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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jules Verne spirit is alive in the city of Nantes! - (Visiting Nantes #4 - Modern Nantes and the Quay)



Why Jules Verne is alive in the French city of Nantes?

It is always interesting to visit the birth place of a great man, writer and explorer.

It is interesting because you can try to find in the town that was his birthplace what inspired the great man.

Nantes is the birthplace of Jules Verne.

Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he had a strong influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. 

Born to bourgeois parents in the seaport of Nantes, Verne was trained to follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer, but quit the profession early in life to write for magazines and the stage. 

He is the author of  Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

It is along the banks of the Loire river that you can feel strongly the presence and the heritage of Jules Verne in today Nantes.


What are the "Machines de l'Isle"?

The Great Elephant and the other "Machines de l'Isle" situated along the river are a wonderful example and expression of the surrealist spirit of the french writer: you should absolutely visit them if you are in Nantes!

At the entrance of the large hangar where the huge mechanic elephant is housed a short explanation helps to understand and appreciate these wonderful machines:


"Les Machines de l’île is an unprecedented artistic project. Born from the imaginations of François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, it is a blend of the invented worlds of Jules Verne, the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, and the industrial history of Nantes, on the exceptional site of the former shipyards".







The Anneaux de Buren, another unique sight in "modern" Nantes:

The Machines de l'Ile are not the only oniric sight along the La Loire River in Nantes.

Along the Quay des Antilles the famous Anneaux de Buren (Buren Rings) are a wonderful sight.

The artwork by Daniel Buren let you appreciate Nantes beautiful skyline, through these magic rings that at night are illuminated to give a different sight of the docks next to the famous Hangar 32, restaurants and pub trendy complex.






We hope you enjoyed these photos of Nantes.

This post has been made thanks to Nina Latouille from Nantes. 

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nantes: The little Paris (Visiting Nantes #3 - The old town)

Nantes has many different styles and aspects.

After having discovered the medieval Nantes with a dedicated post about The Cathedral of Nantes and one about The Castle of the Duchess Ann in Nantes, is time to discover the classical, or better say Neoclassical Nantes.

The white symmetric buildings of the city centre and the large squares are certainly reminiscent of Paris, the Ville Lumiere.

Certainly having, like Paris, the river crossing the city and offering open views along the city's skyline makes Nantes even more reminiscent of the French Capital.

Here we collected some photos of Nantes we hoped you find interesting and inspiring for your next trip.

Don't forget also to check our posts about the Castle of the Duchess Ann, Nantes Cathedral and Modern Nantes.

One of the first things you will notice in Nates is the many bars and pubs where people sit out in the evening.

One of the many restaurants in the cobbled streets of  Nantes waiting for the evening to start.


La Place Royale, the Royal Square. Completely destroyed during the II World War the Square has been carefully restored as it was.

One more sight of the Place Royale, notice the beautiful façades of the buildings surrounding the fountain.

The Place Royale is a popular place to hang out in Nantes.

The white churchtower and the black roofs make a wonderful contrast in Nantes skyline.

Cathedral, black roofs and church tower, one of the most beautiful faces of Nantes.

The beautiful façade of Notre Dame de Bon Port, one of the many beautiful churches of Nantes. 
Cours Cambronne: an elegant park in the heart of Nantes. Ofter overlooked by the tourists, we find this park especially beautiful and relaxing.

One more sight of Cours Cambronne

Back in the Royal Square in a quiet Sunday morning, when the town is empty and the shops are closed.
It is the best time to look to the beautiful architecture and the white façades.

More sights of the Royal Square.


We hope you enjoyed these photos of Nantes.

This post has been made thanks to Nina Latouille from Nantes. 


If you are planning to visit Nantes, don't forget also to check our posts: 



Visiting Nantes #4: Modern Nantes


Are you planning to travel to France? Read more posts on our page Visit France.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why you haven't planned to stop in Phetchaburi?

