Bonjour Paris

21When I woke up to this sky in the morning in Paris I was comforted by the stillness and peacefulness. Another spectacular day ahead of me:) Paris has a charm different to that of Nice or Avignon. Of course it is one of the biggest holiday destinations, so you see touristy places full of crawling people. Then you take a turn to narrow side streets and find yourself away from the hustle and bustle. So easy to get lost. Oh I never walked this much in my life >.< We walked average 20km a day while staying in Paris. Cobblestones look pretty but not that great for my feet. I strongly recommend to take super comfortable walking shoes when going to France.
13We started walking along the Seine to say a quick hello to Eiffle tower on the first day. Oh I so enjoyed pretty Autumn colours in Paris – yellow and red colour-changing leaves, beautiful sun and cool breeze. People were casually having a sunbath and drinking French wine along the river.
14My first encounter with this charming city was about 10 years ago. There are many beautiful places around the world that want to go back to. Paris is one of those that keeps calling me back and makes my heart flutter. I was there with my brother in my early 20s and visited obligatory touristy places. This time it was nice to step off the tourist track and wander around quiet back streets. I cannot put in words, but compared to 10 years ago, it definitely felt different when I went in my 30s. Would that be different again in 40s? I will find out…
14These love locks have gone viral all around the world, even on these old bridges in Paris. Unstoppable lingering thoughts – what kind of love story these love locks have, are those people happy now together, have they ever come back to find their locks again, how many keys are under the Seine? I wonder.
10Vintage markets on the street, rose petals after the wedding, couples doing wedding photo shoots, cute little arcades… all the things that we discovered by walking, not using metro or bus. Sore feet were worthwhile in the end.weddingLuxembourgI absolutely enjoyed poking in and out gourmet shops and groceries in Paris. This restaurant was one of them, very hidden in the back streets. Why not stop for a quick dejeuner? A platter of grilled vegetables, slices of cold meat, Parmesan cheese and a basket of baguette was simple yet delicious. Affogato was surely a nice finish to the amazing meal.11


8Never sick of more espresso and French pastry 🙂
15And French wine…19avignonAvignon is on the left bank of the Rhone river. It is filled with ancient streets, mediaeval ramparts and Gothic architecture. We stayed only one night there on the way to Paris.9
20On the way to the Palaise des Papes, I couldn’t just walk pass this creperie. I’ve chosen a savoury option. Family-pizza sized thin crepe smeared with tomato paste and basil – so filling, good enough to share between two unless you are quite hungry. I will definitely try to recreate this at home for sure. 5doorAmazing French food experience continues. One day we had chicken salad and confit duck with crispy potatoes. I loved how it was cooked as it should be. Confit duck dish was super moist inside and crispy outside, cooked for perfection and seasoned just right. French red wine was perfect to match the dish. Spot on!   12

Nice la Belle

17One of the things I really enjoyed most while staying in France was to explore the surrounding area with no strict plans. I had a book and other stuff filled with suggestions and information, though mostly strolled around the city and didn’t mind missing out a “must-see” places.
1Nice was a charming little town that we spent the first couple of days. Nice calm beach was only 5-10 min walk from our accommodation. People were jogging, reading, fishing, taking photos, chill-axing. Little shops, cafes, bakeries and restaurants are abundant on promenade, great for tasting local specialties. Relaxed vibes are definitely there in this town.
2I discovered French love reading paper books. Old book stores are easily found every where, which is nice. It is a shame we all are so getting used to mobile phones, tablets and PCs these days. I’d love to buy a couple of books next time when I can read French a bit better 🙂
3French teacher and other travelers said coffee is not real good in France. Guess what? The first espresso that I tried in Nice was delicious! Right balance of bitter, sour and sweet flavour plus a thick crema is heavenly. You will love if if you are a black coffee drinker.
4I had a few different version of Nicoise salads while staying in Nice, but this one is the best. Fresh tuna diced and marinated in e.v.o.o, sprinkled with beautiful fleur de sel, served with simple green salad and enjoyed with vin blanc. Perfect lunch!
5On the second day, visiting the farmer’s market in Nice was a good fun. It would have been nice to pick up some goodies for my kitchen though I don’t think Australian customs will be happy about that. Sun-dried tomatoes, different variety of olives, mushrooms, salts, fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, flowers, lavender – you name it, they got it! After a quick trip to the markets in the morning, we had to rush back to the train station heading to Avignon.

Photography in Europe

Here are more photos I want to share with you from my Europe trip.
europe6europe9My favorite part of travelling is taking strolls through an old ancient town with cute little lane ways and endless amazing views..sometimes I cannot find any words to describe such beauty. I also love going to churches and cathedrals although I’m not religious. The sound of bells from church draws my attention and I’m already locating myself to where it comes from. The fine art paintings, sculptures and architecture in there are so inspiring and admiring.europe12europe10Isn’t that amazing how the images bring me all the vivid memories as if I’m right there and can feel the warmth from the sunshine, hear street musicians and smell beautiful coffee from local cafes. Travel does that to us. Something magical! europe8IMG_1308Enjoy every moment of your journey through life. Embrace the uncertainty of what tomorrow will bring. Try to squeeze in little holidays in your life. It doesn’t matter how far you go, how long or with whom. Don’t worry about phone calls, emails, Facebook, etc. Enjoy the moments. Stillness. Quietness. Focus on yourself. Make it happen 🙂europe7europe11


Finland878After another overnight cruise from Sweden, the last Nordic country I visited was Finland. Strangely, when I started this Europe trip in Denmark, I had to wear layers of clothes and a thick winter coat. It quickly changed to a nice warm Spring weather in 10 days and I had to wear jeans and t-shirts in Helsinki. I couldn’t resist myself taking a photo of this fashionable guy who was reading a book and enjoying tourists’ attention in the park. I saw so many fashionistas that I couldn’t take my eyes off. City itself was also very vibrant being on Sunday. Families, couples and friends having a relaxing picnic on the water front, lots of sunshine, local markets, yummy smell from the paella and chowder places, window-shopping through boutiques.. I went to some sight-seeing places before I flew back to Korea that evening – Uspenski cathedral, Sibelius monument, Esplanade park and Rock church. So that’s it. Four countries in ten days. Maybe not long enough, but it was good enough for me to feel their culture, understand history, experience local produce, learn to respect nature and most importantly, let my hair down. Love traveling.