Living like a local with our home exchange in Rome

We made the decision earlier this year to do a home exchange for our Italy trip.

If you have read my tips about home-exchange on my website or read any previous blog posts about it, you already know what a great idea I think this is. It really reduces the cost of travel so that I can go on more trips but also it makes it like a home away. I highly recommend it.

The Italian couple in Rome that we exchanged with were extremely easy to deal with and very friendly, making it a pleasure to make the exchange.

A women living in Venice offered but then I never heard from her again and she never renewed her membership. As it turned out this was very fortunate for us as Rome as our home base worked out beautifully.

I was a bit frazzled looking; I am sure, after the long trip and my fun getting stuck in the elevator at the Trastevere station. (See last part of the previous post) I am sure that I made a terrible first impression and on top of that my hearing aides needed replacing and I couldn’t get an appointment in time before I left. They were booked up for months so I stuck to English. I felt bad but what could I do. My espouse thought we looked pretty good considering how long we were on the road. It seems to me that men always see things like this in a better light.

Daniela and Rolando were friendly, charming and very helpful. This was their second home and they were not able to do a simultaneous exchange, so they waited in the apartment to give us the key. They showed us around their apartment explaining the do’s and don’ts, how to hook up to WiFi  the quirks and running of appliances.

They gave us a map and noted the tram 8 and bus 170. We made good use of those two modes of transportation over our time there. We told them that we had not committed too much in advance on this trip but would just see how things go. The only thing we had booked was the skip the line Vatican museum, Sistine chapel and a Chianti tour out of Florence. We also had train tickets on a Eurail Italy pass. They thought it was good that we were going to Florence.

The apartment was very nicely decorated and had everything we needed. It was in a  perfect location. There was a lot of activity and traffic outside but the doors and windows closed it all out.

They gave us their phone number and told us to call if we needed any help and they would get in touch later to see how things were going for us.

We were very happy with our exchange.

http://www.travel-tips-packing-luggage.com/homeexchange.html

 

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Getting to Rome or Trastevere from the Leonardo da Vinci -Fiumicino airport Rome Italy…and getting stuck between floors in the elevator

eigen foto. GerardM 10 jul 2004 23:59 (CEST) C...

eigen foto. GerardM 10 jul 2004 23:59 (CEST) Categorie:Afbeelding trein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We arrived at the Fiumicino airport in Rome in Terminal 1 from Amsterdam. We needed to get on the FR1 to go to Trastevere station as our apartment was near there. After getting our luggage it was easy to follow the signs through pedestrian walkways to the railway.

Apparently you can also exit the terminal and enter the train station across the street outside between parking and office building, but we found it easy just going up to the second floor and following the signs for the airport train station.

It is in the same place as the leonardo express that you catch to go right into Rome. The Leonardo express was on the center track it was red green and white. The Fr1 had two trains using both tracks on either side of it as it goes two ways and it is blue and white.

Purchase your ticket at the window for 8 euros and verify it in the yellow machine. It goes both ways so we had to get on the one going to Orte. It is important to validate your ticket in the machine because they run on the honor system. If you get caught on a train without a validated ticket it is a 100. euro fine.  The Fr1 is not as pretty but fine. We got off at the Trastevere station.

The green red and white validating machine goes with the Leonardo with colors like the train and the ticket  is more expensive.

It is easier to board than high-speed but watch the  space between the platform and the train. It is  nice that the train  is close to same level as platform.

Recap: (At the Leonardo da Vinci -Fiumicino airport  we arrived with  Alitalia terminal 1 The Fara Sabina/Orte stops in Trastevere Fr1 leaves Rome airport every 15 min takes about 25 min 8e 2nd floor. )

Leonardo Express. Italiano: Composizione di ca...

Leonardo Express. Italiano: Composizione di carrozze UIC X trainate da una E.464 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is the route. Make sure you pick the train going to Orte , get ready to get out after the Villa Bonelli stop as Trastevere is next. It was very quick and easy with not too many stops from the airport to Trastevere. Because it was off-season in October the train was not full and so it had lots of empty seats. If you go in a busier season you may want to make your way down to the door sooner.

Here is the route off the Trenitalia site.

immagine linea FR1

When you get out at Trastevere you go down the stairs and up on the other side to get to the front of the station. There are elevators and I made the mistake of using them. Going in the down elevator was o.k. but it got stuck between floors on the up  on the other side.

