Day 2 – Tourist in Paris – Paris Photoshoot …

Paris, Photography, Travel

Day 2, Tourist in Paris…

Despite the predicted rain, I was blessed with clear blue skies and sunshine. So was up and out early to avoid the crowds and ready to capture the city like never before, I was here to take photos after all! First up the Eiffel Tower…

 I took almost the same route as the day before but stayed close to the main street looking for a bakery and something for breakfast, before heading straight towards the iron icon to capture it in the brilliant morning light.

After a walk around the tower base and a few clicks later, I met up with my friend at the carousel in front of the tower where we then caught a tour bus. The hop on hop off bus tour took us past the golden dome of Les Invalides, across the Ponte Alexendre bridge and through Place de la Concorde.

We was close to at a great little spot I had heard about from a fellow travel blogger as a great way to see the Eiffel Tower for free, so we stopped off for brunch with a view on the roof of Printemps. Not only can you walk through a posh department store, admire the designer clothes and grab a roomy lift to the top….there is a reasonably priced cafe on the roof with fantastic panoramic views of the city! A perfect photo opportunity, if there ever was one!

The view from printemps is well worth it and if you on a tour bus its stops just outside the store before the Lourve.

We re caught the tour bus and headed to the Louvre to take a few snaps in and around the courtyard, it’s a fantastic area to photograph as there are so many angles, perspectives and lines to play around with.

Next up was another on my must see list the Pont Neuf where we took some snaps of the padlocks. The weather was changing and deciding it wasnt on our side, we walked towards Notre Dame in the hope of some dramatic light. By the time we had arrived it had grown stormy and the clouds descended so I switched to black and white for a more dramatic effect.

 

Deciding it was time to stop for a late lunch and the weather to pass we found a little cafe and settled in. By the time we finished eating the sun was back out and we decided to finish the afternoon at the Arc di Triopmhe before heading back to our hotels to rest our feet and charge our cameras.

Later that evening we met up Trocadero to catch the first light display of the night on the Eiffel Tower. 

Coming soon! Day 3 – Sacre Coure and the Montmartre

You can read about my 1st day in Paris here.

© TuscanDreamsPhotography
Images in this post are owned and distributed by me.
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Padlocks of Paris

Paris, Photo Post, Photography, Travel

One of the places at the top my list to photograph in Paris was the padlocks on the Pont Neuf bridge, after a visit to Notre Dame I spent some time taking photographs of the many differant padlocks there.

Over the past decade, love locks have popped up in cities across the world, decorated with lovers’ initials, declarations of affection and sometimes even marriage proposals.

 There is an incredible variety of padlocks, from old and rusty to gold-coloured padlocks personalised with laser engravings.

They will probably meet the same fate as those of the Pont des Artes, the first Parisian bridge to be weighed down with the love locks. The worldwide tradition has become so popular, it just isn’t sustainable in citys such as Paris.

In 2015 local authorities were forced to de-lock the entire bridge, removing 45 tons of metal for safety reasons and to protect the structure which was severely stressed from the weight.

Leaving a padlock on the bridge is no different from carving initials into a tree or writing ‘I woz here’ on a bus stop, but it gives us photographers a chance to take some great shots!

© TuscanDreamsPhotography
Images in this post are owned and distributed by me.

Panoramic Views from Printemps, Paris…

Paris, Photo Post, Travel

There are plenty of places to photograph paris from a height, the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Montparnasse Tower to name just a few. After spending some time researching photography spots in Paris I discovered this almost hidden gem to capture the city skyline.

The Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais

So if like me want to photograph the Paris skyline for free over a coffee? Head to the top of Printemps Haussmann on Boulevard Haussmann. The posh department store is filled with designer goods and a spacious lift leads you up to a rooftop cafe which is reasonably priced and offers the perfect panoramic view of Paris on a budget. 

Haussmann buildings and the city skyline

 

Sacre Coeur sitting on top of Paris highest point

Read more on my trip to paris, coming soon!

 

© TuscanDreamsPhotography
Images in this post are owned and distributed by me.

