17 Things to do in Paris

I visited Paris for the first time almost 9 years ago, and completely fell in love (not as much as I am with Venice, but still a lot).  So this year, I finally got the chance to go back!  Here’s a list of my Top 17 things to do in Paris 🙂

1. Palace of Versailles

I have wanted to visit the Palace of Versailles for so long now.  I finally got the chance to see it and it is so much more impressive than I thought it would be – the gardens even have their own bus service, they’re so huge!  I’m going to have a whole post dedicated to it, as I have so many photos to share.

2. Disneyland Paris

I love Disney so much.  Disneyland is always great (even though I’ve only visited Disneyworld once – and it was ten years ago – and visited Disneyland Paris once before – and that was nine years ago!).  Like Versailles, I have so many photos that I am going to have a post dedicated to Disneyland.  But I will say, the new floats for their 25th anniversary are amazing!

3. Shakespeare and Company

Admittedly, not as impressive as the Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice (and I didn’t see any cats!), but Shakespeare and Company is still very cute.  I’m a huge bookworm, so anywhere with books makes me happy.

4. Notre Dame

Notre Dame is gorgeous.  Definitely see the back of it – it’s so much more impressive than the front.

5. Galeries Lafayette ceiling, and the view from the roof

The ceiling in this place is gorgeous – so much better than the ones in Aberdeen’s department stores.  And the view from the roof is incredible – and free!

6. Sacre-Coeur

The view from the church is so worth all the stairs and hills that you’ll climb to get to it.  Be aware of men trying to put string on your wrists – this happened to my friend and I so many times!  They were really charming, but as soon as they realised we weren’t interested, they turned really aggresive.  Just be firm with them!

7. Eiffel Tower

Be there for 9pm – it sparkles!  But only for 5 minutes, then you have to wait another hour…

8. Defender of Time

This clock is amazing.  It wasn’t working when I saw it – or maybe it was, but it was showing the wrong time?

9. The Louvre

A trip to Paris is not complete without a trip to the Louvre.  It’s home to my favourite statue – the Winged Victory of Samothrace (picture above 🙂 )

10. Musee D’Orsay

If you are a huge fan of Van Gogh (like me!), then this is a must – plus the inside is so pretty!

11. Palais Royal

I’m not really sure what the inside is like, as I haven’t seen it.  But the outside is really pretty.  (And, totally unrelated, my friend and I saw this old man acting strangely and dipping a huge stick into the fountain.  Then, fully dressed in a suit, he climbed into the fountain, sat down, and peed!  We didn’t know what to do.  It was very strange…)

12. Arc de Triomphe

This is a nice easy climb (I say that, but it’s still a couple hundred stairs or so), and it has a nice view (although, I’d still recommend Galeries Lafayette because it’s free, and is nowhere near as busy).

13. Sainte-Chapelle

As you can probably tell from the abundance of photos. the Sainte-Chapelle was definitely a highlight of mine.  I love stained glass windows, so I was in heaven.

14. The Conciergerie

I’ve always found prisons fascinating, and this is the one where Marie Antoinette was held, so I would definitely recommend.

15. St Etienne du Mont

This church is adorable and so worth a look.

16. The Catacombs

(Sorry the photo is blurry, I couldn’t really get my camera to focus, as it was really dark).  I have a morbid fascination with anything to do with skeletons.  I think this was one of my favourite things to do in Paris.  The walk through the tunnels to the Catacombs was creepier than the actual Catacombs, as there was no one but my friend and me, and it was so quiet.  Once we reached the skeletons, we found more people, so it was a bit less creepy.  Over 6 million people are buried (or, rather, stacked) down here!

17. Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Get here before 5pm, as it closes at 6pm!!  My friend and I made the mistake of showing up aroudn 5.40 and we had to leave before we got a chance to see anyone famous – it gives me an excuse to go back to Paris, so that I can see the graves of Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Chopin (not that I need an excuse to go back to Paris!)

The Weird and Wonderful Outfits of Carnevale

I said I’d make a post about the costumes I saw at the Venice Carnival and look!  These are some of the most amazing outfits I’ve ever seen – and I have to learn to properly make clothes so I can make some for my niece!  (She’s only a year and a half just now.  But she’s going to have heaps of outfits when she’s old enough to enjoy fancy-dress- she doesn’t understand Disney yet, and that day can’t come soon enough! 😀 )

(This one was one of my favourites – so sparkly!) You guys have no idea how much I wanted to buy this mask.  The fact that I already have four made me stop (plus, this mask was a bit more expensive than I expected!  If it’s still there the next time I’m in Venice……..)