Lucky for us a lady was on it that seemed very familiar with this problem. I think it’s happened before! Well, she was waving her hands making all sorts of gestures. Calling someone on her cell phone, ringing the alarm by holding it down several times. I saw someone looking in at us and I knocked on the window and mouthed… help. I don’t know if he understood but he nodded and walked off . Finally someone came and I could see him cranking the elevator back down.

It was extremely hot in there and I was wearing a rain coat and cardigan. Rome was unseasonably warm this year. ( we lucked out with such good weather) When we got off the elevator I was wiped out… as if the flight hadn’t already done me in. I caved in and let my husband carry my suitcase up the stairs as I was so weak. Had I been alone I would have dragged it up the stairs… they were ominous.

We were close enough to our apartment to walk as it was just a few minutes from the train station and once we were up on the other side I was able to wheel my luggage.

train travelling on the tracks near the station

Train travelling on the tracks near the Trastevere station.

This picture shows a train going along the track.

This was very convenient to be located near the Trastevere station.

http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=99eb7bd0cfdea110VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD

 

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My flight to Rome, Italy

KLM A330-200 PH-AOD.

KLM A330-200 PH-AOD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was booking my flight for Rome Italy, my travel agent suggested that I get my stop over in Amsterdam instead of London. It is a very long trip from Vancouver and I would have to have a stop. She said that it was an easier airport to get around in.

She was so right. They have a quick and efficient way to transfer passengers. There are kiosks at stations were you insert your passport and it prints out an update in case there are changes in your flight time or gate. It gives you a chance to change your seat allocation if something else is available. If you have a tight connection that you think  you may not make, you are given priority in the passport and baggage check line at your gate. It is a large airport so there is a fair bit of walking but very easy.

We flew KLM for the first time and it was a very nice airline, the crew was extremely patient with people, friendly and they gave out lots of beverages throughout the flight. There served meals, however; I can’t eat airline food so I took my own.

Be careful of aisle seat 27 on the Boeing 777-200 in the economy class. It had this metal box that took up half of the leg room in an already cramped space. The fights were full so there was no were to move. It was very uncomfortable on such a long haul. I was not able to stash my bag under the seat. I have a hard time putting it up and down in the overhead bin so never got anything out of it that I needed.

The second leg was with Alitalia and it was more comfortable. It was really funny when a group of Dutch people got on board and they just wouldn’t sit down even after many attempts by the stewardess to get them too. They were a friendly bunch, chatting to each other, sharing candy and opening bags…it was really funny.

English: Alitalia Airbus A319-100 at Amsterdam...

English: Alitalia Airbus A319-100 at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Italiano: Airbus A319-100 di Alitalia all’Aeroporto di Amsterdam Schiphol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I heard that Alitalia was notorious for loosing luggage but everything arrived at our destination.

It was also a big problem with so many people taking these large bags on board. They never needed anything out of them and some just squashed others belongings to fit them. It was a bit chaotic trying to get everyone seated because people insist on bringing all this stuff on board. I know they fear loss of luggage but it really is getting ridiculous. I do suggest that you pack a change of clothes, some toiletries  and wear comfortable shoes just in case.

All in all I was pleased with KLM and the Amsterdam Schiphol airport and I would choose them again.

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New travel gear for my Italy trip

My epac and convertible bag for my Italy trip.

My new e pac, and convertible bag and nylon fold up bag.

 

Oct. 07, 2012.

I purchased new travel gear for my Italy trip, a back pack and a convertible bag and a purse. I also took a nylon bag that packs into its own pocket just in case. It took a long time to decide on what to buy but I ended up with an epac by Heys. It is beyond belief small, well for me anyway. Something that is nice is it front loads with several compartments.

I started second guessing myself to think that there was no way that I could go to Italy with such a small bag, also it had too many compartments so I would not be able to secure it with one lock and too much room was taken up with padding for the computer. (I don’t think it was meant to be a checked bag)

I got buyers remorse almost right away and couldn’t sleep until I made the decision to take it back the next day. However when I awoke and looked at it again, went over why I chose it originally and my espouse pointed out that I just needed to get more locks for when I want to check it…I kept it.

I probably would not have chosen pink but it was on sale and in stock and I am now thinking that it is kind of nice and may even stand out in a sea of black suitcases.

You see we are taking a train from the Rome airport to our apartment in Trastevere and back at the end of our trip. I will also be taking the train around Italy although I probably will leave this in Rome and just take the convertible. I am not sure yet. I was also thinking about the future because I want to do more train travel around Europe and there will come a time when I won’t be able to leave it behind and I need my portable office.