Ponte della Maddalena

Daydrips, Lucca, Travel, Tuscany

 

This beautiful medieval bridge crosses the Serchio river near the small town of Borgo a Mozzano. Known Locally as  “Ponte del Diavolo” (Devil’s Bridge) the Ponte della Maddalena “Bridge of Mary Magdalene” is just a short train/bus ride from Lucca, originally thought to be commissioned by the Countess Matilda of Tuscany somewhere between 1080 – 1100, the majestic bridge has become a symbol of the Garfagnana region and attracts many tourist to this sleepy corner of Tuscany every year.


The vital river crossing was once an important link for pilgrimages to Rome and is incredibly easy to find, there is a car park beside the bridge and regular trains an buses from Lucca.


Arriving by train brings you into the main town of Borgo a Mozzano, where its only a short walk through the quite streets until, with a glorious backdrop of the Garfagnana mountains the top of the stone bridge comes into view.

The “climb” to the highest arch brings spectacular panoramic views over the river and up towards the little houses which dot the surrounding mountains. Once across its elegant arches you will find a bilingual narrative next giving the history of the bridge, there is also a small cafe where you can enjoy an espresso and admire the stone work before heading back across to check out the delights of Borgo a Mozzzano. Being only a 25 minute train ride from Lucca this made a great day trip for us and we have since been back to the bridge a few times when in the area.

 

Top 3 Italian Festival In February

Italy, Tops 5/10, Travel, Travel Tips

Its February and as the Venetians are wearing their masks, the people of Ivrea begin to battle it out with oranges, City streets all around Italy take on an energetic party atmosphere. Colorful characters dance in the street, highly decorative floats make their way though towns and everywhere wakes up from its winter slump……the Carnevale has come to Italy!!!

The world famous Carnevale is celebrated in Italy 40 days before Easter, with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. Marking the beginning of lent and ending on shove Tuesday (which is more commonly know as pancake day), the celebrations are spread over a number of days (even weeks in some cities). Because the date of Easter changes each year, so does the date for Carnevale. This years official Carnevale is on February 17th.

If your lucky enough to be in Italy this month, Here’s just a few festivals that might be worth a visit…..

1. Venice – Italy’s biggest carnival is held each year, beginning at end of January and ending in mid Feb it attracts Thousands of tourists to Venice to see the whole city turn into a asked ball. As the tourists watch from the gondolas, the locals walk around in baroque fancy-dress party and possibly attend one of the many elaborate balls. There is a spectacular opening ceremony, the Flight of the Angel as well as music, street performers, jousting competitions and during the last week of the carnival there is a contest for best mask, which is judged by a jury of international fashion designers.

2. Viareggio – Every Sunday in February the streets of this Tuscan seaside resort come alive, attracting over a million people the huge parade of floats and gigantic papier mâché figures make their way along the seafront. the giant dolls represent figures from fairy tales and the world of politics, after the impressive parade has made its way down the promenade there is food, drink and fireworks.

3. The Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, – The Spanish throw tomatoes and the Italians throw fresh oranges at each other, once a year this small town in northern Italy hosts a colorful messy and almost comedic battle with oranges. Teams dressed in colorful costumes have a massive food fight in the streets, the locals represent the masses and pelt hooded people on horse drawn carts with the citrus fruit. The fights are celebrated all over the town and if you don’t fancy getting tango’ed every piazza will have a “safe” area where spectators can watch from the sidelines The four day festival ends with a grand finale on Shrove Tuesday.

Are you off to Italy this month to check out the Carnival? Or have you experienced any of these festivals before? I have been to Viareggio a few times before and hope to go again one year.

Rome in a day

Italy, Travel, Uncategorized

You may be a history buff wanting to explore the Roman Forum or an art fanatic desperate for a glimpse of the Sistine chapel  Whatever it is, Rome breathes history and has religion and art in every corner. Packed with tourist and speeding Vespa’s that never stop, you cant expect to conquer the city in one single trip let alone just one day! But we tried….

 

On our first trip to Italy we made sure our return flight was a light night flight from Rome, which ment
no matter what it would give us chance to see not only more of the country but making it possible to visit the eternal city, even if it was only for a day. 

 

 

The 3 hour train ride from Pisa took us through the beautiful countryside of Tuscany and past the coast, travelling along passed southern Tuscany and into Lazio. We arrived in Rome at 9.30am and stepping off the Train at Roma Termini, I could instantly feel that the modern city was a huge contrast to the relaxed way of life in the Tuscan countryside we had become accustomed to. 

Although the city bares not only a long and colourful history but brilliant architecture and cultural treasures, there are plenty of horror stories about the metro system so we decided to walk it all, why go underground in a city scattered in sights anyway? And with so many sites you don’t have to walk far to find one, top of most people’s lists of things to see in Rome is of course the Colosseum. Being incredibly easy to get to from the main station (by foot or metro) we made it our first stop. 

 Arriving at the mighty ruin was truly incredible, it really is colossal but slightly tainted by the main roads and heavy traffic  Even so the 15 admission fee was well worth it as we could have easily spent a full day exploring the historical area. After spending the morning soaking up the atmosphere in the most famous structure of the Roman Empire, we headed down Via dei Fori Imperiali and past the Roman Forum to the Piazza Venezia. We knew it was just a short walk to the Pantheon and Fontana di Trevi but decided if we only had time to see one it would of course have to be the baroque masterpiece.

 From Piazza Venezia we walked up Via della Pilotta head on for the Fontana di Trevi and I was speechless, at first with the number of people in front of the fountain and then of the scale of what I expected to be ‘just a fountain’. I can honestly say I was utterly amazed at the size and detail of the marvel, and of course we threw coins to ensure our return to Rome!

 A gelato and short stroll  later we had stumbled into Piazza Spanga and the grand staircase which makes it famous. The 138 steps which make up the Spanish steps climb up to Trinità dei Monti church, just behind the piazza is the luxurious Via Veneto area. The streets are lined with many high-class boutique hotels and designer stores as well as the famous Café de Paris and Harry’s Bar.

 Ok, so we had missed out on the Pantheon and we didn’t have time to venture over the river to the Vatican, but the steep winding slope from Piazza del Popolo lead us up onto Pincian Hill where there is a wonderful balcony giving stunning views over the city and towards St. Peters Basilica. The hill is made up of the large landscape gardens of the Villa Borghese, which is now occupied by The Galleria Borghese. It made a perfect place to relax after a long day walking and a fantastic last glimpse of the city before heading home.

 Anyone will tell you a day is definitely not enough to explore the city completely and they are right!  The vast amounts of ancient architecture Rome has to offer is truly overwhelming and although I plan to return to city again at some point,e (After all I did throw a coin n the fountain!) I couldn’t help getting the getting the impression that it is just a metropolitan city built on what could be the world’s best museum. 

Have you been to Rome? if so what do you think?

Tuscany’s World Heritage Sites

Italy, Italy For Dummies, Tops 5/10, Travel, Tuscany

The list is almost 1000 strong, from ancient temples and shrines to forests and mountains. Sites include world wonders such as Yellowstone national park, Ayes Rock, Taj Mahal and the Sydney Opera house! The World wide list comprises of places that must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. Criteria includes, somewhere with special cultural or physical significance, any outstanding examples of earth’s history and creative masterpiece’s of human genius.

Italy boasts 47 UNESCO World Heritage sites which scatter the country like pepperoni on a pizza. From the natural beauty of the Dolomite’s to royal houses and religious monuments…Italy really does have it all!

Tuscany is proud owner or 6 of them, Heres the list………..


The historic centre of Florence – The symbol of the renaissances is surly the most deserving ticking 5 out of ten of the criteria boxes, Added to list in 1982 for extraordinary artistic activity and its lengthy history.

 

The historic center of Siena – The whole city of Siena is built around the Piazza del Campo, and was devised as a work of art to blends into the surrounding landscape. The committee added this little gem in 1995.

 

 

Piazza del Duomo, Pisa – The large green expanse of Piazza del Duomo was added in 1987 and is home to a group of monuments including the learning tower.

 

 

The historic center of San Gimignano – The smallest of the sites sits on a hill and is dominated by its 14 medieval towers. Added in 1990 it once served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome.

 

 

Val d’Orcia – Located in central Italy this entire valley region is by far the largest in the area and was added in 2004, the rolling landscape runs through picturesque towns and has been celebrated by painters for centuries.


The historic center of Pienza – One of the small towns in the Vald’Orcia, The historic center was added in 1996 for its Renaissance town-plan which has played a significant part of the urban development in Italy and beyond.

 

How many of the sites have you ticked off?

*The full list can be seen here http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria/