Europe, France, Travel, Western Europe

Rouen

Hello, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to share my day trip to Rouen from Paris. Located in Normandy region, Rouen was one of the most important cities in the medieval time. This city is now known for a place where Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) was executed and a hometown for the impressionists with its incredible cathedral and the scenery of the Seine. The peaceful and calm atmosphere of Rouen will welcome you.

How to get there

This is a great city for a day trip from Paris. I took a train to go there, and the train departs at Saint-Lazare station in Paris. The price of the ticket varies depending on the time you want to depart (from €11 ), but the morning one I took cost €11.50 (8:19-9:50). I think it’s the cheapest but the best schedule to visit Rouen for a day. It takes about 1 hour and half by train.

You can also go there by taking a bus such as Flixbus or Ouibus which offer cheaper price ( from €4.99) and it takes about 2 hours (on average). I like travelling bus, but considering the fact that I was travelling for a day, I would pay few more euros to save time. Most bus stops are outside of the city, thus you should consider the time to get into the center of the city.

Things to do in Rouen

The first place I visited in Rouen was the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. In this museum, you would find paintings, sculptures, drawing and art collections. It’s only 10 mins away from the train station by foot. In front of the station, you would see a main street. Following that street toward Subway (sandwich shop), you would see a park. The museum is next to the park. It is free of charge for permanent collections. The museum opens at 10 a.m., thus arriving at the station at 9:50 was an excellent choice.

In the museum, you may find collections from the 15th century to the 21th century. This museum has a special salon called <Rouen> where exhibits art collections of the city.

Leaving behind the museum,I headed to the Cathedral, which is the main object in the Claude Monet’s painting series <Rouen Cathedral>. He drew 30 paintings of this building at different time and different season.

Notre-Dame Cathedral is one of the most important architectures in Rouen. This giant Gothic style cathedral fascinates its visitors. Many people sit down and enjoy this gorgeous structure including me. Don’t forget to get in. Inside of the building is also impressive.

Rouen is also known as the city of Joan of Arc. Napoleon Bonaparte declared her as a French national symbol considering her significant role in the Hundred Years’ War. She was executed by fire here in Rouen, thus there are some monuments to commemorate her. You can see some paintings about this little but strong girl in the musée des beaux-arts. On the way to the center of the town, you could see Donjon of Rouen where Joan of Arc was imprisoned. Now, this place hosts the escape game using VR glasses.

The Church of Joan of Arc is also an important church in Rouen. This modern building commemorates the national heroin Joan of Arc. To me, it seemed a bit odd since it doesn’t get along with neighboring buildings. In front of the church, you can see a big cross. This is the place where she was executed. The church is small but has a very abstract and unique structure. Inside of the church is very bright thanks to wide windows which allow to pass the light.

The Great Clock is also a must see thing in Rouen. It’s in the downtown from the Renaissance era. You can get into the building and see the clock from inside and enjoy the cityview. Since there was a long queue and I had only one day there, I didn’t enter the monument. There’s also a lunch break, so you should plan your visit well. The ticket costs €7 (adult).

Overall, the city is full of history and you could imagine how important the city was in the past by looking at historical buildings. It’s a perfect day trip destination from Paris in Summer.

Enjoy your trip with Marimonda! See you soon. 🙂

Practical Info.

Musée des Beaux-Arts

Address : Esplanade Marcel Duchamp 76000 Rouen

Hours : 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Closed on Tuesday.

website

Notre-Dame Cathedral de Rouen

Address : Place de la Cathédrale, 76000 Rouen

Hours : 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Tue.-Sat.) / 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Sun.)/ 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Mon.)

website

Donjon de Rouen

Address : Rue Bouvreuil, 76000 Rouen

website

Church of Joan of Arc

Address : Place du Vieux Marché, 76000 Rouen

Hours : 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. – 6 : 00 p.m. (Mon.-Thu. , Sat.)

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Fri. and Sun.)

website

The Great Clock

Address :Rue du Gros Horloge, 76000 Rouen

Hours : 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. & 2:00 p.m. – 7 : 00 p.m. (Tue.-Sun.) Closed on Mondays

website

Europe, France, Travel, Western Europe

Mont Saint-Michel

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to introduce you one of the most touristic areas in France, the Mont Saint-Michel! Located in Normandy, this place is loved by people from all around the world unique geographical characteristic. I’ve been there three times already, but I can’t stop wowing whenever I see it.

Brief History

Mont Saint-Michel used to be a fortification due to its location. It is said that the archangel Michael instructed Aubert of Avranches who was the bishop of that region in 708 to build a church there. You may probably notice many sculptures inside Mont Saint-Michel describing this legend.

Later, the cathedral and abbey were added to the original church and the island has modified according to the architect style as time flows. It took 800 years to have today’s feature. During the French Revolution, it was served as a prison. Mont Saint-Michel and its bay were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979.

I’ve been to Mont Saint Michel three times so far, and I always find new things to appreciate inside. I went there by myself(self-guided tour), with a group tour, and with an official tour provided by the monument. Each visit was unforgettable since all of them were so different.

When I went there by myself, I was surprised to see the town. Seeing all that medieval structures, I felt as if I were a character in Game of Thrones. Since I didn’t get any tour, I couldn’t have any opportunities to understand better on this.

For the second visit, I took a day trip from Paris. It was easy since I didn’t have to calculate time for the transport nor line up to enter. Plus, the tour was included visiting other places Honfleur, a harbour city in France. It cost about €100 (only for the transport and the guide), including the entrance fee and the lunch, I spent around €130 excluding souvenirs. Plus, the guide explained the stories about Mont Saint-Michel, thus it helped me to get to know more about this place.

The last time I visited there, which was 1 week ago, I went there by train and participated une visite conference, an official guided tour provided by Mont Saint-Michel. I am not sure about English tour (there are visite conferences in different languages ) since I took a French one. I guess that it would be the same or similar. It cost me 13 and if you can I really recommend this. Since the tour guides are approved by the French government, I could access to hidden parts where is not open to public. The tour takes about 1 hour ~1 hour and half depending on the circulation inside of the Abbey.

How to get there?

Since Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most popular places in France, there are many ways that you can visit there.

Joining a day group tour would be the easiest way to get there. The tour usually takes a whole day ( about 14 hours on average) and it costs around €120~180. The price varies depending on the conditions such as admission or lunch.

If you go there by yourself, you can drive and it takes about 4 hours from Paris (one way).

You can also go there by bus such as flixbus it takes about 5 hours or a bit more (one way) and it costs around €50 for a round trip.

Travelling by train and then taking a bus can be an option. The combo ticket costs from €54 (the cheapest but the best time slot if you go there for a day trip) from Paris. The train leaves at Montparnasse 3 Vaugirard early in the morning everyday( 7 : 38 a.m.). Then you transfer to a bus offered by SNCF at Villedieu les Poêles. When you take off the bus, you can ride a shuttle (free) to get to Mont Saint-Michel, walk (about 40 mins), or by a horse-carriage ride.

What to eat?

Since it’s a touristic place, most restaurants in Mont Saint-Michel are busy and expensive. There, I found a creperie <La Sirène Lochet> and it was one of the best crepes I’ve ever tried in France with reasonable price. The restaurant is on the second floor (1er étage in French style), you should use stairs in a souvenir shop on the first floor. The service is a bit slow but the staffs are friendly and most of all, the crepes are delicious. You can customize your dish with the ingredients you want. Each crepe costs about €7~9, thus including the drink €12~15 would be enough per person. We ordered four crepes, one bottle of cider, and four coffees, and we paid less than €50 in total.

Salt lamb is the local specialty. You can try them out at <Le Pré Salé> or <La Rôtisserie>. Those are well-known restaurant for salt lamb (€30~). You can also try <La Mère Poulard>, it cost 40~ for one main dish which seems quite high to me. You can also find cookies from <La Mère Poulard>, but since you can get them from almost everywhere in France, I don’t think it’s necessary to buy them there.

Hope you enjoyed the visit to Mont Saint-Michel with Marimonda. See you soon 🙂

Practical Info. (websites)

Mont Saint-Michel

Le Pré Salé

La Rôtisserie

La Mère Poulard

Europe, France, Travel, Western Europe

Metz

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today I’d like to share my visit to Metz, a city in the Grand Est region near the border of France, Luxembourg, and Germany.

