French Foodie Experiences Which Will Satisfy More Than Just Your Tastebuds

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For many of us, food takes centre stage when we travel. Food is, after all, one of the fastest we can get to the heart of a place. Local cuisine can tell us everything, from the history of our destination to its underlying values. Variations between local delicacies can also show you a great deal about the politics in each area. In short; anyone who goes anywhere should spend a fair amount of time making the most of the food.

Of course, some countries offer better eating opportunities than others. France, for example, is a food lover’s haven. With winning bistros like Le Baratin on offer, that should come as no surprise. Far from just serving up those iconic snail dishes, French eateries offer a whole load of culinary delights. So much so that many people visit here for the food alone.

If French cuisine gets you excited, you’ll be pleased to hear that the foodie fun needn’t stop with eating. There are also some spectacular food and drink experiences which could take your culinary trip to a new level. Keep reading to find out what they are.

Very French vineyards

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It wouldn’t be a trip to France without a few vineyards, would it? There’s something quintessentially French about sprawling vineyards and wine tasting. And, lucky for you, there are plenty of experiences which could see you getting stuck right in. Options like the iconic Bordeaux Wine Tours offer the chance to get right to the heart of the best vineyards. Even better, you can take this is as far as you like. Most options offer a one-day tour of the grounds, complete with tasting sessions. Others, like the Silver Travel Bordeaux experience, could see you spending a whole three days on wine. It all depends on what tickles those taste buds.

All the olives

While we’re on the subject of French traditions, olives are also worth your attention. In the South of France especially, these are in abundance, and any grow in vineyards similar to wine. Again, there are plenty of tours for the largest olive orchards going. Any one of these could see you viewing a side of France you never knew. Or, you could get right into the heart of the trade by staying somewhere like A Compte Hotel. Here, you can stay in the aptly named ‘olive loft,’ where you have the chance to look out onto an olive grove every morning. Can it get any more idyllic than that?

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A full-blown food tour

If these specialist subjects don’t appeal, you could always go for a full-blown food tour. Options like the Gourmet Marais tour offer three-hour experiences which could see you tasting the best cuisine from Le Marais. Or, you may prefer the Montmartre food and wine tour. Lasting for up to 210 minutes, this trip will see you landing at up to ten gastronomy stops. All with a knowledgeable guide. What better way could there be to get stuck into the best of French eating?

Paris: So Much More Than The City Of Love

Renowned as being the city of love, Paris is famed as being the world’s most romantic city, but there is so much more to Paris than a city steeped in romance. The city’s boulevards which are lined with historical monuments, its beautiful boutiques, and classic bistros, and its traditional museums combined with its more modern tech start-ups, design stores, quirky wine bars and cocktail lounges, and multimedia galleries are what makes this city such an incredible place to visit and explore.

There four things that make Paris well, Paris, and these are the iconic architecture, the glorious food, the stylish boutiques, and of course, the creative treasures. Paris is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most incredible cities, and not just for loved-up couples but also for solo travelers and family groups. It’s one of Europe’s most enthralling destinations because of the amount that it has on offer to see and do – there is nowhere quite like Paris.

Paris is the city that inspired countless renowned authors to pen some of their most imaginative works, from Victor Hugo to Ernest Hemmingway. It is also the place where most of the significant art movements of the past 50 years have been born. To top it off, Paris is where classical music, jazz, and theatre have thrived.

If you’re planning a trip to Paris sometime soon, a word of advice – plan like crazy. Why? Because you could, quite literally, spend weeks exploring Paris. When you’re heading off to somewhere like Paris that has numerous attractions to offer, planning your time really pays off. Paris is so much more than the city of light and love, so here’s how to make the most of any trip to this incredible place.

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Put at least one museum on your radar

When it comes to choosing a museum to visit on your trip, The Louvre is an obvious choice. It’s an incredible place complete with three wings packed full of history dating back to Greek times. Of course, being such a popular place, The Louvre almost always has huge queues, which can mean waiting in line for hours to get in, that’s why it can be beneficial to plan your visit in advance and book queue jump tickets from sites like The Paris Guy.

Not keen on seeing The Louvre, alternatively you could visit the Musee d’Orsay which houses some of the city’s most incredible Impressionist painting. There’s also the Musee Picasso and the Musee Rodin, both of which are smaller but no less impressive.

