Veni Vini Amori We came. We saw. We loved!
  • Day1

    Our Italian adventure begins...

    August 30, 2018 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After almost a year of planning we are finally on our way, ready to start our nine week Italian adventure. Suitcases are packed and checked in and there is nothing left to do except to enjoy the time we have to relax before our big flight ahead.Read more

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  • Day2

    Welcome to Gay Paree

    August 31, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    After a long journey including an extremely uncomfortable train ride (who knew you could fit so many people in one train carriage) we finally found our accommodation for the first leg of our trip. And we were impressed. We are staying at Pantheon Villa, situated on Paris’ Left Bank in the historic district of Saint-Germain-des-Pres, a four minute walk from the Pantheon and an eight minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral. It is a beautiful are and while the room isn’t that big it has style and the exterior is very Parisian. Love it.

    A great place to celebrate my birthday.
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  • Day3

    La Petite Perigourdine, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    We had great plans to celebrate my birthday with a very Parisian dinner, however that was not to be. We were so tired that when the alarm went off, we just rolled over and went back to sleep.

    So we started our first day in Paris with a post birthday French breakfast in a restaurant just next to where we are staying. A very French way to start the day.Read more

  • Day3

    Pantheon, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    After getting hopelessly lost trying to find our first destination we ended up at the Pantheon, five minutes from where we are staying. This might not have been first on our agenda today but what a way to start our Paris touring.

    What an impressive building! It is so hard to fathom how these buildings were built so long ago and still stand the test of time. Building commenced in 1758 and it was finally completed in 1790. It was originally built as a church and is now a mausoleum that holds the remains of some of France's most famous people.

    The height, proportions, the workmanship were awe-inspiring. And it had a sense of calmness to it too.
    The crypts were serene and beautiful in their simplicity. And in vivid contrast to the surroundings was an art exhibition in the crypts by one of France's street artists, Christian Guemy, whose alias is C215. C215 has completed 28 pieces of street art around Paris and on display were bright photographs depicting him in action and some of his tools. The contrast against the cool stone caverns was striking.
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  • Day3

    Church of Saint-Sulpice, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    After endless wandering we finally found what was meant to be our first stop for the day - Church of Saint-Sulpice. This is the second largest church in Paris and was built in 1646. While it has the amazing size, it was obvious that it is not the wealthiest church in Paris and was in fact in need of maintenance, cleaning and repair, which was sad to see.

    It is known for the Great Organ which was reconstructed in 1862, and the unique holy water fonts which were made from the two halves of an enormous shell given to the King by the Venetian public.

    Outside the church was a lovely square and the Fontaine Saint-Sulpice. A nice place to sit and admire the Parisian surroundings.
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  • Day3

    Luxembourg Gardens, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Next stop was the famous Luxembourg Gardens. We entered the gardens from the side gate and, to be honest, were not that impressed to start off with. The pathways were dusty gravel and you obviously cannot sit or walk on the grass here. I was surprised at the number of Parisians sunning themselves in the midday sun on the many chairs scattered on the pathways.

    Once we made our way to the main part of the gardens we could see what the appeal was. The flowers in bloom surrounding the green lawns scattered with white marble and stone statues against the backdrop of the majestic Luxembourg Palace, and pond filled with toy sailing boats, was very picturesque.

    It was a lovely place to rest our weary feet and enjoy some refreshments while admiring the view and enjoying some people watching. We cannot get over how hot it is here so the break was very welcome.
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  • Day3

    Catacombs, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    After a very busy morning getting lost and walking for what felt like ages, we headed back to our room to rest our feet for a bit before heading to the famous Catacombs of Paris.

    This time we didn’t get lost and found the Catacombs quite easily, although we were very surprised by the appearance of the entrance as it looked like an abandoned building. After an hour and a half long line-up in the sun we finally got to enter the Catacombs. Heading down underground was a bit daunting to start with but I quickly got use to it, and it was so hard to believe that these ancient man-made tunnels are still accessible today.

    The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than six million people as part of the effort to eliminate the city's overflowing cemeteries. Work began in 1774 after a series of gruesome Saint Innocents-cemetery-quarter basement wall collapses added a sense of urgency to the cemetery-eliminating measure. From 1786, nightly processions of covered wagons transferred remains from most of Paris' cemeteries to the mine shaft opening.

    The ossuary remained largely forgotten until it became a novelty-place for concerts and other private events in the early 19th century. It was open to public visitation from 1874.

    This is one of those places that you have to see to believe. It is almost too much to take in - the rows and rows and walls of bones and skulls placed in perfect formation, and the sheer size and quantity of tunnels filled with remains. It also makes you wonder who decided to create different patterns with the bones and skulls. It feels so disrespectful yet interesting at the same time.

    Certainly an experience I will never forget.
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  • Day3

    Sacre Coeur Basilica, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Next on our busy itinerary was the Sacre Coeur Basilica. We somehow managed to manoeuver our way by Metro, and a very, very steep climb to the Sacre Coeur Basilica, a church located at the top of the Montmarte, the highest point in the entire city.

    Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, construction started in 1875 and it was completed in 1914. It features the largest golden mosaics in Europe and they were amazing to see. The golden colours shining as the sun hit them through the windows was breath-taking.

    The 19 tonne bell is the heaviest in the world and while we had the option to climb to the gallery in the inner dome to admire the view, our feet and legs were just not up to it. Instead we admired the view of Paris from the steps of the basilica.

    I loved the calmness and peacefulness of the design of the inside, while Brad was more impressed with the others we had seen today. I still think it was worth the exhausting hike up the hill.
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  • Day3

    Place du Terte, Paris

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Not too far from the Sacre Coeur Basilica is Place du Terte. This was recommended in a few online travel guides but I do think it is now too touristy - yes, an ironic statement coming from a tourist. It is a public square known for its many street artists and Renoir, Dali, Van Gogh all lived in apartments and honed their skills as artists here.

    While it was nice for a quick walk around and I did enjoy some of the 'works' on the surrounding walls and alleys, it isn't somewhere I would say is a "must do" in Paris.
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  • Day3

    Moulin Rouge and the Parisian Streets

    September 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Final destination for the day was to see the Moulin Rouge and photograph the famous red windmill. Moulin Rouge has been a long-time favourite movie of mine so it was great to see the structure in real life.

    I had read so many mixed reviews on the Moulin Rouge show that we decided not to see it this time. We had so many other things we wanted to see. Maybe next time we visit Paris we will consider it.

    Our first day exploring the streets of Paris has been fabulous (with the exception of our very sore feet and the heat) and we love the many different buildings, statues and fountains that make this city so beautiful. The avenues lined with trees, the friendly French people we encountered throughout the day and the wonderful vibe of the city made our first day in Paris so enjoyable.

    We finished back at the restaurant where we had started our day and enjoyed a delicious French meal and some friendly banter with our waiter. Magnifique!
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