I have so many suitcases that I have purchased over the years that I didn’t want to make a mistake.

I have it packed now and am very happy with it. If it was any larger I would not be able to pick it up. I will be able to take the convertible and my purse on board and there is enough room left for stuffing them both inside the epac after collecting it from checked luggage. I planned on using the wheels unless I was getting on and off a train or dragging it over cobbles. We are walking a short distance coming and going to the train.

The convertible is a smaller bag than I am accustomed to using as a carry on but between it and the purse it seems to be holding everything I will need on board. I will use it as my day pack and while travelling around. It folds down into a small space when not using it and it converts from back to messenger bag to handle so it is really versatile.

The purse I picked up for .50 cents at a recycling place here in town. It washed up nicely so I am happy with that purchase.

my .50c new-used travel purse.

my .50c new-used travel purse.

All and all I am pretty happy with my new travel gear.

Here is an update…

It worked and weighed in at an incredibly low 12.5 Kg I am glad that I went with it and it will be good for future train travel. It really forces me to take less (a very good thing) The only thing is it may be too small if one was going to a winter climate unless you wear your sweater and coat.

I ended up using my purse as a day bag and the nylon fold up as my overnight on short trips. I packed the purse in the checked epac rather than take it on board.

I am going for 10 kg next trip…wish me luck!

 

 

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Street food in Vancouver, Canada

I know I am getting ready to go to Italy but I needed to go Vancouver for a couple of days. The weather was glorious and it seemed more like early September than October.

People heading out to lunch in Vancouver,BC Canada

People heading out to lunch in Vancouver,BC Canada

I love to walk around the downtown core of the city it gives me such a great feeling of energy.

Vancouver street food

Vij’s Railway express Vancouver BC, Canada

This day I was seeing all the wonderful food wagons with names like  Mangal’s curry to Moma’s grilled cheese. These places get regular inspections by the health department so you’re not likely to get Delhi belly or Montezuma’s revenge. I have experienced this in other cities and believe me it’s not nice.

Vancouver street food

Fast fresh and amazing Vancouver BC, Canada

I chose a crepe and I must say that it was delicious.

Vancouver, Canada street food

Cafe crepe

You can watch them making it for you.

Making the crepes

Making the crepe

I noticed something new since my last visit, the closing of a block of Robson street between Hornby and Howe by the Art Gallery for pedestrian only. Some huge pillow seats have been installed. Grab your street food or a book from nearby chapters and relax and watch the world go by. I love it.

Huge pillow seats

Huge pillow seats, Vancouver, Canada

Listen to some street musicians.

Street musician

Street musician in Vancouver Canada

Get some flowers.

Flower vender

Flower vendor Vancouver, Canada

Take a ride around town on a hop on hop off bus.

Tourist bus, Vancouver Canada

Tourist bus

I am pretty familiar with Vancouver so I skipped the bus. I had a delightful time and the street food in Vancouver was delicious with a good variety to choose from and a very inexpensive way to have lunch in an otherwise expensive city. I highly recommend street food in Vancouver.

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Italy trip…building my strength and stamina

We are going on an Italy trip late this fall.

It seemed so far off but suddenly my departure date is almost here. The summer went so quickly and there is always so much to do.

There is no where in the world I would rather be than at my little cottage by the sea in the summer. We have fantastic weather right now with lots of sunshine, but later in the year it gets very wet and that’s when I look forward to travel.

sunset view from my cottage by the sea

sunset view from my cottage by the sea

I knew that I had to do something about my strength and stamina as we will be getting on and off the trains and I am a great believer in taking care of myself and my own luggage. Also I know that I will be doing a fare amount of walking. (Not easy when you are a bit physically challenged)

When it comes to exercise I am a procrastinator so of course I should have started my exercise program sooner. I always go on walks a few times a week and walk around the mall on the weekends. I recently added the 5 Tibetan rights to my routine but had to modify the number 4 as my arms are week and my wrist is still a little off from when I broke it a couple of years ago and I have vertigo. I am still only at three per move. I am going to add light arm exercises with a light weight today.

I went over on my ankle and sprained it when I was in Mexico this past winter and tore some tendons but the doctor said it should be better by the time I go. I went to physiotherapy for awhile and have included the suggested exercises for that. I was wearing improper foot wear going to Tango and just slipped off my shoe getting off the bus. It was such a simple thing to cause such a problem. I know I should be more careful.