Venice Carnival 2017

I finally got to cross the Venice Carnival off of my bucket list! I have been wanting to go for years now, but I’ve never actually got around to it.  Probably because, when I’ve actually remembered about it, it’s been too close to the time and the flight prices have shot up.

But never mind – because I’ve finally been!  Would I go again during the Carnival?  I’m not sure – there’s so many people.  Waaaaaay more people than there normally is, and that’s saying something for Venice.

(This was ‘quiet’)

One of the greatest things about the Carnival was that it wasn’t all contained in the main areas – there was stuff going on everywhere.  I’d be walking down a quiet street, turn a corner, and bam! – more people in costume.  And those costumes were absolutely stunning.  I really need to up my sewing game and learn to make clothes.  I could practice by making small versions for my niece 🙂

(This picture doesn’t show it, but his costume was so sparkly!)

I could fill a whole blog post with all of the costume pictures I took (an idea for a future post, perhaps?).  Of course, because I was in Venice, I didn’t just get involved with the Carnival – I went exploring and got lost (as I am very good at doing – especially in Venice!).

I also visited San Servolo and saw the Insane Asylum museum, which I would recommend.  It’s extremely interesting and, this may be the pharmacology part of me talking, but looking at the different preserved brains and skulls was particularly interesting – in a morbid sort of way.  The clouds were also especially beautiful that day.

I visited for the final weekend of the Carnival – and I’m glad I did, as there seemed to be a lot of things going on.  I saw the ‘Svolo del Eagle’, or the ‘Flight of the Eagle’ on the last Sunday, which was a woman in a huge, gorgeous, feathery dress being lowered down from the belltower in St Mark’s Square.

And, in contrast, on the last day of the Carnival, I saw the ‘Svolo del Lion’, or the ‘Flight of the Lion’, which is where a mahoooosive Venetian flag gets raised up the belltower.  Now, I don’t know if it was supposed to go all the way up the belltower, or only halfway up (which it did in this case), but it was super windy and the rain had just started, so I’m thinking that’s why it only went halfway?  If any of you guys have been to the Carnival before and seen this, could you please tell me? 🙂

One of the main things I’d wanted to visit this time was the Venetian Ghetto and, especially, the Synagogues.  You can only see the synagogues on a guided tour, but I would definitely recommend it.  They are absolutely stunning – plus the guide was funny and sarcastic 🙂

I also wanted to see the Teatro La Fenice (I’d actually wanted the see it the first two times I’d visited, but never had a chance to).  I knew it had burnt down and been completely rebuilt – but I didn’t realise it had burnt down twice in fifty years!  The first time was an accident but the second time was apparently arson.  Who would want to burn down the theatre!  It’s an absolutely stunning building – and there was a mini orchestra rehearsal going on in one of the ballrooms, which echoed gorgeously through the theatre.

I would also recommend a visit to the rooftop of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store.  It’s completely free but you need to get a ticket in advance – I’d advise going early.  I only had to wait an hour (which I spent wandering through the store), but when it got to my turn to go on the rooftop (3.30pm), the people who had just arrived had four hours to wait until they could get their turn on the roof.

And, a visit to Venice would not be completed without a visit to my favourite bookshop – Libreria Acqua Alta – which has now become even better, as there were cats in it this time around!!  Cats!!  Anyone who’s read this blog knows I’m a cat person (I found so many cats this time in Venice – always a good thing 🙂 )

Because I love fancy dress (I’m not a weirdo 😛 ), I bought a mask (another one!) from a stall and wore it through the city.  Thankfully, I didn’t stand out, as every other person had a mask, or a hat, or a wig on.

I also caved and bought a hat at some point 😀 (The next photo isn’t the best quality, as it had started to get dark and I’d left my proper camera in my flat, so this photo was taken with my phone)

I was staying in a flat just off of the Via Garibaldi, which I would highly recommend.  I don’t know if it’s a regular thing, or if it was just because of the Carnival, but there was music and dancing in the street every night!  I absolutely loved it.  And I danced with a few old ladies 😀

Here’s another couple of photos of me, because I don’t know where else they’ll fit into this post 😛

And every night, I finished off my day with a gorgeous sunset by the water.

Ah, Venice.  I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m back again!

I’m back!

I’m still around, don’t worry!  It’s been, what, 3 and a half months since my last post?  My bad… In my defence, I haven’t travelled anywhere, plus I have had some stuff going on in my life (job stuff…ugh…).  But, this is just a quick post to say, I’m alive and I’m going back to Venice on Friday for the Carnival!!  (And then I’m off to Paris at the end of March – exciting stuff!!  🙂  )