A videoblog of our walk in Paris city center
We explored the French and Italian Riviera in the summer of 2019. We based our travels from Nice, the largest city of the Riviera. It is a popular tourist destination in Southern France with a busy harbor, cruise port and international airport.
We drove into the city from Southern France and parked by the Port. Parking is convenient and within walking distance of boat tours and bus stop near the harbor.
Most of the city center is easier to navigate on foot than driving through congested traffic. We had lunch by one of many affordable street side cafe and visited the museum district and some antique shops.
We also took a guided tour by van around Nice learning about the history and landmarks. The tour then took us to the outskirts of Nice and to the beautiful Riviera coastline into Villafranche, Ezze and Monaco.
Check out the accompanying video clip below to learn more about our trip.
A tour of SCAD Lacoste campus in Southern France
We visited Lacoste, a historic commune in Provence (Southern France) in the summer of 2019. Below is a video blog of our tour.
Click here to read Glenda’s detail blog about our Lacoste visit.
A video blog of our first look at Paris, France
The first introduction to Paris, its historic and gorgeous city center and landmarks, is a special treat. In this video clip below we get our first look at Paris in the summer of 2018, as we head to our hotel from the Gare de Lyon train station. Enjoy the ride!
A first look at Versailles Palace
The first time encounter with the Versailles Palace, one of the largest and most beautiful royal palace in the world, is a memorable experience. Check out the below clip for a sneak peek. We will be exploring more of the palace and its world famous gardens in subsequent blogs in next few weeks. So be sure to check back to the site. Enjoy!
A 1000 year of history told through magnificent architectures
In this video series we take a tour of the famous architectures around the world that tells a historical timeline of the past 1000 years.
We start in the middle ages in the nation-state of Pisa. Then visit french medieval sites of Notredame in Paris and Pope’s palace in Avignon. Then explore the wonders of Venetian Empire of late middle ages.
Renaissance wonders by Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Vasari take us to Sienna, Florence and Milan. We then turn to the Spanish empire’s golden age in Seville.
The demise of Spanish Armada leads us to London, England during the Tudor reign in the 16th century. Followed by 17th century reign of Louis XIV in Versailles.
We then move east to Hapsburg Austrian Empire of 18th century in Vienna. Then explore 19th century Bavarian castles of King Ludwig II that gave way to German Unification.
We then head back west to visit the marvels of Industrial era and late 19th century Parisian architecture like Eiffel Tower and the modern Louvre.
Finally we cross the Atlantic to explore the rise of a early 20th century giant city in Chicago. Further crossing the Pacific, we reach Sydney, Australia and visit the wonderful post – WWII architecture in Sydney Opera House.
We end our trip in a architecture landmark of the modern era – CN Tower in Toronto, Canada.
Europe travel guide
Travelling across Europe, especially in summer, can be an exciting adventure. This is a brief guide on how to do it based on our own real life experience. The guide is primarily geared toward residents from North America but applicable for most travelers flying into Europe. The travels in this guide took place between 2015 and 2019.
To prepare, you should start planning at least 6-7 months ahead. A helpful resource for planning is Rick Steves Europe Travel Guide and his audio guide and books.
We use hotels.com and AirBnB for accommodation, Kayak for airlines, Duolingo app for foreign language learning, Viator/TripAdvisor for guided tours, Man in seat61 for train connections and Google Search for train, maps and attractions. Make sure you have an international plan with your wireless carrier for your smartphone. Verizon and T-Mobile has the most Europe friendly plans in our experience. For best price and availability, book ahead by at least following timeline:
- International flights: 3-5 months
- Long distance Trains: 3 months
- Flights within EU: 2-3 months
- Car Rental: 6-8 weeks
- Hotels/AirBnB: 4-6 weeks
- Guided Tours: 4-6 weeks
- Local Trains: 2 weeks
It is better to book the international flight first so you know where to fly in and then plan remaining itinerary.
Places to Visit
The sites visited and the accompanying video blog series are described in my blog Best Of Europe. When in a site, use your smartphone and Google map as much as needed to get the most out of your visit.
Visiting all these sites in a single trip is possible if you have 4-6 weeks in hand. However, you can split it in multiple trips to suit your budget and availability. Below is a suggested itinerary.
1. Fly into Europe via A) London, Then take a flight to Vienna, Austria. Or B) fly to Vienna directly.
2. Take a guided day trip from Vienna to Budapest, Hungary. Explore Vienna as well.
3. Take an OBB train from Vienna to Salzburg for a half day tour. Then a scenic train trip from Salzburg to Munich.
4. Take a day trip from Munich into Bavaria exploring Oberammergau, Linderhof and Newscheinstein. Then head to Zurich via train and enjoy the scenic Rhine river valley and nearby Basel and Rheinfelden.
5. Fly or take train from Zurich to Milan. Take a day tour to Lake Como. Then explore Milan before heading to Venice by train.
6. Explore Venice, then take the train to Florence. Explore Florence. Then take a day trip of Tuscany covering Siena, Pisa and San Giminano.
7a. Head to Genoa by train. Then take a Mediterranean cruise from Genoa or Savona exploring Marseilles, Nice, Monaco and Barcelona. Take day excursions from the cruise ports. Then fly to Marseilles. An alternative to cruise is available in next step.
7b. If skipping cruise then fly from Milan or Florence to Nice. Then explore the Riviera (Nice, Monaco, Ezze, Cannes) by car.
8. Rent the car (preferably automatic and German) from the airport. Then explore Provence by car including Avignon, Arles and Niemes.
9. Fly from Marseilles or Nice to Madrid. Explore Madrid. Then take the train to Seville. Explore Andalusian sites like Ronda, White Villages, Granada via guided day tours. Then head back to Madrid via Cordoba in Train. Spend half or a full day in Cordoba to explore. From Madrid take a flight to Paris.
10. In Paris explore the beautiful city as well as nearby Versailles. Take guided tour to nearby Champagne region or Normandy.
11. Then fly or take the train to London. Explore London. If your entry to Europe was in Vienna then fly back to Vienna. Finally, head back home!
Travel 50+ sites in Europe in this playlist!
This video blog series is a trip across Europe compiled over a few years. It is also a roadmap for travelling all these sites in a single trip if you have 4-6 weeks available. For details on preparation and a suggested itinerary for such a trip check out this blog .
Places to visit
Eastern Europe and The Alps: We start in Budapest, Hungary and head west visiting Vienna and Salzburg in Austria. Then we travel to Southern Alps visiting Munich, Linderhof and Newscheinstein in picturesque Bavaria, Germany. We then turn North across the Alps to Switzerland visiting Zurich, Basel and the picturesque Rhine river village of Rheinfelden.
Italy: Next we head south to Northern Italy visiting lake Como and Milan before reaching historic Venice by the Adriatic sea. We then crisscross across Italy visiting Florence, Siena, San Giminano and Pisa in sunny Tuscany. Our Italian tour continues west through Genoa and Savona and into Ventigmilia of the Italian Riviera.
Riviera and Provence: Moving onto the French Riviera we visit Nice, Eze, Villafranca and Monaco. Driving further west we explore beautiful French villages and towns of Lacoste, Cavallion, Arles and Avignon ending up in the port city of Marseilles.
Iberia: Their we embark on a cruise exploring the Mediterranean including Barcelona, Spain! Heading deeper into Spain we explore Madrid and the Andalusian cities and villages of Seville, Zahara, Grazalema and Ronda.
Northern Europe: We then fly north to romantic Paris and royal Versailles before ending our journey in London, England!
The video blog
A music video of the song “New Beginning” at the Versailles gardens
We recorded the song “New Beginning” a while back as part of our “For Rose” EP (available on iTunes). Years later, the theme of the song felt like a perfect blend with the picturesque settings of the Versailles gardens and it’s ominous history lurking around. Thus, this video experiment was born. We hope you’ll enjoy!
A brief photo tour of the Louvre Museum
The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. Approximately 38,000objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres (782,910 square feet). The Louvre is the world’s most popular museum, receiving approximately 8 million visitors annually.
We visited the museum at Paris in the summer of 2018. Below is a small collection of artworks photo we took while exploring this vast museum.
The Martyrdom of Saint Dennis by Henry Bellechose (1416).
Glenda resting in one of the halls of French Art Gallery where an artist is working on a copy.
The Medici gallery at the Louvre has a large collection of artwork depicting the history of this famous Italian family and their alliance with the French monarchy through marriage.
David and Bathsheba by Jan Massys (1562)
One of the most famous sculpture at the Louvre – The Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) from 190 B.C.
Below pictures are from the Monalisa gallery which is the most visited hall at the museum.
Below 2 photos are of artwork and ceiling at the museum gift shop and adjoining hallway.
The Egyptian and Near Eastern artifacts wing holds many priceless collection of sculptures, mummy and stone carved artworks.
Exploring the Louvre over multiple days is a wise approach given the vastness of artifacts. The best time to visit is afternoon through evening on weekdays when the tourist rush is bit less. Using the Paris Museum pass will get you multiple day entry to the Louvre along with many other museums and landmarks in and around Paris.