Stroll along the river Seine

Fancy spending some time outdoors? Then a stroll along the river Seine could be a great option to consider as it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time outside in this incredible city. A great place to start is at the Jardins du Trocadero – you can see some incredible views of the Eiffel Tower from here.

If you choose to cross the river, there’s the Berges de Seine, a pedestrianised area which is often filled with bouquinistes – aka second-hand book stalls. You can walk down this route towards the Cathedrale Notre-Dameon, which is another impressive sight.

Don’t forget Montmartre

Montmartre is a must-see location when in Paris. It might be a highly popular hilltop sight, but the crowds don’t tend to impact how beautifully charming this place is. It’s a fact that no visit to Paris, regardless of how long or short, would be complete without exploring Montmartre. While there, you have to climb the steps to the Scare-Coeur – it’s incredible views are a must see.

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Be quintessentially Parisian and have a picnic

If the sun is shining, there’s nothing more Parisian than having a picnic. Pack a hamper full of gourmet treats – or better yet, buy a readymade picnic from one of the many delicatessens that span this city – and head to the Jardin du Luxembourg. The best street to head to for picnic supplies is Rue Montorgueil, a shopping street lined with cheese stores, bakeries, and patisseries serving all many of incredible cakes.

See the Marais

The Marais are made up of a network of ancient streets that have a distinctly different feel to the rest of Paris. Originally the Jewish area of the city, this area is now known for its beautiful boutiques and an incredible array of independent galleries. In the Haut Marais area, you will find a selection of modern cocktail bars; there’s also the Marche des Enfants Rouges here. While in the south of this area, you will find the Place des Vosges – a beautiful sight that you don’t want to miss.

Head east

The east quarter of Paris has changed significantly over the past few years and was once the rather run-down district just east of Canal St-Martin. But today, whether you are looking for a fantastic coffee shop, a quirky bistro or a night out, the east side of Paris is a must-visit location.

You can explore the Bassin de la Villette, go for a walk through Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, or have a picnic there on sunnier days. The east area of Paris has plenty on offer, whether you plan on visiting in the daytime or at night.

Explore the modern art scene

Paris might be famous for its classical artworks but what about the modern art scene? Paris actually has a pretty incredible of modern art as well as more classic artworks, so if you’re a fan of this type of art, you want to make sure that you explore the modern art scene while in this amazing city.

The best places to visit to see a wide range of modern art are the Musee d’Art Moderne which is located in the Pompidou Centre. Here you can see works by the likes of Pollock, Picasso, and Matisse. For more challenging exhibitions, the Palais de Tokyo is a great place to visit – the artwork here is extremely unique and insightful.

Discover little-known gems

What’s fantastic about Paris is that it has many little-known gems packed into it. These are the kinds of things that unless you’ve lived in Paris or know someone who has, you wouldn’t know. That’s why, when you’re in Paris, if you can make friends with some of the locals, you will find it far easier to find all of Paris best-kept secrets.

Whether you’re a huge fan of ancient history, are mad about installation art, or have a real passion for cooking, you are guaranteed to find a little gem somewhere in Paris. There’s so much more to Paris than you will find in the travel books, which is why exploring and seeing where the locals recommend is so essential to making the most of your time there.

 

Be a smart traveller

To save money, be financially savvy and sightsee on a Sunday. Did you know that on Sundays in Paris entry to most big museums is free, or is free every first Sunday of the month? Of course, this will mean rather large queues, but if queueing for free entry allows you to see more of Paris then it is definitely worthwhile doing so.

Paris is one of those cities that can be easily explored in a manner of ways. Travelling on foot is one option, as is travelling by bicycle. However, for longer journeys, public transport can be a useful way to get around. The best way to get around is via the metro or by bus, depending on which mode of transportation you prefer.

Did you know that on Sundays and Mondays many restaurants in Paris are closed? That’s why it’s so important that you take the time to carefully plan your meals and determine where you will eat when so that you aren’t left without anywhere to have dinner.

When it comes to your accommodation, there are various options to consider, from fancy five-star hotels to more budget-friendly options.

For the epitome of luxury, Hotel Plaza Athenee is one of the grandest hotels in Paris, complete with lavish features, Eiffel Tower views, and a Michelin star restaurant.

For a more decadent stay, Le Bristol is the hotel of choice for many celebrities because it’s wonderfully glamorous.

For a beautiful location, the Le Meurice, located next to the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most beautiful 5-star hotels in the city, with the staff going above and beyond to cater to your every need.

For a more budget-friendly option, camping can be a great choice. Did you know that you can camp in the centre of the city? At Bois de Boulogne there is a campsite with room for around 500 tents, in addition to space for campervans and caravans. You can easily walk into the city from here, and staying here won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Paris is one of the world’s most famous cities. While it’s known as being the city of love, Paris is so much more than a location for a romantic break away. It’s a city with real depth to it – there is so much on offer to see and do here.

Venice

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Venetian lagoon

Dreamy vibes, magical views and spectacular architecture, Venice is a poetic location.

Venice is the capital city of the veneto region in Italy’s north. The city is built on more than 118 islands, in a lagoon located in the Adriatic sea. This enclosed bay lies between the mouths of the Po and Piave rivers.  These islands are separated by canal’s and are linked via bridges. Venice looks like a city out of a fairytale. It is no wonder that the lagoon and part of the city is listed as a world heritage site.

From the romantic canals, the renaissance,  gothic palaces and dreamy vibes Venice is a very unique and breathtaking place to visit.

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An island city

We had just spent a week exploring the charming Rome and found a cheap domestic flight to Venice. This was my second visit to this magical city (I came here once before, as a teenager on a school tour). The second time around was just as charming. We stayed at a hotel in the San Marco neighborhood. The central and the most popular district on the Venice island.

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Highlights and must sees

  • Saint Mark’s Basilica: A beautiful church, with a mixture of eastern and western architecture. It sits on the very popular pizza San Marco.
  • Torre dell’ Orologio – The gorgeous clock tower that was built between 1496 and 1506! Which also sits on the popular piazza San Marco.
  • Doge’s palace: With stunning gothic architecture, this place was once the political and judicial hub of Venice.
  • Grand canal: This 2 mile long canal is considered to be the main ‘street’ of venice.
  • Rialto bridge: Described as the heart of Venice, this beautiful bridge was once the only way to cross the grand canal!
  • Campanile di San Marco: The tallest structure in venice. Note this is the reconstructed version, as the original collapsed in 1902.
  • Bridge of Sighs: An iconic bridge connecting the Prigioni to Doge’s palace.
  • Basilica di Santa Maria: Another beautiful church, with stunning architecture.
  • Murano Island: Take a trip to the Murano island to view an impressive glass-blowing demonstration!
  • Rialto Market: This one is for the foodies! A market rich in culture and food.

 

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Get lost

My favorite thing to do in any location that I visit is to get lost, by just wandering around and taking in all the sights. I find this the best way to absorb the place! And venice, is one of my favorites cities to get lost in, wandering the beautiful streets and viewing the canals is so beautiful. For a couple of days on our trip, the city was covered in dense fog, this added an extra charm to the city!

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Two day trip from Venice

While we were in Venice, we took the opportunity to explore a small village located in a mountain region located 70 km northwest of Venice. You can read about our adventures to Seren del Grappa  here.

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Wanderlust

With it’s charming atmosphere, gothic architecture and dreamy canals Venice is one of the most beautiful cities that I have explored. It is definitely wanderlust material.

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Rome

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Roma

Vibrant in art and culture, and showcasing a creative imagery into the past, Rome is an intriguing and breathtaking city to explore.

Rome is located in the central Italian peninsula on the Tiber river, 24km inland from the Tyrrhenian sea. Rome is the capital city of Italy, and also the capital of the Lazio region. Rome is also the most populated comune in Italy. With twenty eight centuries of history, and as one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe, Rome showcases a rich history in amongst the now cosmopolitan and happening city. Rome is truly, a magnificent city to explore and to absorb the dreamy atmosphere.

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The city of love

This was my second visit to this charming city, and I would come back again! As we were based in Dundee   Scotland, we found cheap flights from Edinburgh (around $20 USD)! Only a three hour flight. So took the opportunity to travel to Italy and explore.

We found a cheap(ish) backpackers hostel to stay in, which was located in the city center. An ideal location so we could just walk around and explore. We were here for six days and five nights before flying to Venice.