I bought a pair of Mephisto mobile walking shoesfor this trip. I also wear gel pads, arch inserts and thick socks. I have Mephisto  mobile sandals that work for me in the summer so I thought I would give the same brand a try.

 My new Mephisto mobile walking shoes

My new Mephisto mobiles-walking shoes

I take lots of fish oil and vitamins including a vitamin called Vitality from Nu Skin. I have also been very careful of what I have been eating. I am munching on lots of blueberries, pineapple and cherries. I have been drinking green tea with honey and ginger. I have cut out the gluten and night shade vegetables and sprinkling turmeric on everything…all those things that help reduce inflammation.

My legs swell up like tree stumps when I fly long haul so I am looking at all the ways that I can deal with that problem also.

All these things to think about and my husband believes that it has nothing to do with aging or being a babyboomer. I have to agree with him that it is not about getting old it’s about health.

I intend to keep travelling for many years to come and so I have to stop procrastinating and start exercising more often and I am so looking forward to this Italy trip.

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Met the Orient express… but we’re going nowhere!

Taking the Venice Simplon-Orient express from Paris to the St Lucia station in Venice Italy has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl. If you have read some of my other posts you will see that I did a lot of dreaming. Some of them were pretty big dreams  especially for a girl that comes from a family of modest means. Most of the travel we did was in an RV around Canada and the U.S. I am an avid reader and have read several books about or that mentioned the Orient express. It conjures up visions of luxury, mystery  and romance and Agatha Christie.

I have quite a bucket list when it comes to travel. I also have come up a bit in the world but still not enough for this dream to come true just yet.

It would cost over $5,500.00 base price if we got a special offer for the two of us and considering that it is just an overnight trip, it’s a fair sum of money.

It was Al’s idea to go to the station and see the train arrive, this is one of the things he really wanted to do. I sent an email to the company and they were very nice and gave us the dates and arrival times.

Arrival board Grand lines at Gare de 'est posted  VSOE Calais Ville

Arrival board Grand lines at Gare de ‘est posted VSOE Calais Ville

That night we dressed nicely and went to catch the train we were not getting on and going nowhere! 

Departure board at Gare de l'est grand lines VSOE departure time for Saint Lucia station in Venice, Italy

Departure board at Gare de l’est grand lines VSOE departure time for Saint Lucia station in Venice, Italy

We took pictures of the boards after  double checking  its arrival and departure times.

Gare de l'est Paris

Gare de l’est Paris

It was a really nice train station. There were little booths were you could purchase tickets and places to eat and rest. We window shopped as there were a number of upscale stores like Sworovski Crystal in one section of the station that looked like a mall.

Sworovski Chrystal at Gare de l'est Paris

Sworovski Chrystal at Gare de l’est Paris

Nearing the time for our train to arrive we headed out to wait on the platform. The announcement was that “A special train was arriving on from Calais”

High speed train at Gare de l'est Paris

High speed train at Gare de l’est Paris. There were lots of high speed luxury trains arriving.

At first it looked like a modern train not a restored one, until we realized that it just had a modern engine car to pull it. It was just as I had envisioned it. The chef got out and the uniformed bellman waited by the door for new or returning passengers. Now I knew it was real and still in operation.

Uniformed Bellman VSOE

Bellman VSOE helping a passenger

Bellman VSOE helping a passenger

We took our pictures beside the shiny car the one with the insignia on it of course.

international wagon lits

international wagon lits

A couple was waiting to deliver a computer to someone and ran up to the train when it stopped. A young man got on in shorts, I don’t know if he was a worker or a passenger.

Church near Gare de l'est

Church near Gare de l’est Paris

It made for a really nice inexpensive evening and we went for our usual walk and stopped for a crepe again on the way home. I was very happy as I was feeling very good that evening. Al really enjoyed it also and said it was really nice to do something relaxing. The area had a nice church and a Holiday Inn that looked nothing like the ones were we have stayed. They didn’t all look like the Holiday Inn and some of the other hotels and staff in the area actually looked a little sleazy.

Holiday Inn near across from Gare de l'est Paris

Holiday Inn near across from Gare de l’est Paris

Someone put their hands in my purse when he walked by me. It looked like it was open but it was just a compartment that held my Kleenex, mints, comb that type of thing…nothing valuable.  So he didn’t get anything except a slap on the hand.

We stopped at the Creperie de Pont-Aven, near our apartment in Montparnasse. We shared two crepes, one was called the Parisian with mushroom ham and cheese (I had to just pick out the ham) and the other one called Pennach with Chantilly, vanilla ice-cream and fruit sauce. They were very large and made of Bulgar wheat.  I kept the coaster as a souvenir.

Creperie de Pont-Aven

Creperie de Pont-Aven in Montparnasse

The train leaves the Gare de l’est in the evening and it heads out while the passengers are dinning. It is a good idea to dress nicely as it gives everyone a better experience.

The next day you can have breakfast in your room, lunch in the restaurant car  and then afternoon tea is served before arriving at the Santa  Lucia station in Venice Italy.

There are lots of less expensive trips including day trips and dinner trips and very expensive ones as you can take it all over Europe. I have a few more things ahead of this on my bucket list but I know I will go on this adventure one day.

http://www.orient-express.com/web/vsoe/venice_simplon_orient_express.jsp

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Tango by the Seine

Tango is such a beautiful dance and I  always dreamed of dancing by the Seine in Paris when I was a young girl. Dreams can come true!
If you are in Paris you really should check this out regardless of whether you dance or not. It is such a pleasant experience. I would suggest making an evening of it like we did.

We took the metro line 10 and got off at Gare d’Austerlitz station and walked past the Jardin des Plantes.  The dance takes place in these  little roman amphitheaters.

Flowers on the bank of the Seine, Paris

Flowers on the bank of the Seine, Paris

We  were told to go early as there would be wine and dining, so we thought there would be booths to buy food. What they meant was take a picnic as that is what everyone else was doing.  We went over to a deli nearby and bought everything we needed and had a lovely picnic on the grassy bank like everyone else and people watched.

Pigeon having a picnic on the banks of the Seine, Paris.

Pigeon having a picnic on the banks of the Seine, Paris and waiting for the tango to start.

All kinds of different types of people were arriving both young and old, Parisians and foreigners. Some were dressed elegantly and some tourists arrived in shorts. They arrived by foot or bicycle. One lady arrived on a Vespa with high heels. Most wore comfortable shoes and changes them on arrival like the woman in maryjanes that changed into beautiful purple and silver tango shoes. I was envious as I had to wear fancy sandals as my feet were so swollen that I couldn’t get my shoes on. I felt a little better when I saw one fellow dancing in his bare feet.

People walking along the Seine, Paris

People walking along the Seine, Paris

It reminded me of  the dances we went to when we were very young. People arrived as singles or couples and asked each other to dance. We noticed that they gave their partners tips and instructions and they passed those techniques  on to others.  It was clear that a lot of them were experienced dancers.

Tango by the Seine, Paris

Tango by the Seine, Paris

Al and I are not very experienced and I am a bit physically challenged but I love to dance. Years ago we went out dancing several nights a week. We got pretty good at a variety of popular dances but mostly just had a lot of fun and it is definitely great exercise. Then of course it became impossible for me for awhile. When my health started to improve we took some tango lessons and I started dancing again.

That night My legs were still swollen from the flight but better than the week before when they were like tree stumps. One leg went down faster than the other so I was a bit lopsided looking. It didn’t matter I am sure no one noticed and I was dancing at the Seine in Paris.

We walked along the river side for awhile and stopped for a desert crepe on the way home at our favorite creperie. It was a little late and they were closing up but the waiter remembered us from another time and gave us a seat. We had gorgeous weather and  a great ending for a wonderful evening.

Show by Seine, Paris

Show by Seine, Paris

If you don’t tango walk along and check out some of the other amphitheaters. It is very entertaining. There was a group doing Celtic square dancing and another with a show of juggling, interpretive dance and drumming bongos and fire eaters.

Celtic square dance by the Seine Paris

Celtic square dance by the Seine Paris

It took place near the spot were most of the tour boats turned around to go back to the Eiffel tower, so it was also fun to watch all the different ships.

The dances take place every night after 7:00 PM on the left bank of the Seine at Quay St Bernard, between Sully and Austerlatz bridges.  Sometimes there is an  instructor and I found that it really didn’t get going until after the sun was setting.

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The serenade

Excerpt from book: A day at Chateau Versailles by Elizabeth Anderson

We were admitted into the Kings Chambers. This time it was closed to the daily viewing, it made it very nice as we were able to see the rooms without the huge crowds of earlier in the day. They moved us through the various rooms at a steady pace but since there were no crowds we were able to see the chambers very clearly so it was most enjoyable.

They had a rope that everyone held onto and we all moved along until we came to a stop in turn and this would be our place to view the serenade. We were so lucky that our place was near an open window with a cool breeze coming in. There was a wonderful group of musicians in period costume.

