Sidi Bou Saïd

De loin le quartier le plus touristique mais aussi le plus agréable à visiter Sidi Bou Saïd est une étape incontournable pour la capitale tunisienne. À seulement une vingtaine de minutes et quelques dinars dépensés en taxi vous voici plongé entre l’architecture des Cyclades grecques et de l’Andalousie espagnole. Véritable balcon sur la mer, les balades sont nombreuses entre les rues blanches et bleues et les portes de pierre sculptées.

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Lieu de haute inspiration pour nombreux artistes, Sidi Bou Saïd fut autrefois un lieu de spiritualité et de pèlerinage interdit aux roumis. Aujourd’hui, les touristes peuvent montez jusqu’au cimetière pour admirer la vue panoramique.

 

Petit tips : Pour boire un verre avec la plus belle vue de Tunis, c’est comme dans la chanson de Patrick Bruel, rendez-vous au café des délices (Jus de fraise délicieux).

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ÉTAPE 10 : Grand Canyon et ville fantôme

Que serait un voyage sur la côte Ouest des États-Unis sans la visite du fameux Grand Canyon ?

Avant d’arriver à ce lieu classé au patrimoine mondial de l’humanité et de l’UNESCO, nous avons traversé des “villes fantômes”. Principalement en Arizona ou en Californie, ces villes désertées sont maintenant une attraction pour les touristes avides d’histoire. Parmi ces lieux quasi désert, certaines villes sont complètements abandonnées tandis que d’autres survivent grâce au tourisme.

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Pour notre part, nous sommes allés à “Calico”, une “ghost city” californienne très cliché, où l’on peut récolter son or (vestige des nombreuses mines de l’époque), se balader entre les anciennes échoppes, les anciennes écoles… À l’abandon au milieu du désert, nous nous sommes retrouvés en pleine scène de Western avec des portes battantes pour rentrer dans les vieux saloons. La seule contrainte pour trouver ces villes fantômes est de les trouver, ne comptez pas sur votre GPS qui sera aussi perdu que vous !

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Nous nous sommes donc ensuite dirigés vers le Grand Canyon constitué de nombreuses gorges creusés par le Colorado. Le Grand Canyon, qui aurait commencé à être creusé il y a 65 millions d’années de cela, accueille aujourd’hui plusieurs de millions de touristes par an. Certes le paysage y est splendide et spectaculaire (la faune y est aussi étrangement dense) cependant le nombre de touristes et l’imaginaire inscrit en nous à propos de ce lieu si connu nous a un peu déçu. Souvent moins populaires, d’autres canyons de la région n’ont rien à envier à leur grand frère. Le Grand Canyon : une étape incontournable dans ce genre de voyage mais qui ne mérite pas de s’y attarder trop longtemps.

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C’en était fini des paysages somptueux de la côte américaine, il était temps pour nous de rentrer en ville dans notre prochaine destination : ÉTAPE 11 : Los Angeles

Il va de soi que nous ne pouvions pas ne pas emprunter la plus que connue route 66 et s’arrêter dans des stations services remplis de motards !

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ÉTAPE 8 : Entre Utah et Arizona

Coincé entre l’Utah et l’Arizona se faufile le Colorado qui se jette ensuite dans le lac Powell. Créé artificiellement par le barrage de Glen Canyon ce lac est aujourd’hui devenu une zone de vacances pour les américains et touristes étrangers. Ce point d’eau qui s’étend sur 300 km reste très attractif de par ses nombreuses activités nautiques mais également de par ses points de vues admirables. On peut alors observer le lac sous ses nombreuses facettes (notamment le très connu Horseshoe bend, photo à la Une).

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Le lac, propice à la baignade, permet un moment de détente presque unique et solitaire. Il vous suffit pour cela de choisir les spots moins touristiques mais qui permettent de se baigner en toute quiétude dans une eau très agréable (du fait de sa stagnation).

