Paris has a multitude of old buildings that have large street-front wooden doors. Sometimes when they would open, we would peek in to see a lavish foyer or green courtyard. Since seeing them, some of our accommodation places have been hidden behind these style doors and buildings! It definitely helps you to feel like a local when you unlock a heavy wooden door and step through, much more so that walking into a flash hotel glass lobby.
When I first heard about the secret passageways of Paris, it went straight onto our travel itinerary! I spent quite some time researching which ones I wanted to visit, as not all the passageways are as picturesque as some. My top three were all in walking distance from each other and definitely worth a visit.
The passages were created at the end of the 18th century and were considered the world’s first malls.
I don’t think you can go wrong with picking a patisserie for afternoon tea in Paris. After a long day wandering through the bustling streets, we stopped at a patisserie called Paris Baguette on a side street in the 4th arrondissement and of course we weren’t disappointed! I had a lemon tart (tarte citron) and Julian had a chocolate éclair and a caramel macaron that had real caramel in the centre.
Fragonard is a French perfume company that makes and sells their products only in France. They have about half a dozen locations in Paris, originated in Grasse in the South and have a factory in the town of Eze, about half an hour from Nice. We visited their newly opened perfume museum in Paris and learnt all about the history of perfume, how they make it and also how they determine all the scents! It was free to visit and we had a guide take us through the museum on an English-speaking tour.
The High Line is an old elevated railway line on the West side of Manhattan that has been turned into a green-space walking path. There are multiple stairways along the line where you can ascend to the park. We walked the majority of the 2.3km line until we reached a covered area with seating and a few pop-up shops and food stalls nearby Chelsea Market.
The first time we went to New York we didn’t climb any tall buildings for the view. At first I thought it was a bit too touristy to do, but the Top of the Rock Observatory ended up being one of my favourite activities on our second visit. Tour guides told us if you have tickets to climb any building, show up at least a couple hours before your ticket time as the line ups are always crazy.
Quebec City is in the French province of Quebec in Canada. The whole town looks like it is straight out of the 1600s. It is the only remaining walled city in the whole of North America and is just a delight to walk around! Quebec City is divided into two sections- the Lower Town (Basse Ville) and the Upper Town (Haute Ville). The lower and upper parts are connected by various stairways and also a funicular, or type of chairlift.
Muir Woods is probably one of the places we wouldn’t have thought of visiting while in San Francisco if it wasn’t for someone telling us about it. The National Park is home to Californian Redwood trees, which happen to be 500-800 years old! The heights of the trees is staggering, almost making you dizzy to look straight up in hope of finding their tops.
The city of San Francisco is known for its eclectic mix of modern, Victorian and colourful homes with bay windows everywhere you turn. Each home speaks of the era it was built in and also the neighbourhood where you will find it, for example the brightly-coloured ‘painted ladies’ of Haight Ashbury. This is a great site for more information on the different types of homes in San Francisco.