My feet were absolutely worn out from earlier in the day and I realized that I would have to go around to the fountain show later. I noticed some children sitting on the hardwood floor and decided that I would do the same, that way I could rest my feet for awhile and get up when the dance started. After I did this I noticed lots of adults joining me on the floor so I was not alone. Most people continued to hold onto the rope.

The sun was setting and reflecting off the crystal Chandeliers and mirrors. The shadows were flickering across the wood floor and the sun was back lighting the people on our side of the room. The music was relaxing and it was like stepping back in time in luxury.

Then the serenade began. The dancers were in full period dress and it turned into an evening to remember. The dancers were very good at what they did all in silk and lace. It was very hot and sunny and no air conditioning so some of the male dancers were really perspiring as they danced and danced. At the end the dancers, led us children first, into the ball room.

The serenade hall of mirrors Chateau Versailles

One of the beautiful dancers at the serenade

Al and I both took lots of stills and video clips and a man took a picture of us at the end of the show. I was glad that he did this as it was nice with the hall of mirrors and the chandeliers in the background, as the sun was setting. Because of all my rushing around during the day I had sweated off all my makeup and looked a little red faced but it was a wonderful souvenir.

It felt as if I were in the hall of mirrors at a luxurious ball in the past. With all the opulent surroundings and such beautiful things all around it is beyond words to express how lovely it all was. It is a must do as all the stories and pictures cannot come close to the feeling of being there.

Ticket for serenade and night fountain show Chateau Versailles

Our combo ticket for the night fountain show and serenade at Chateau Versailles

This was definitely a highlight of the trip to Versailles. It was so pleasant an experience and I would highly recommend it.

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Is Place des Vosges really the nicest square in the world?

We had a day ahead of us with nothing much planned and we were going to Versailles the next day so I wanted to conserve my energy and not walk too much on my feet. We had heard so much about Place des Vosges the oldest official square in Paris and decided it would be a good day to go there.

It is located in the Marias…3rd and 4th arrondissement. From where we were in Montparnasse we took the number 6 metro switching to number 1 at Chatelet. The number 1, 5 and 3 all go there and there are lots of metro stops including the Bastille and Saint Paul. You could also take a bus as many lines that have stops nearby.  If you take the hop on hop off bus it is the blue line and get off at stop 77. When we got off the metro Bastille we came out at Blvd Beaumarchais then turned left onto victor Hugo and into the park.

Place des Voges...relaxing in the park

Relaxing in the park

I entered the plaza with great anticipation, after all this was touted as the best square in the world! Well you can imagine my disappointment. Don’t get me wrong it was a very nice park, trees for shade, benches, grass and statues…everything you would expect. People were enjoying the afternoon reading, picnicking and strolling around. First impressions can be wrong.

Place des Vosges

Archways all around the square

It was a very sunny day and we got there just before noon so we started to stroll around. Well it didn’t take long for me to become enlightened as to why people liked it so much. It is not because of the park itself but more about the place as a whole. It has a very calming effect on a person. All the red brick and grey buildings are similar and all facing inwards towards the park. There are archways all around on all four streets and these archways lead to a shopper’s paradise especially if you like antiques. The residences are above the shops.

Flower shop...Paris

Flower shop

There are lovely little flower shops, bookstores and cafes literally you can go through any archway and discover another fabulous street.

Lunch under an archway

People having lunch at the square

There are some very expensive restaurants and shops around the square but go down any side street if you are on a budget like me and you won’t be let down.

Lunch near Place des Vosges Paris

Lunch and people watch

We stopped and had lunch at a good brassiere and people watched for awhile then we went back to visit Victor Hugo’s’ home, the novelist that wrote the hunchback in Notre dame. If you haven’t read the book you probably saw the movie.

Plaque on Victor Hugo's home

Plaque on Victor Hugo’s home

We noticed the sign when we came into the square. It was his last residence in Paris prior to his exile. The square was originally called Place Royal. He wrote most of his novel, les miserable’s when he lived there. It is a museum in his honor restored to look as it would have when he resided there. What a lovely place to have a home, looking out to the square. It is well worth the visit.

Victor Hugo...entrance to his home.

Entrance to victor Hugo’s home

It was covered on our museum pass so we did not have to pay an entrance fee and we got pretty little cards for tickets given out at the entrance that I put in my journal.

I was so glad that we had taken the time to sit in the park for a time, walk about and look at some of the shops.  It really is a pleasant place to spend the day.

I know now why so many note this as there favorite square in the world.

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