After having visited the archaeological towns of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, visited the island of Kho Tao and discovered Phang Nga Bay the beautiful town of Phetchaburi offers a rest and some breathtaking monuments away from the noise and the crowd. Click here for more destinations in Thailand.

Why Phetchaburi is so special and unique in Thailand?

Phetchaburi is a less known town in Thailand, but we think it is special.

Phetchaburi is special because, away from the tourist crowd, offer the visitor the chance to experience the life of a religious Thai town.

If you are planning your travel in Thailand, you have certainly planned to visit either Ayutthaya or Sukhothai, although we advise to visit both archaeological sites.

Probably you haven't planned to visit Phetchaburi, but we think you should allow time for this city.

Even under a sun that would certainly take its toll for the rest of your travel, you should climb the cobbled streets of the hills situated in the heart of Phetchaburi where the old temples are situated.

After having visited the archaeological site of Ayutthaya it is easy to understand why Lonely Planet (rightly) called Phetchaburi “the living Ayutthaya”.

The old citadel here is not in ruins and the temples are perfectly kept and are still in use today.

Some of them possess also a strong Khmer influence, exacvtly like the ones in Ayutthaya.

The great attraction of Phetchaburi is walking through beautiful gardens away from the traffic and the ugly modern houses.

You can really experience the life of an old religious town exactly the same life Ayutthaya or Sukhothai experienced centuries ago.

The three temples situated at the top of the hill offer beautiful views of the valley around.

Here some photos of Phetchaburi and below some practical tips for your visit in Phetchaburi.

The top of the citadel, surrounded by a little wood, is one of the most famous sights of Phetchaburi.

Looking from one temple to the others is the best way to enjoy the old citadel.

The temples in the old ciotadel are well preserved and can be visited.

The Khmer designed temple towers on the top of the old citadel.

Flowers and plants exhalt the beauty of the temples of the old citadel.

At Phra Nakhon Kiri Fair, around the middle of April, fireworks make even more special the old citadel. 
During Phra Nakhon Kiri Fair a competition of gypsum sculptures make the visit of the town even more interesting.

During Phra Nakhon Kiri Fair around the middle of April the old citadel is lighted all night making a breathtaking view.


Five practical tips for your visit to Phetchaburi:

 How long should I plan to stay in Phetchaburi?
  1. Plan to stay in Phetchaburi area for at least two full days. You will use one day to visit the old town and the other day to visit at least one of the many beautiful sites outside the town (more posts will folow about them). 

    When is the best time to visit Phetchaburi ?

  2. If you can try to visit Phetchaburi during Phra Nakhon Kiri Fair around the middle of April.
    For a weekend at night the old citadel will be decorated with thousands of lights and around the hill a huge market will make this usually sleepy town interesting and lively. And finally you will enjoy the fireworks at night.


    Where should I stay in Phetchaburi?

  3. Base yourself at the feet of the old citadel, don't get accommodation away from it. You will loose money and time moving by public transport to get to the famous sites.
  4. Avoid the hottest time to visit the citadel, little shade is provided. Visit in the morning or at sunset, but careful at closing time.
Bear in mind Phetchaburi is not a touristy city. There is no much accommodation in the town, particularly if you are visiting during Phra Nakhon Kiri Fair.
Book an advance or be ready to accept whatever kind of accommodation left available.


What should I visit after Phetchaburi?

If you haven't yet visited the old famous Thai temples consider heading to visit either Ayutthaya or Sukhothai, if you are looking for some relax and beautiful beaches head to Kho Tao. If you want to discover some especially Thai landscape plan to visit Phang Nga Bay.


What else should I absolutely visit in Thailand?


PHANG NGA BAY: "James Bond Island. One of the most iconic places in Thailand".
Visit one of the most beautiful National Parks in Thailand, much more to see than just James Bond's island!

KHO TAO - "A wonderful island in the Andaman Sea" Photos and some useful tips to visit one of the most unspoiled islands in Thailand, away from the noise, relatively unspoiled and just an hour away from Thailand's famous Full Moon Parties.

SUKHOTHAI: "Want to visit the best archaeological site in Thailand?"
A visit in Sukhothai, the most impressive and best kept archaeological park in Thailand, many great photos, two maps and lots of practical info to visit Sukhothai.

AYUTTHAYA - AN AMAZING INSPIRATIONAL PLACE JUST 2 HRS FROM BANGKOK Just 2 hrs away from Bangkok Ayutthaya is a perfect destination for a day trip to explore the famous Thai temples. It is also the first stop for a visit to the North, read the post and watch some great photos!

The Holy City of Chiang Mai is where to go to admire the famous "pagoda temples". In the post you will explore one of the most famous destinations in Thailand. Photos & practical info.



Where can I read more about Thailand?

Read more of Thailand secluded secrets, 
itineraries and practical tips for your travel on our page about Thailand.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Nantes Castle - Exploring the Castles of the Loire Valley #1 (Visiting Nantes #1 - The Castle)

The gate of Nantes Castles where the royal palace and the museum of Nantes are housed.
The Castle is with the Cathedral one of the oldest building in Nantes.
Nantes is a very interesting city and what certainly makes it special is the unique mix of styles that you can easily admire walking in the town.

The Castle of Nantes is doubtless one of the most iconic monuments of the town.

Its medieval walls, so strong, large and imposing protect more recent buildings in typical French Flamboyant style.

Inside, the castle also contains a little museum about the history of Nantes.

The museum is not extremely rich of information, but it gives you a general understanding of the history of the town.

It is certainly interesting to visit the castle and the museum as in this way you have the chance to explore the white rooms of the castle with its imposing thick walls.

The history of the castle is deeply related with the story and the life of the Duchess Ann.

The Duchess Ann became during a symbol of the history of Brittany and of France and we will follow her life in our posts along the Loire Valley.

The statue of the Duchess Ann in front of Nantes Castle.
The Duchess is the most famous actor in Nantes history and it is still popular today (click here to read more) 


Here some photos of the castle.


(You can visit the castle walls and courtyards everyday and for free. The museum about the history of the city of Nantes is hosted in the castle and it is free the first Sunday of the month).

We hope you enjoy the photos.

The strong walls and the moat are wonderfully well preserved.

The huge medieval towers defending the walls of the castle.

The gate of the castle as seen from the road.

One more sight of the gate, note the depth of the moat!

The French flamboyant style of the royal palace. You will also notice it in many more Loire's castles façades.

The large internal courtyard of teh castle.

The courtyard and the Cathedral behind.
Click here to read about Nantes Cathedral.

The Castle's surrounding and the Cathedral where the famous tomb of the parents of the Duchess Ann of Brittany is situated.


A view of the courtyards from the walls of the castle.

The impressive flamboyant style of the façade.

The walls as seen from the tower.

The walls are opened everyday from morning to dusk. Entrance is free.

You can plan a pick-nick in the castle's courtyard.

Admire the French Flamboyant style...

... and the beautiful windows.


This post has been made thanks to Nina Latouille from Nantes. 

Are you planning to travel in France?
Read more posts on our page Visit France.

Follow us:
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If you are planning to visit Nantes, don't forget also to check our posts: 





Read more posts on our page Visit France.

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like our blog page on facebook so that you can read our posts when we will update this page
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follow us on Google+1, clicking on the G+1 button on the right column of this page

subscribe to our free newsletterinsert your email on the box on the right column on this page, so that you wil recieve the updates by email (note that when you subscribe you will recieve an email from "feedburner email subscription" asking you to confirm your subscription. Remember to confirm it and be aware that most of the time your email's filters will consider the confirmation email spam and so to find it and reply to it you have to look on your spam folder as well)