination for people-watching. The club attracts a lof of gay and non-gay tourists and is a good place for dancing. Queen is located on 102, Ave. Champs Elysees, Metro: George V

The next spot takes the tempo from dancing to drinking. Laduree Bar is a hip and trendy place that serves great drinks such as its famous macaroom-inspired cocktails. Laduree Bar is in the middle of one of Paris’ most posh neighborhoods, a great place for a drink and a great place to admire the design. Laduree Bar is at 5 ave des Champs Elysees, or 13 rue Lincoln, Metro: George V

Next up is the famous Buddha Bar. This hot spot is not only known as one of the most famous clubs in Paris, it’s also known as one of the most famous nightclubs in the world. This original concept club plays funky music all night long, attracting everyone from the avant-garde to the eager clubbers looking for a good time. There’s no entrance at the Buddha Bar, which makes up for the premium priced drinks. Make sure to check out this place before you leave Paris.

Le Lido de Paris. This cabaret show is one of the most famous in the world. With its exotic shows starting at 7PM up to 11PM, this is an experience you can only get in Paris. Get ready for topless dancers, thrilling drama and amazing special effects in this world class show.

Moulin Rouge Paris FranceFrom show to nightclub, wee go onto La Lacomotive. This huge nightclub is situated on three levels of pure energy, with each level playing a different kind of music. (Electronica/Hiphop/Dance) This club is most frequented by tourists and is located near the infamous Moulin Rouge. Barrio Latino is located on 90, Boulevard de Clichy, 75018

Speaking of the Moulin Rouge, this world famous cabaret act, made even more famous by Hollywood most recently, is one of Paris’ institutions. This thrilling show is unforgettable and even throws in audience participation to make for a world class show only Paris can deliver.

If you are spending any time in Paris on your next travel adventure, you most likely will be enjoying the nightlife the city has to offer. There are numerous apartments in Paris, as well as boutique inns and hotels that can put you in the center of the City of Lights nightlife. For more information on Paris and surrounding areas in France, check out Beachcomber Pete Travel Adventures travel guides.

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