Brief History

With its long and rich history, Metz has been submitted its name on France’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List (2014). You can feel its history once you arrive at Metz. Used to be a palace, the train station welcomes you with its antique and unique feature. The windows and the doors are preserved very well, thus you can see how the architect style was in the past. Metz used to be German territory and and reverted to France. The city went through this process repeatedly, and this complex history made Metz be more culturally rich.

Where to visit?

There are many places to visit in Metz such as the Metz Cathedral (Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral), Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, Centre Pompidou, Opera House, etc. Also during the summer, Metz Plage is going on (which is an equivalent of Paris Plages), so you can enjoy the summer with more activities near the river. This time, I visited Pompidou center and Metz Cathedral including old city. The city seemed to have a good public transport system, but since most tourist attractions are accessible by foot, I didn’t use any transport.

Pompidou Center

Like Paris’ Pompidou center, the center has very outstanding architect. Located next to the train station, this white mushroom-like building holds many cultural events of the town. The entrance fee is based on the number of the exhibition spaces open on the day of your visit (very unique but reasonable), so I paid €10 for three exhibitions.

It took me about three hours to look around the exhibitions, on average one hour per space. Depending on your speed, you can spend less or more time here. The receptionists said, it usually takes 2-3 hours to look around the center. Even if you don’t have a map, you can see the sign on the street telling you the direction to the Pompidou center and the Cathedral. Or since it’s one of the landmarks of the city, anyone in the street would know how to get there unless they’re tourists.

Metz Cathedral

The Metz Cathedral is a must visit place in Metz. Well-known for its architect, the cathedral has larger stained glass than any other cathedrals in the world. Three of them are designed by Marc Chagall, a famous painter with his genius understanding to colors. Those three are distinguished from other stained glass, so you won’t have difficulties to find them.

Metz City Pass

The city also has a city pass for €13,50. With the pass, you can access to Pompidou Center, Cour d’Or Museum, and one audio tour within a day. For €16, you can also unlimited access to the public transport. I didn’t have enough time in Metz, thus I didn’t purchase the pass, but it’s a good option if you’re thinking of visiting Pompidou and Cour d’Or Museum. The official website of the city pass is as following : Metz City Pass

I visited Metz because it was on the way to my trip to Luxembourg. I spent only one whole afternoon (about 7 hours) there, but I feel like I should’ve spent more time in Metz. The city has more things to do and enjoy. I loved the the peaceful atmosphere of the city with classy architects. They’re very distinct from those of Paris. I am pretty sure you would love this city. One thing I regret is that I couldn’t try local food since most of the local restaurants were closed due to the summer vacation and Assumption day. I’d like to go back and check out other places that I missed this time in the near future.

Hope you enjoy the Metz with Marimonda! See you soon 🙂

Practical Info.

Pompidou Centre Metz website

Address : 1 Parvis des Droits de l’Homme, 57020 Metz

Hours : 10a.m. – 6p.m. (Mon/Wed), -7p.m. (Thu.-Sun.) , Closed on Tuesday

Metz Cathedral website

Address : Place d’Armes, 57000 Metz

Hours : 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. everyday

Europe, Italy, Travel, Western Europe

Venice Airport Marco Polo Lounge

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to share my experience in Venice Airport Marco Polo Lounge where you can access with PP card. If you’re interested in my previous review of Nice Lounge, click here.

There are two airports near Venice. One is Treviso and the other one is Marco Polo where I used this time. Treviso is on the mainland, thus it’s a bit further from Venice and it’s a hub airport for budget airlines. Marco Polo airport, on the other hand, is closer to Venice and it’s a base airport for the most major airlines. Both of them are easy to access to the Venice island using public transport ACTV.

How to get there

There are many options available depending on your place, time, and budget. I took the Alilaguna, a water transport to the airport since the station was nearby my hotel. It cost €15 for one way, €27 for round trip. Be careful, the ticket is somewhat tricky (you can’t take Alilaguna with your Venezia Unica card but the station is the same, thus it’s easy to be confused), and they don’t check the ticket when you board. They check your ticket in the middle on the way to the airport. On our boat, there were four people who didn’t have the proper ticket (I am not completely sure whether they knew it or not). The driver asked them to pay €16 or they should take off the boat. If you have a Venezia Unica card, you can get discount or you can go to Murano island and take the Alilaguna since it’s cheaper from there to the airport. You can also take an express bus from Piazzale Roma next to Santa Lucia station ( €8). Water taxi is the most expensive but the fastest way to get to the airport. It takes less than 30 mins and it costs €120.

Marco Polo Lounge

I could access to the lounge with my PP card. Without the PP card, you can pay and enter the lounge and it costs €40. You can stay for two hours. The lounge is very big and quiet. It is divided into many sections such as a business section, shower, TV, comfortable couch, etc.

Food Station

At the food station, hot and cold foods are available like lasagna, bread, or fruits. Cocktails are also available upon request. I tried lasagna and fruits accompanied with aperol to chill out. Then I had a cup of espresso as a dessert. I usually don’t drink coffee before the flight in order to get good sleep. However, after seeing the server making a fresh coffee upon request I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t miss my last opportunity to drink coffee in Italy, and it was amazing like other coffees I tried in Italy.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience at the lounge. It made my trip to Italy complete. But I wouldn’t go there if I didn’t have my PP card. The price is quite expensive, I would spend that money to have a substantial meal instead of snacking. Don’t get me wrong, the bread and drinks offered in the lounge filled me up enough. The place opens early in the morning and late at night.

Hope you enjoyed the review of Marco Polo Lounge by Marimonda 🙂 See you soon!

Practical Info.

Address : Venice Airport, Viale Galileo Galilei, 30/1, 30173 Venezia VE, Italy

Hours : 5 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Website

Europe, Italy, Travel, Western Europe

San Gimignano 산 지미냐노

Hello Everyone, it’s me #Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to share my visit to San Gimignano, a city of tower. Fourteen towers are remained until today. Located in a hill in Tuscany area, it’s a popular day trip destination from Siena or Florence. The center of the town is one of the Unesco World Heritage Sites. Sitting down next to the wall in the center of the town and try the best gelato will be a nice pause.

The Center of San Gimignano, Unesco World Heritage Site
Marimonda World

Brief history

San Gimignano
Marimonda World

San Gimignano is well known for its medieval style buildings and towers. From the distance, you could recognize the town by its impressive skylines with fine towers. It had its heyday in the Middle Ages before the outbreak of the black death, which caused the death about half of population. With reduced the number of residents, the development of the village slowed down. Now it’s one of the popular holiday destinations in Tuscany. The city is twinned with Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic where I also went this July.

Gelateria Dondoli

Gelateria Dondoli
Marimonda World

As you know Italian Gelato is famous in the world. In the hot and humid weather in Italy, you can’t pass the Gelato shop without trying it. Believe it or not, in San Gimignano, you can find the best gelato in the world. At the center of the town, you would see a long queue of people waiting for their turn. The ice cream from Gelateria Dondoli is very creamy and unforgettable. At the gelateria, some regional special flavors are available such as Crema di Santa (saffron flavor) and Champelmo (vernaccia sparkling wine flavor). I do recommend try the specialties since they are unique flavors in this town. The price is also reasonable about €2.5 + @ considering the fact that it’s a world champion place.

Vernaccia di San Gimignano

Winery nearby San Gimignano
Marimonda World

Vernaccia is a white wine from wineries near San Gimignano. Guided winery tours including tasting and lunch are also available, and it’s a good experience to do it. The winery where I went served food with wine pairing; entrée, main, and dessert wine. Like other winery visit, you can buy at the store next to it. You can try red and white wine. Since this area is known for white wines, they can be good souvenirs. I bought three bottles of wines (two whites and one red), and when I tried it at home it reminded the moment at San Gimignano. The price depends on the label, but you can get one bottle of ok wine for about €10~15. Other local products like saffron and hams can be good souvenirs from the town.

The town is quite small and centralized. Half day will be enough to look around the important places.

Hope you enjoy the visit to San Gimignano with Marimonda 🙂 See you soon!