Parisien Love

Whether you are immersing yourself with city life from a sidewalk café or taking a leisurely walk along the Seine, you will slowly unravel what the city of chic, romance and lights has to offer. After spending a year in Paris, the top 10 things to visit in Paris such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Versaille were replaced by hidden sights, as I continued to explore and discover the city. My sister – blogger junkie asked me to write a blog about Paris – so I have put together my top must see/do’s!

Sacré Coeur. One of my favourite places in Paris. The Sacré Coeur is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus. Situated on top of a hill crest, the large monument is visible throughout Paris. You can walk up the steps or take the funicular to the top and walk around the cobbled streets to discover the artisans. The Square Jehan Rictus at Place des Abbesses has a blue tiled wall with the words “I love you” written in over 250 languages and dialects.

Le Marais – known as the Jewish quarter, is an area filled with chic boutiques, art galleries and cafes.  Down a small cobblestone street full of falafel and bakery shops, there is always one restaurant with the longest queue:  L’As du Falafel – best falafels in city!

Afternoon Tea at La Duree: The iconic patisserie, salon de thé and delicatessen offer a wide selection of tea, cakes, and of course famous macaroons in all colours, flavours and sizes. No visit to Paris is complete without going here.

Another famous salon de thé is Angelina, just steps away from Le Louvre (where you can stop to see the famous Mona Lisa).  Whether you stop for tea or their famous hot chocolate or maybe a mille-feuille or their famous Mont Blanc, you will not be disappointed.

Best Views of Paris: After going up and down the Eiffel tower countless number of times when friends or families came to visit, I realised that I appreciated the view of the Eiffel Tower more than the panoramic view of Paris.  Metro Station: Tocadéro will lead you to a large open area where you have a breath-taking view of the Eiffel tower.

During the spring and summer, Champs de Mars, a large greenery area in Paris, home to the Eiffel Tower is the best place for a picnic. It’s near station Ecole Militaire.

If you want an amazing view of Paris, climb the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. The monument itself is the centre of several avenues that form a star. Bbest to climb in the evening, as you will be able to view the several avenues that spoke the monument and form a star.

Bon voyage!! And enjoy your trip to Paris…


Scones for tea

Scones are the easiest English breakfast, teatime or snack to make. And you can add any type of jam or marmalade on top though I swear by the traditional clotted cream and strawberry jam….For Father’s day, we made a batch using the following BBC Food recipe.

Ingredients

  • 225g/8oz self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 55g butter
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten to brush the top

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Mix together flour and salt and rub in butter.
  • Stir in sugar and then the milk to get a soft dough.
  • Turn on to a floured work surface and knead very lightly. Pat out to a round 2cm/¾in thick. Use a 5cm/2in cutter to stamp out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Lightly knead together the rest of the dough and stamp out more scones to use it all up.
  • Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes until well risen and golden.
  • Cool on a wire rack

Serve with butter, strawberry jam and clotted cream…Delish and so quick to make!

Isle of Capri

The scent of lemon blossoms and fresh sea air is what hits you when you take the boat from Sorrento to Capri which is the only way to get to this beautiful yet very expensive island. Ice cream was £5 so make sure you have enough money!!
The coastline, where the cliffs fall to the sea in many spots, is dotted with caves and surrounded by reefs. It’s such a pretty place and the best way to see the Island is to hire a boat and walk around. Although we did get lost and ended up walking up and down the stairs of a really steep path for over an hour the views made the adventure worth it!
Don’t miss out on seeing:
  • The town of Anacapri and its surrounding villas and hikes
  • The Blue Grotto is a beautiful cave at the water’s edge with a tiny opening to the sea that opens and closes with the tide. The entrance is small and depending on the tide there is just enough space for only a small rowboat to get through. It often closes due to tides and waves, so check before going
  • Faraglioni Rocks: three spurs of rock which rise up out of the sea
  • Chairlift from Anacapri up to Monte Solaro for views over the bay of Naples from the summit
  • Villa Jovis: the residence of the Emperor Tiberius
  • People watching in the many cafes and spotting any celebs

Capri is really expensive – so take drinks and snacks with you or buy a sandwich to eat in the many piazzas and squares.

Bella Sorrento

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most stunning parts of Italy that I’ve been to and this is where our travels in Italy began. The Amalfi Coast is a stretch of coastline on the southern coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula in the Province of Salerno in Southern Italy.  A stretch of coast wedged between the blue of the sky and sea, a string of spectacular little towns and ancient fishing villages welded like limpets to the rocks. This is the unforgettable Amalfi Coast.

We based ourselves in Sorrento – a small and laid-back southern Italian town which took 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other and was a great base from which to travel from to other coast towns and take the boat to the islands.

We stayed in the hills at Villa Monica – a cute little B&B with only three rooms where the owner Pasquale takes cares of your needs. The views and recommendations were second to none – we got to try an authentic local Italian and were picked and dropped as and when we wanted to and really looked after.

There’s not alot to do in Sorrento but make sure you take in the town, walk around leisurely  and enjoy some relaxation time soaking up the atmosphere. Two things that are must-sees:

  • The pretty small Port (Marina Piccola) – be wary of the steps or long walk there though! This is also the jumping point for boats to Naples, Capri (more on this later!) and Ischia.
  • One of the top souvenirs from the area is limoncello, the signature lemon liqueur. You can find it at l’Alambicco which offers limoncello free tasting, is located just few steps from the main square “Piazza Tasso”. via San Cesareo 15. This is a good place to see it being made, after which you’ll know why it packs such a punch – it’s pure alcohol with flavouring.
To eat:
  • Gnocchi alla Sorrentina – potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and mozzarella baked to perfection
  • Italian gelato that incorporates fresh local flavours at Gelateria Davide, Via Giuliani, 35
  • Pastiera a typical cake that is produced in the area and lots of pastries from Pasticceria Monica

Although there’s not a huge amount to do – it’s great stop off point and you can get the bus to: Positano: the coast’s most expensive and photogenic town, Amalfi: a popular day-trip option, with the town of Ravello: perched high on a hill looking down over it. You can get a boat to Capri (post coming up!) or Ischia or the train to see Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius.