Saturday, November 15, 2014

Walking down 'Le Marché de Noël des Champs-Elysées'

Its getting colder and the heavy breeze has been making us aware that the winter is about to arrive. Christmas is in the air and we were assured of it when while our usual aimless scrolling on the internet we came to know that the Christmas market on Champs Elysees has opened its doors, rather the kiosks from yesterday (14th November, 2014). So could not resist the chance of taking a stroll there early in the season. By the time we reached the Christmas market the kiosks were lit and Champs Elysees as usual was buzzing with life. After walking for 5 minutes we started to feel the chill and we tried walking on the subway vents, which sometimes help to warm oneself up. However Mitra proposed a better idea to warm us up and that was buying a glass of hot wine. From our previous experiences we knew that the right place to buy it is from a kiosk which is solely dedicated to hot wine. The hot wine comes in three sizes- small, medium and large and is priced at 4€, 6€, 8€ respectively. A medium glass of hot wine was good enough for today but we know as the winter starts to set in we may need a lot more of it. With the crowd and the rush one must be careful while wavering around with the glass of precious liquid which not to mention Mitra wasn't and thus spilled quite a portion of it.  

Friday, November 14, 2014

French Riviera (Part 1) : Cannes and the Lérins Islands

TER Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Wikipedia)
Back to the French Riviera once again. The turquoise Mediterranean, the clear blue sky and the bright sun is what attracts us every year to the Cote d'Azur. Last year it was the country side around Nice and this time we chose the country side around Cannes. Sea side towns line the Mediterranean like pearls in the necklace in this part of the Riviera. French Riviera roughly extends from Toulon in the west up to the Italian border in the east with important cities such as Hyeres, St-Tropez, St-Raphael, Cannes, Nice and also includes the Principality of Monaco. The area is well connected by train run by the regional rail network TER Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, which roughly runs along the sea between St-Raphael and the Italian border. We decided to stay in Cannes for 4 nights from 31st July to 4th August. The TGV tickets from Paris can soar up during summer which is the preferred season for tourist visiting this area and for that matter all over France. However thanks to a SNCF offer, we were lucky enough to make the round trip in the first class at €90 per person from Paris to Cannes, though we must mention that we booked our tickets almost 3 months in advance. The TGV from Paris to Cannes takes roughly 6 hours and the rocky countryside of south France is something that never fails to charm, no matter how many numerous times one may have made the same journey. The 4 days flew by as we explored Cannes and the little unique towns and islands around the city.