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The eternal city

Walking through Rome provides a glimpse into ancient times. I was truly in awe walking around and visiting the ancient ruins. Rome is a very special place where you can feel and view history. Here is a list of the best ancient landmarks to visit when in Rome!

  • Pantheon: An ancient pagan temple, that has since been converted into a church. This is one of Rome’s best preserved monuments.
  • Janiculum walk: A beautiful walk through the hills, and when you reach the top an impressive view overlooking the Roman skyline.
  • Circus Maximus: An open field with ruins. This was once, one of the largest sporting arenas in the world!
  • Roman forum: A true glimpse into ancient rome. With ancient ruins linked to the former emperors. These ruins illustrate 900 years of history!
  • Piazza Navona: A breathtaking piazza containing three gorgeous fountains.

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Roman Colosseum

In addition to the ancient landmarks highlighted above, a trip to Rome would not be complete without a visit to the impressive Colosseum! A well preserved piece of history, and a major tourist attraction in Rome.

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian amphitheater, is a huge stone amphitheater built between AD 70-72 by the Vespasian emperor. The Colosseum was used for four centuries! As the site of gladiator combats between men and other animals. The largest amphitheater in the Roman world, the colosseum could seat more than 50,000 spectators! The preservation of this ancient site began in the 19th century. kinsideold

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Highlights and must sees

In addition to the ancient sites must sees, here are recommendations of other points of interest that we enjoyed.

  • Trevi fountain: A well know landmark. A gorgeous 18th century sculpted fountain.
  • Spanish steps: 135 steps which are located between the Piazza di Spagna (at the bottom) and the Pizza Trinita dei Monti at the top.
  • Capitoline museums: A complex of art and archeological museums.
  • Pincian hill: Wander around the pretty gardens.
  • Visit the Vatican city:  The headquarters of the Holy Roman church and one of the world’s smallest sovereign states. The Vatican city became independent from Rome in 1929. Inside you can visit St.Peters Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
  • Get lost. Just rome around Rome and explore your surroundings.
  • Indulge in Italian food, coffee and wine!

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Rome

Rome is a very special city. Rich in history and culture. A beautiful city to explore and a great highlight of a trip to Europe.

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Oktoberfest

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Volksfeast

This sixteen day festival is the world’s largest Volksfeast – a beer festival and traveling fun fair. The festival is located in the city of  Munich, in the state of Bavaria, Germany.

History of oktoberfest

The origins of this festival goes back to 1810! When the then, Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony- Hildurghausen. The people of Munich were invited to celebrate the festivities in the fields in front the city gates. The festival occurred the next year and has continued on ever since! This year will mark the 185th year of the festival, very impressive. Today, oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, bringing in an average of six million visitors each year, from all over the world.

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Celebrating Oktoberfest

I had always wanted to visit the famous oktoberfest, and we were able to go..by accident! We had found cheap flights to Munich and just brought them without realizing that the festival would be occurring at this time! Our cheap tickets to Munich allowed us to enjoy the vibrant and spectacular festival. We were based in the city center of Munich and attended the festival on most of the days of our trip, in amongst exploring the sights and beauty of Munich.

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Munich

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The capital of Bavaria

A modern cosmopolitan city with a touch of traditions, and home to the most famous beer festival!

The pretty city, Munich is the third largest city in Germany and is the capital city of Bavaria. Bavaria is the largest (land) state and is located in the southeastern section of Germany. Often described as a fairytale city, with the numerous castles, views of the Alps and strong traditions still present. Munich is located on the banks of the river Isar, north of the gorgeous Bavarian alps.

 The city is absolutely stunning, rich in history with ties to royal Bavarian heritage. Munich showcases stunning architecture, beautiful galleries and museums, fine dinning and breathtaking views of the alps. Munich is a cosmopolitan city, however the traditions are still very present  and with a touch of medieval vibes. A great place to explore history (both good and bad), and to absorb German culture.

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Seven days in Munich

Our first visit to Germany, was to visit this beautiful city! Again, we found really cheap flights. From London to Munich the cost of the flight was around $15 usd), so perfect. We brought the tickets and then went to search for a cheap hostel to stay in……we did not realize that we were arriving when the world’s largest Volksfeast would be  happening. We could not find any accommodation! All that was left was a bed in a dorm room going for thousands of dollars, ah no thanks. We had nearly given up on looking for accommodation and had decided to just camp, however I stumbled across a local website where people rented out their apartment (this was not airbnb). So we were able to book a great one bedroom apartment located in the city center, we couldn’t believe our luck. This worked out perfectly, we could cook in the apartment (saving money on eating out), we were able to walk  nearly everywhere in the city and now we could even enjoy the Volksfest, you can read about our time at Oktoberfest here. 

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Highlights and must sees

  • Nymphenburg Palace: We spent a good portion of the day visiting this beautiful regal 18th century palace. Wandering around the well kept gardens is so dreamy.
  • Englishcher garden: A large and lush garden, with its own beer garden!
  • Marienplatz: Described as the heart of the city. This square is very popular and has a range of restaurants, shops and street performances.
  • Viktualiemarkt: A vibrant farmers market and is the cities oldest market.
  • St. Peter’s church: A stunning church and Munich’s oldest place of worship.
  • Residenzmuseum:  This hall is one of the most important palace museums in Europe.
  • Hofbrauhaus Muchen: This well known beer hall was founded in the 16th century!
  • Linderhof Palace: Stunning palace and is the smallest of the palaces built by king Ludwig the second second of Bavaria.

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Dachau concentration camp

One of the first concentration camps to open in Nazi Germany. It is now a memorial site, a place to reflect on the past and to mourn the victims.

Located 10 miles north of Munich, we took the train for a day trip to visit the Dachau concentration camp. Walking through the site was very confronting, eerie and heartbreaking. However it is important to step out of our comfort zones to acknowledge what happened, we cannot ignore the ugly past. If visiting Munich, I do recommend a visit to this memorial site to pay  respect to the victims.

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Munchen

Rich in history, Bavarian culture, stunning architecture, beautiful green scenery, fairy tale palaces and alp views, Munich has something for everyone. Our trip was very enjoyable and insightful. We learnt a lot about the location and experienced some great German culture. I would return, and I would also love to explore more of the state of Bavaria and the surrounding countries.

 

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Me in munich

Malmo and Lund

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Sweden

Malmo

Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden and the capital and largest city of the Swedish county of Scania. Malmo is located near the southwestern tip of Sweden, and is connected to Copenhagen, Denmark by the Oresund bridge. This small and vibrant city, is rich in history, culture and art and with its friendly people, pretty sights and sandy beaches, Malmo is a great city to explore.

Lund

Located in the southern tip of Sweden in the Skane province. Lund is the second oldest city in Sweden! The city was founded in AD 990 and still maintains its medieval charm and low key vibes. Lund holds great traditions within education, the Lund university was established in 1660, and today it is one of the largest institutions for education and research in Scandinavia. It is no surprise that the university and its buildings dominate much of the city.

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Southern Sweden

We have a friend who lives in Lund (who we had met in Townsville, Australia) who had invited us to stay with him. So from Copenhagen, Denmark we took the train across the Oresund bridge for 40 minutes until we reached Malmo. We arrived early and spent the day exploring the picturesque city before our friend picked us up and took us to his home in Lund.

We spent four days exploring Malmo and Lund, our friend was a great host and tour guide, who not only showed us the highlights but also took us to some hidden gems, and show us around the local night life scene. The weather was also so beautiful, sunny and mild. It also just happened to be the time of year that the Malmo festival was on, so we were able to experience and enjoy this annual festival.

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Highlights and must sees

  • Oresund bridge: The bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden.
  • Turning torso: Impressive architecture, a twisted and sculptured tower block.
  • Malmo castle: A 16th century castle which was built by the Danish.
  • Kungsparken: A pretty park to wander around, and also the oldest park in the city
  • Science and Maritime museum: 
  • The Stortorget: Malmo’s city center square. This square was built in 1536! And surrounds the old town.
  • Lund University and the historical museum: Visit the impressive buildings and explore the rich history.
  • Botaniska tradgarden: The beautiful botanical garden in Lund.
  • Lomma: The nearest beach to Lund

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Our time in Malmo and Lund was so enjoyable, and I think it was made even better as we had someone to show us around! I would love to return to Sweden, the next hopefully to visit the North!

Next stop, Munich, Germany, to experience the famous Oktoberfest

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