Friday, December 30, 2016

Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 10): Onwards to Strasbourg

We took a train from Colmar to Strasbourg on Christmas day (long story as to why we were travelling on Christmas day, hmmm); fortunately the ride was a short and easy one. Once we got to Strasbourg, we managed to lug our stuff from the station all the way to the hotel on foot.

Finding something to eat after that, however, wasn't that easy though (another long story there...)


Gare de Strasbourg



We walked around the relatively quiet town (it was Christmas day, after all!), and to be honest it was a bit of a bummer that the Christmas markets were already closed for the season. The irony of it all... this entire trip was premised on the idea of seeing the Christmas markets in Strasbourg. So all I can say is- DUH!



Checking out some cute window displays

Thankfully we managed to find a restaurant where we could have a nice Christmas dinner- Caveau Gurtlerhoft; where the food was really yummy!


Lovely plates


Yummy desserts, with the Kugelhopf in the forefront of the photo

Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 9): Christmas Eve in Colmar

We had a pretty relaxing Christmas Eve, wandering around the town again and checking out the Christmas markets. Check out the colourful photos below!





Koifhus- Old Customs House



We had a simple Christmas Eve dinner in the apartment- nice and cosy, as Christmas should be.


Merry Christmas!

Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 8): Charming Colmar

Colmar is such a pretty and quaint little town! No wonder it draws so many visitors- even locals. We had a lovely time walking around and exploring the charming little streets. Colmar really allows for some beautiful photos; coupled with the many Christmas markets dotted around the town, and Christmas decorations everywhere, it had a really different vibe compared to a big city like Paris.




Back on the Turenne Bridge, again


Isn't this pretty?


The famous Maison Pfister

We also spent some time visiting the Unterlinden Museum, home to the famous Isenheim Altarpiece, seen below.



Christmas markets


Isn't this a cute 'Christmas tree'?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 7): Off to Colmar

The next day saw us saying goodbye to Paris and hello to Colmar. Before we left, I took the kids for a quick walk by the river (the hubby was lying in bed as he felt unwell), and we also took a quick walk to see the famous Aurouze pest control shop featured in the movie Ratatouille.


Conciergerie


Dead rats hanging in the window- they have been there since 1925!


Yummy!

We took a train to Colmar from Gare de L'est and arrived when it was dark and drizzling. We had a bit of trouble getting a taxi to our apartment so that was a tad stressful. Our apartment in Colmar was really lovely though, and much more spacious compared to the one we stayed at in Paris. There was even a jacuzzi!


We met up with my parents and my sister and her family- and then headed out to dinner. We got a fright when my mum walked right into a glass door (!!) and fell backwards onto the pavement. Thankfully she was not seriously injured- even though she fell like a toy soldier and hit the back of her head. Goodness gracious.



Such a quaint and pretty town- check out the beautiful views below, taken from the Rue de Turenne bridge.



Can't wait to explore Colmar tomorrow!

Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 6): Catacombs of Paris, Musée d'Orsay & Seine Cruise

We started the day with a visit to the Catacombs- underground ossuaries which hold the remains of more than 6 million people- created as part of the effort to eliminate the city's overflowing cemeteries. It was pretty interesting, and not as macabre as it sounds. The kids seemed ok and did not freak out or anything.... Hehe.

Having audio guides helped, otherwise it would have been quite boring.





Fancy this Christmas tree?

We then made our way to the famous Musée d'Orsay to check out the beautiful building and of course, the famous works of art inside. Housed in a former railway station, it certainly stands out as a museum- as you can see from the photos below.




Such a lovely building!

We capped the evening with a Seine cruise. It was quite cold so we could not sit out on the deck. Nevertheless, it was still lovely to see all the sights, and we got a few decent photos. Paris is such a romantic city!




Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 5): Eiffel Tower

Our little girl was running a high fever the next day (poor thing), and so we had a late start to the day. Fortunately she was feeling better in the afternoon, so we managed to go up the Eiffel Tower.


Walking past the Palais de Tokyo - a building dedicated to modern and contemporary art


Isn't she beautiful?

We timed our visit to catch both day and night, and it was absolutely worth it. It was a beautiful clear day as well, so we were very blessed. We could see for miles, and could spot many of Paris' iconic landmarks. We spent a lot more time on the tower than we expected to, and I think we saw the blinking lights at least 3 times. We had loads of fun indeed!


Fabulous France Dec 2016 (Day 4): Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Musée de l'Orangerie, Christmas market along Champs-Élysées & Arc de Triomphe

Day 4 was a super packed day for us. We started off with Notre Dame- but we made the mistake of taking too long to see the interior, and forgot to start queuing outside to climb the tower! Arrrgh. So we had to skip that, as the queue was too long and it was too cold to be standing in line for such a long time. Super disappointed. To this day the boy still talks about missing the climb to see the gargoyles! :(



Our next stop was another church- Sainte-Chappelle, on the Île de la Cité. My son said, "Another church??" Welcome to Europe, my child. Haha! Anyway, this church was really unique- with lower and upper levels- and fantastic stained glass windows on the upper level. We had fun trying to spot scenes and characters on the stained glass windows- and yes, it is harder than it sounds!


We then made our way to Musée de l'Orangerie, catching a bus to Place de la Concorde and walking from there. I remember the short walk from the square to the museum being such a fun one- some of our best family photos on the trip were taken there. We were just goofing around with the selfie stick and enjoying the wide, open space.



We then explored the Christmas market along Champs-Élysées, and tried some mulled wine and churros. Yummy!




Our last destination - Arc de Triomphe, the famous landmark honouring those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. We made it to the top- which wasn't exactly easy! So glad that I finally got to do this.

What a super long day!



View of the Eiffel Tower from the top of Arc de Triomphe 
(super zoomed in, of course!)