Travel Guide To Paris and Barcelona

An Artist Has No Better Home Than Paris In Europe

This would be an enough hint to guess about my next destination after Belgium. It’s Paris!!

Well, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Paris before heading there, some were of the opinion that it is too overhyped while some said that the city is truly a ‘city of love’ !!
I also met a few people who stayed at Paris for few months and they absolutely loved the city and they usually say that, the vibe couldn’t be matched with any other city in Europe!!

With the kind of expectations that I had about Paris, this city didn’t disappoint me with the kind of art it embodies but the Parisians really turned out to be averse to welcoming or helping tourists. This is something which I have not noticed in any other European city so far, except Paris. It is a tad bit disappointing in that aspect.

The last and final destination of this trip after Paris was Barcelona and this turned out to be my second visit to Barca!! So, I am not going to get into detailed travel tips about it. You can check out my old post about Barcelona!! (Well, I visited Barca again because we had a company off-site in Barca for 4 days !!  )

Let’s dive in to the trip details now 😀

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Paris

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 8-10 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes are recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at a cute little studio apartment (airbnb) in Paris. It was a good stay and the place is not more than 3-5km from all the major touristy spots.

The way we explored Paris was more touristy than the actual local experience. We eventually found that 2 days is not enough to explore this place. I am definitely going again to explore it properly. If you are planning to visit Paris, plan for at-least 4 days so that you can leisurely explore the place.

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Eiffel Tower

Main Places to Visit:

Eiffel Tower – Of course, one can’t miss this beauty. Though, initially I expected that Eiffel tower would be uninteresting, I absolutely loved it when I saw it!! The magnanimous structure standing out in the city is a true visual retreat. Entrance fee is almost half for anyone below 25 yrs. Don’t forget to mention it at counter, if it applies for you.

Arc de Triomphe – The view of Paris from the top of Arc de Triomphe is magnificent!! I personally loved the view from here rather than the view from the top of Eiffel tower!! It is free entry for anyone below 26 yrs.

Louvre Museum –  This is one of the the top most recommended places of Paris but we ended up visiting on Tuesday which is an official holiday for Louvre. So, plan your schedule accordingly. We missed it this time!!

Notre-Dame De Paris – It is a beautiful architectural masterpiece which is bound to mesmerise you!! It is all about the glass painted interiors , stunning exteriors, and the French gothic architecture.

Montmartre or Sacré-Cœur – One of my friends recommended this place for the stunning view of the city. We visited this place in the night and it did have a good view of the city. I would recommend to visit this place in daylight as the surrounding areas are usually unsafe in terms of robbery.

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View from Arc De Triomphe
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Eiffel Tower In The Night
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Notre-Dame De Paris
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Louvre Musuem

Things To Do :

Visit Eiffel tower in the daylight and also, once the sun sets!! Especially, don’t miss the flickering lights show of Eiffel Tower which happens every hour after the sun sets till 11 pm.

Walk along Champs-Élysées where you get to see all the high street brands. One should experience that atmosphere if you are into fashion. Also, Paris has a lot to offer in terms of street fashion!! So much to learn- I wish I could stay in the city just to learn about Fashion

Don’t forget to taste those yummy french crepes 

Not to forget, the famous macarons and the french wine
(I personally didn’t like macarons though!! )

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Travel Tips for Paris :

If you are below 25 years, you would be getting discount in entry fee at almost all historical locations

Paris is comparatively expensive than most other cities in Europe. So, plan accordingly

Shopoholics, ensure that you have at-least a day to explore the shopping streets. Do note that they close by 7-8 pm

Don’t stay far off the city as travelling is a bit expensive. We have tried “Chauffeur Prive” app in Paris which offered 5 euros discount on each of first six rides. You can try that!!

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Bridges and Canals of Paris

Barcelona

I am including only the new places that I visited and found interesting this time. Do check out my previous post for more detailed Barcelona travel tips.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 20-25 C  (Visited towards the end of October. Might require a jacket during the night)

Accommodation : Le Meridian, La Rambla.
It is located right in La Ramblas, the famous street of Barcelona. All major locations are not more than 1 or 2 km from the hotel. However, this 5 start hotel didn’t provide service that matches up to the 5 star standards.

Newly Explored Places:

La Boqueria – It is the biggest market in Barcelona which has shops selling all different kinds of fruits, vegetables, sea food, chocolates and what not!! If you are a foodie or a grocery-shopping enthusiast like me, you should not miss this place. You will discover many new food items.

Streets of Gothic Quarters – The ancient vibe of gothic quarters in its narrow lanes and the small little squares is something one can’t miss. And, if you are looking for some vintage shopping, this is where you need to go. Carrer del Duc,Carrer de Retrizol, and  Carrer de Bisbe are some streets which I loved.

Camp Nou – We watched a FCB Vs Inter Milan match at this Stadium. The vibe and energy in the stadium is commendable. A Life time experience!!
Even though, you are not a football enthusiast, I would recommend you to watch a match if possible or visit the stadium.

Montserrat Monastery in Barcelona – It is famous for a monastery located on the top of one of the hills of Montserrat mountain range. However, I found the journey and the view from the top much more beautiful. It is a 40 min train from Barcelona city. You could do a day trip. The mountain range looks incredible when you are going to the monastery.

Torres Vineyard – We went on a vineyard tour which was interesting to a certain extent in terms of understanding about the wine making process and also, the wine tasting session. Ping me on Instagram if you want to know more details about it.

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Different type of Mushrooms at La Boqueria
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At Camp Nou
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Montserrat
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Torres Vineyard
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La Boqueria

Shopping Tips in Barcelona :

Zara and Mango are cheaper than India as these companies have main manufacturing units in Spain and Portugal. Visit Zara store in Plaça de Catalunya for good collection.

Sephora near La Ramblas is a very huge store and has massive discounts on few items which are way too expensive in India. So, girls, visit it if you like makeup and skincare

Visit Hema or Flying Tiger for cute knick knacks and some good gifts at affordable price

You can visit Pulls and Bear for good t-shirts. They have good collection. I found urban outfitters way too expensive.

Do visit Bershka, their shoe collection is usually good and the casual clothes too.

HnM is much cheaper in India than Europe. So, don’t waste money over there unless you like something very much

The streets in Gothic quarters have some amazing vintage stores which sell unique stuff but they are way too expensive

You can get good post cards, souvenir boards and magnets on La Ramblas.

Also, pickpocketing is very common in Barcelona. Be extremely careful.

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Plaza De Colon, Barcelona
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Zara Outlet
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Common Sight of Dressed Up Artists at La Ramblas 

That’s it for this trip!! 

Hope you enjoy my content and hope it would be useful if you happen to visit these places!!

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Naincy Suman

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Previous post : Travel Tales of Belgium

Red Sneakers, white flared trousers : Zara |White Blazer : Forever21| Boots : Zara | Ref Crop top : Lefties|  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores | Saree : Handloom Store 

 

Travel Tales of Belgium

While most of my trips are usually restricted to exploring places rather than food, this Belgium trip was more about food than places. Who would not want to taste those extremely soft waffles topped with some heavenly whipped cream and strawberries, or who wouldn’t want to relish the widely renowned Belgian chocolates and fries, and not to forget the wide variety of Belgian beers that are available!!

By the way, this is in continuation to my previous blog on Amsterdam which was my first destination in the backpacking trip. From Netherlands, we headed to Bruges followed by Brussels in Belgium.

Let me just jump into the details now 🙂

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Bruges, Belgium

Bruges

Also known as ‘Venice of North’, this little town on the countryside of Belgium is widely known for its medieval homes, cobble-stoned streets with horse carriages roaming around and small canals lined with colorful dutch houses and filled with in-numerous white swans. The moment you see those streets and houses, I can guarantee you that it will just take you back in time. It feels like a fairy tale!!

( A must-visit place if you are planning to visit any nearby major cities. If you are visiting Brussels, then it’s just a 2 hr travel to reach this place and most of the tourists visit this place for a day tour)

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb in Hertsberge, Bruges which is 14 km away from the Bruges city centre. We choose this place as it had the best reviews and undoubtedly, our host was extremely cordial and the airbnb was too good. The only drawback is the location which is quite far off from the city and the lack of good internal public transport in the city makes it difficult unless you have a personal vehicle.

Main Places to Visit:

Belfry – It is the clocktower in the main market square of Bruges where you can take the stairs to go to the top of the tower. It gives a panoramic view of the entire city, sunset is usually good. Charges per person are around 10 euros but if you are below 25, there is a discount.

Markt – The main market square of Bruges where you get to see the horse carriages and the colourful medieval buildings along with the city hall.

Walplein Square – This is my most favourite spot in Bruges. It truly takes you back to 1900’s. It is a quaint little square with horse carriages and a canal filled with swans all the time. One can just sit back and relax.

Minnewater park – The castle in the minnewater park which is just by the lake is a visual retreat to anyone.

Begijnhuisje (Ten Wijngaerde) is a preserved beguinage (UNESCO World Heritage Site). I personally didn’t find it interesting. If you want to visit this place, visit before 5 pm and it is near Walplein.
We visited Church of Old Lady as well but didn’t find anything very special about it. It was similar to many other churches.

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Markt
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Streets of Bruges
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View from the top of Belfry
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Belfry of Bruges
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Castle of Minnewater Park
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Canal at Walplein

Things To Do :

Canal Boat Tour – Though it was not as good as Amsterdam, Bruges canal tour is interesting in terms of the very tiny canals that it has, and the beautiful houses. Costs around 8-10 Euro per person and is not more than 30 min. We choose Canal Boat Tours , the experience with them was just average (Guide was speaking Dutch, so it was difficult to understand)

Walk on the streets near Walplein –  Noordstraat and Mariastraat are some good streets. Best way to explore Bruges is by walking around and since it is a small town, it is not so tiring to cover it by walking.

Try waffles at Chez Albert .The plain waffle is just too delicious.

Try Belgian fries at Chez Vincent

Try strawberries dipped in chocolate

If you are into berries, this place has really good berries

Belgium is famous for Lace as well. However, I found it expensive than India.

The only travel tip that I would suggest for Bruges is that, walking in the city is the best way to explore it.

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Belgian Fries With Tender Chicken
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Walplein

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Streets of Bruges
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Strawberries dipped in Chocolate

Brussels

Brussels has a busy city vibe with people hustling around. I didn’t find it interesting as a place, as I am inclined towards nature-centric or less-crowded places. However, one has to visit this place atleast for the chocolates, waffles, beers and fries.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb right next to Manneken pis, which is just a 2 min walk to the Grand Place of Brussels (Main City Centre). It was a comfortable stay and it was very close to all the main locations of the city.

There are a lots of trains and buses running from Bruges to Brussels and vice versa (Also, you can get a train ticket at half the price if you are below 26). The journey is ~2 hrs.

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Streets of Brussels

Main Places to Visit:

Grand Place – It is a square in the centre of the city which is surrounded by age-old buildings with spell-bound architecture. Do visit this place in the night once all the buildings are well-lit and the vibe couldn’t be missed in the night!!

Place Poelaert – It is a place suggested by my friend and which is not so popular but has an amazing view of the city. Visit during sunset for the best experience.

Sablon – This is a peaceful and less crowded locality in Brussels with good restaurants around. Walk to explore this place.

Mont De Arts – It is a good place away from the hustle and bustle of Grand place with a view of the highest tower of Grand Place buildings. The view is good and if you want to chill and relax for some time, it’s a good place

We also visited Royal Palace of Brussels which was a good masterpiece of architecture. However, we couldn’t cover the European Parliament area (Do visit if you have time) and Atomium ( We didn’t find it interesting)

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Grand Place
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Grand Place

Things To Do :

Visit Delirium Cafe which serves almost 2000 types of brewed beers (If you are into beer, this should be on your list)

Taste desserts at  Aux Merveilleux de FredExpect long queues and these desserts are slightly on the sweeter side. If you are into dark chocolates and don’t like too much sugar, it is not a place for you. But, it also serves amazing chocolate buns and croissants

Taste waffles at Waffle factory. Slightly expensive but I loved the whipped cream over there 😛 ( But I loved Bruges waffles more)

Taste fries at Fritland. They are really good and the sauce is something special which adds to the taste

Go to Rue Neuve  for shopping. It almost has all the brands covered. Ensure you don’t plan it on Sunday as shops are usually closed on Sunday. Also, on weekdays, the stores get closed by 7 pm. Plan accordingly.

For more general Europe travel tips, visit my previous blog post.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Brussels or Bruges 🙂

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Naincy Suman

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Red Sneakers, black halter top, glitter pants : Zara |White offshoulder top : Shein| Boots : Zara | White fitting top: HnM |  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores

 

 

 

5 Things To Do In South Goa

Sun-soaked skin, salty hair, fresh air, breath-taking sunsets, isolated beaches, beach walks, tired bodies, energized souls, tan lines, delicious food, long drives, lush green trees, pretty little alleys, cozy cafes with slow jazz, unexplored paths, interesting people, old memories, deep conversations and refreshed minds.

This sums up my recent trip to South Goa 🙂

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It was a 3-day short trip but we managed to explore 4 beaches 😀

Here I go with the details of my trip :

Accommodation

Patrice’s Villa – We booked this place in Airbnb and it is more like a homestay than a regular hotel. Since this trip was mostly like a get-together, we preferred an Airbnb. It is well maintained by a foreigner. The place is close to the beaches – almost like 500 m from Canacona beach and 2 km from Palolem beach. Everything was fine with the villa except the dim light in the house and frequent electricity fluctuation which was a major downside :/

5 Things To Do In South Goa

1. Visit Galgibag Beach

It is the best beach that I have been to in India, other than the Andaman beaches ( If you haven’t read my Andaman travel story- Here it is ). It’s almost around 10 km from Palolem further down south. It is a perfect place to just sit and let your thoughts flow 🙂

You can hardly find anyone on the beach and there are no beach shacks. It is not yet commercialized and hence, the clear water and unpolluted atmosphere. Would definitely be my go-to place the next time too 🙂

This beach is known for turtles but we couldn’t spot any 😐

Also, there are narrow alleys near the beach which are more than perfect for a peaceful walk 😀

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Sunset at Galgibag Beach

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Galgibag Beach

2.  A Long Drive To Talpona Beach

Talpona beach is a very small stretch of beach compared to Galgibag and it comes right on the way to Galgibag. The ride to this beach is refreshing with isolated lanes lined up with tall trees and bridges over narrow creeks.

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3.   Taste the Goan food

If you are a sea food lover, you have to try out Dropadi beach restaurant in Palolem . It also serves good cocktails 🙂

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Crab Masala at Dropadi

If you want to experience the Goan atmosphere and some good jazz, drop by Jaali Cafe near Patnem Beach or Siyaram’s on Palolem Beach.

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Jaali Cafe
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Goan Fish Fry
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At Jaali Cafe

4.   Attend a Silent Disco Party

I am not quite sure if these parties are held in North Goa but Neptune’s Point on Palolem beach hosts a silent disco party every Saturday.

Wear that wireless headset and move your feet to the tune while the rest would be enjoying the silence 🙂 It would be a completely different experience.

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Sunset at Palolem Beach

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5.   Finally, Explore Shopping at Palolem

Unlike the usual shopping experience at Anjuna flea market or any of the North Goa beaches where you mostly find beach clothes, Palolem streets offer a wide variety of handmade knick-knacks for home decor. I stocked upon some cloth lamps,  hand woven storage boxes, tassel key-chains and bamboo accessories. There are good dream catchers too 🙂

Don’t forget to bargain 😀

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Shopping on Palolem streets

 

Canacona is also one beach that we have been to. It is more of a rocky beach with a beautiful view and less noise. You can even try Patnem which is close to Palolem. Agonda is also one more popular beaches in South Goa.

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Canacona Beach

Honestly, there are good beaches if you could travel further down towards South from Palolem. We had limited time so we were able to explore only few beaches. If you do have time, explore the place as much as you can.

Always, explore the unexplored paths !!

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Sweat Shirt : Zara | Romper : Forever21 | Coordinates and Mesh Top : Shein | Mules : Koovs, Metro | Shades : HnM | Accessories : Colaba Causeway , Romwe 

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