Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Learn to jaywalk like the locals. Take metro everywhere. Book a place near city center in Paris. Take train from Charles De Gaulle airport, and then transfer by metro to hotel. Get use to the French style coffee, aka espresso, and the 2 hour dinner. Note if a place says it closes at 6:00 PM, they start kicking people out at 5 PM.
1. Buy a 3-4 day museum pass
2. Check out Champs Elysees from Invalides metro stop, to the Arch de Triumphe. Stroll down Champs Elysees during dusk.
3. The Louvre is a must; Prado or the Rijksmuseum has better collection, but the Mona Lisa is there and the architecture supposes to be great.
4. Notre Dame (word it is not worth paying to go to the top of the tower, Seville's cathedral is much more impressive). Go across to the Latin Quarter & Jewish quarter. Eat a fallafel there
5. Musee D'Orsay
6. Versaille (plan an entire day for it, it's in a different zone for metro, need to take RER over). Check out the hall of mirrors and Japanese tourists. Stroll in the garden & Grand Canal. Go see Marie Antoinette's apartment
7. Eiffel Tower, naturally. Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator; skip the café at top :-)
8. Check out market on/nearby Rue Cler. Order sausage & Saurkraut, Alsace style.
9. Gotta have Crepes with Nutella!
10. Take the metro (or walk) to the Opera House (close at 4). Phantom of the Opera based its set on it. Check out shopping in that area.
1. Take a leisure stroll along the beach; after all, it is the French Rivera
2. Check out the market in the morning; buy some baguette & sausage & cheese. Take a bus (1 euro) to Monacco. Watch the changing of the guard. Check out Grace Kelly's tomb at the royal chapel. Head over to Monte Carlo casino. Watch beautiful people out of a magazine page.
3. Buy cookies & sweets in Nice. Macaroons in Paris are overrated, but give it a try anyway.
General shopping: Go to Mercado Anglais for general shopping i.e. water & stuff in Spain. It's a big department store.
Food: Tapas. Order different tapas there. Try gambas (shrimp), preja (pig's ear), puplo (octopus), pimentos, and champinones (mushroom). Their escargot is good (and cheap) too. Compare differences between Catalan (Madrid) and Basque food. Try Paella in Madrid.
It's an old city and a block is tiny.
1. Museo Nacional Del Prado (better than the Louve). They got Dali.
2. Palacios Real de Madrid (Royal Palace, good comparison between Versaille. France dominated Europe in the 15th Century and Spain went on a declined).
3. Any Museo de Jamon (Museum of Ham) and enjoy wine & real Serrano Ham.
4. Enjoy tapas after siestas. Be adventurous on this.
5. Chocolateria San Gines after a nice stroll thru Plaza Mayor (don't eat at Plaza Mayor). Enjoy real churos (not the Disneyland kind) and hot chocolate.
6. Stroll & shop by Puerta Del Sol.
7. Bull fight should be in season.
1. Check out the Cathedral; Columbus is burried there; go next door to the royal palace.
2. Near the university, there's a govt/army building named Isabella. It was used in the movie "Lawrence of Arabia" as the fake Cairo.
3. Have some fried food. Check out the narrow streets and abundence of orange
1. Check out La Boqueria (markt) and take in the color of different fruits & meats; swing on by Ramblas.
2. Check out the Gothic quarter (Barri Gotic) & its cathedral (not as impressive as Seville's cathedral)
3. Check out the Piscasso Museum
4. Check out Sagrada Familia (Temple of the Holy Family). Note the natural feel of the architecture by Gaudi. (In Barcelona, there's no famous plazas/roundabouts and cathedrals like the rest of Spain; also note the Octogon intersection--it allows horse carriage drive to see each other)
5. Check out the Gaudi house off Ramblas.
6. Go shopping...