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Lorsque vous êtes de passage au Lac Powell, une des nombreuses activités touristiques sera de visiter l’Antelope Canyon. Situé au nord de l’Arizona et dans la réserve de nation Navajo, ce Canyon est divisé en deux gorges : l’Upper Antelope Canyon et le Lower Antelope Canyon. Après avoir opté pour la deuxième option, plus facile d’accès, nous sommes rentrés dans les brèches du Canyon afin de le visiter par le dessous.

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C’est en effet, la particularité de la visite de ce Canyon qui le rend aussi populaire. Peut-être un peu trop à mon goût. Même si l’on s’accordera sur la beauté des images du Canyon, il s’agit en réalité d’une véritable usine à touristes piétinant les uns derrières les autres pour effectuer la visite guidée obligatoire. C’est d’ailleurs ces mêmes touristes qui, à la queue leu leu, essayent d’avoir une photo sans personne (dont je faisais évidemment partie).

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C’est donc avec un sentiment d’un trop de touristes que nous sommes repartis une dernière fois dans l’Utah pour notre prochaine destination : ÉTAPE 9 : Monument Valley

Getting into summer: the floral exhibition of Chantilly

Last week, I had some invitations to go into the park of the castle of Chantilly to see the floral exhibition that was taking place. In this rustic atmosphere, walking by the beautiful castle, you enter into the marvelous area of flowers (and its bees). From the peony to the rose you can really find any flower you want! Yes, this is an exhibition of flowers, but you can actually buy them which is the whole purpose of this place.

Because I’m not a big fan of buying flowers, by this sunny day I just decided to take some fresh air and take a walk in this park. Flowers aren’t everything you can find or buy, there is all the stuff you need for your garden like benches, sofas… From the most traditional atmosphere of plants/gardens to the Japanese ones, you’ll find your heart’s desire. This giant flower market is particularly enjoyable, on a lovely afternoon, because of the frame it’s taking place in. You are in the park of the beautiful castle of Chantilly, surrounded by its garden, water, sheep… You can only like this place!

Speaking of the castle, by buying the ticket to go to the floral exhibition you can visit the castle and its stables. Because I’m from this area, I’ve already seen the castle but never talk about it. So, now I think is the right timing. The castle of Chantilly is pretty nice, well maintained but I will not like is far from being the best in France. At some point into the castle you can find rooms looking like the castle of Versailles because of the golden walls. This is the rooms that I preferred, reminding me my history classes. Moreover, the library is impressive as a lover of books this room is nice to see. The rest of the Castle is made of a museum with a lot of paintings that you can admire. I know for facts that there are great paintings exposed, but because I don’t like that much this kind of art I cannot say more. The beauty of the castle, in my opinion, is its outside appearance. I like the fact that the castle is surrounded by water and made with an incredible architecture.

Just beside the castle, its stables are amazing. Chantilly is a city well known for its horse races, and this is why we call it the city of horses. However, the stables are reserved for dressage horses. In these stables, you’ll find the horses (obviously), the museum of the horse and the carousel where horses are performing. This day, we could watch a presentation made by the stables to explain how horses are functioning, the way they treat them and how they train them. Also, they are showing us some tricks but if you want to see a whole performance with music, lights and professionals you can go see the performances that are going on. I’ve actually seen few since I live nearby and wrote a post about one of them: Horse performance in a show!

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At the end of the day, this small package of things to do in the city of Chantilly is taking you back to an old time where can project yourself decades ago. A throw back in history that is available all year long (except for the floral exhibition open few times a year).

 

Useful information:

Paris>Chantilly:  25 minutes by train

Tickets for the floral exhibition+ castle+ stables : 20 euros for 1 adult, 12 euros for children

More info on : http://www.domainedechantilly.com/fr/journees-plantes/

STOP 3: Lakes discovered along the road trip

So here I am again, talking about my little adventures around my road trip in the US. So, yes I have to agree I have been gone for a while now. Indeed, I couldn’t write anything about my travels or even the things that I discovered in my own country because of my studies. I had to focus on my work to thus come back even stronger on this blog. This is why now I want to come back to my “serie” that I started few months ago to talk about this famous road trip on the West coast of the US that my family and I did.

Enough talking about my life! Let’s move on. So, after my Stop 2 at Yosemite  we took the road to another destination (that you’ll find out soon). After seeing the greenery of the park of Yosemite, lakes began to appear at the borders of the road. This is why we stopped to admire the first one called Mono Lake. The particularity of this lake is that it’s super salty and this is why within the years, the size of the lake is decreasing a lot (and also because of the pumping from the city of Los Angeles). Because of its high rate of salt, the ecosystem around this lake is really dense. There are a lot of species of fishes and also a lot of different birds. Even if the water looks amazing you don’t really want to go swim in it because of the alkali flies (which are little flies) and algae. The particularity of this lake is its calcareous concretions made up all around the lake. You can also take a walk around this weird lake. I would say that this lake is not a must to see, but if you’re traveling nearby it’s a great spot to stop by.

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The second lake we saw was the Mammoth lake. Mammoth lake is more like an area where you can ski in the winter and in the summer chill around the multiples lakes. This is the kind of place you go on summer to camp, fish and spend relaxing holidays. We just spent one night at this place, so we only saw few lakes and didn’t explore that much. Even if the experience was short, it was worthy and this is the kind of place you want to go to recharge.

 

After these few stops of lakes we ended up to our next destination: STEP 4: DEATH VALLEY

 

 

Prague: into a magical weekend

Located in Czech republic, Prague is said as one of the most beautiful city in Europe. I had the chance to spend few days there with my best friend. She’s actually living there because of her ERASMUS exchange. In that sense, she showed me the best parts of the city!

So let’s go into the city of Prague now: this beautiful city with a unique architecture, colors, a soul. The first thing I did in Prague was just walking around in the city center. You’ll love the colors of the buildings, the architecture of them but also the general atmosphere which reminded me Christmas. Indeed, it smells hot wine, sweet smells and the cold is helping to this. After walking around in the city center we eventually went at the old town square which is basically the main place of the city. There you’ll find the astronomic clock, street sellers, street performers… A real beautiful place but also touristic. Just next to this place you can enter freely into the St Nicolas cathedral, a beautiful mix of luxury with its huge chandelier and church paintings. A really quick detour to not miss if you’re at the” old town square”.

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The next historical area of Prague is the Jewish area where you can find the old synagogue which gathers the names of all Czech Jewish on the walls. Some people will say that it’s a real emotional place especially with the exposition  of Jewish kid’s drawing. In the backyard of the synagogue, you’ll find the Jewish cemetery which is also poignant. If you are visiting it by a foggy day it can be really scary. From this place, by walking 20 minutes, you can go to the Jerusalem Synagogue (which looks a bit like a mosque) and is very colorful. The price is far more advantageous than the other synagogue and the inside is just amazingly beautiful. There is also inside some historical explanations and a short movie. Overall, the Jewish area is a historical area that if you have time and you want to, you can visit.But if you don’t really have time you can miss this part of the city in order to see some other marvelous things.

 

You have enough of visiting and you want to have a good view of Prague? To do so, just go at the top of the Petrin hill. To go there you can either take the cable car or hike for about 20 minutes and honestly the hike is super easy. To have a good view of Prague, obviously it’s better to do it during a sunny day or at least not during a cloudy one or you’ll miss the show. When I got there, the fall season was beginning and it gave to this beautiful city an even more stunning looking. Arrived at the top, we went in the Petrin tower (which looks like a small Eiffel tower) to see all of the city of Prague. I’ll let you admire by yourself with the pictures.

The last thing to see in Prague is the castle. This is the most touristic thing to do in Prague so take your time to do the queue. Arrived inside, my friend and I, visited the main cathedral which is huge, colorful and really beautiful. Except of that, you can walk around the “castle” part (but there is no castle) and visit small houses, museums… I cannot say that this place is not beautiful but I was expecting so much about it that I was quite disappointed at the end of the day. Overall it’s still an amazing place to discover.

So here are the main things that I visited and liked during my trip in Prague. Of course, there are a lot more to see such as the Lenon wall, symbol of peace and freedom of the students of Prague (and the Canals around the area) or the St Charles Bridge one of the most popular one with its multiple artists. We also had a surprise by visiting the Senate of Prague which was open because of public holidays!

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To discover more about Prague, its food, its night life and tips go check my other article about it : SOON AVAILABLE

 

 

 

STOP 1: San Francisco

Here I am! Back with some of my new adventures. I’ve been doing a road trip around the West Coast of the US with my family. I saw so many beautiful landscapes, had so much fun so I decided to share it through my blog (again).

After a (very) long trip, we arrived in the Japan Town of San Francisco, where we stayed. San Francisco offered to us in three days a really great overview of what we expected. Downtown (called Union Square) was made of big buildings, the American flag waving in the sky, the stairs on the walls of buildings, the lighting, the fireman’s cars, the tramway crossing the street, the up and down streets… Basically, an animated city.

What I DIDN’T LIKE in San Francisco? I’m going to start by what I’ve been frustrated when I was in San Francisco. The first thing is the famous tramway. To take it you have to make hours of queue, which is not worth it. The second point when I was frustrated (but it was our fault) is that we missed the view of the Coit tower. It was actually closed so we couldn’t see SF from above (end at 5:30 pm). Finally, in SF you have drugged people and homeless people. It’s not something that is bad, it’s life but I just wanted to tell that the number is way more important than in France for example, so it’s kind of shocking.

What I LOVED in San Francisco? The main atmosphere given by SF is mainly due to its culture. You can see that it’s a city with history, full of art, music… At almost every corner streets you can see street art, but not like in the subway in Paris. It’s a real art ! It’s mostly represented in the area of Haight-Ashbury, which is the hippie corner. Besides, the street art there is guitar shops, book shop, bio shop, hippie shop, old costumes shop, every kind of shop.

Near this beautiful place, the other thing to see are the painted ladies which are _dsc8018beautiful,big and colorful houses. The typical architecture, called Victorian style, is a characteristic of San Francisco. To end this day, we decided to rent a bicycle in the Golden Gate park, enjoying the nature to go to the beach (which was extremely cold).

The next day, we explored more San Francisco by seeing the Lombard street which is the most crooked street in the world. It was cool to see it once in our life, but not as spectacular as we imagined. (Plus there is a lot of tourists). We continued our trip in SF with Chinatown that I particularly liked (not like my parents). I found the Chinese lanterns above the streets really pretty and the Chinese street art gave an amazing atmosphere to the place. We were not courageous enough to try one of the many restaurants there but we did buy some useless stuff.

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Then we did THE thing to do in San Francisco: go on the Golden bridge. I was so excited to see it for real during a bus tour. Because SF is most of the time in the fog we were lucky enough to see the_dsc8220 entire  bridge! If you go on the bridge you should know that it’s extremely windy and cold. We enjoyed the rest of our day on the Pier 39, the most famous of SF, eating strawberry dipped in chocolate and tacos, watching the sea lions and enjoying the place.

For our last day in the foggy city of San Francisco, we decided to do something more cultural so we went on Alcatraz island where one of the most famous prisons was. I wasn’t expected a lot from this visit (that you have to book a long time before) but I was really surprised. Being in a prison for real is a particular feeling that it’s weird but an incredible experience. The thing that did make the visit really good was the free audio guide. The story of Alcatraz was explained by ex-prisoners and ex-prison guards. They told us the story of Alcatraz through their experience. A more personal approach which gave a unique and timeless moment.

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After the visit of the prison, we took the car and drove to go to our next destination: STOP 2: Yosemite

Don’t hesitate to follow me to know what’s going to be the next step of our road trip!