Categories
Architecture Europe France Photo Posts (feast your eyes) Photography Travel

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France – a photo post

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Last week I reviewed The Louvre.

This week’s post is about the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The impressive and intimidating Gothic architecture the Notre Dame cathedral is free to visit and see. The cathedral was constructed in the late 1100’s. This is another popular architectural photography subject, and a great destination for traditional architecture lovers.

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I highly recommend coming here for the architecture, it’s a great place to take photographs or to have a sit outside by the cathedral. The cathedral itself is free to enter, however there is a small fee of a few euros to climb the tower. There are long lines and large crowds during peak times.

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The architectural decor is beautifully detailed and the scale is magnificent. Just look at the scale of the doors and the archways, not to mention the windows.

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Look at the detail in the construction works.

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Come in spring and enjoy an ice cream by the nearby park.

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For more photos, see my gallery here.

Getting here:
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

The Notre dame is located along and on the north side of the Seine River.

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Looking south-east down the Seine River with the cathedral on the left hand side:

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You can take the metro here and walk. On a nice day, you can visit the cathedral and stroll through the area, enjoying food at one of the many local shops.

For more photos, click here.

Next week: Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower

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Categories
Architecture Europe France Museum Photography Travel

The Louvre, Paris, France

Last week I reviewed The Palace of Versailles. This week I am reviewing The Louvre.

Apologies in advance for the lack of photos as I was spending the time exploring the huge museum.

If you are planning a trip to Europe, the best way to get around Europe is by rail. It is fast and has more leg room and space to walk around than a plane and can be much cheaper.

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The Louvre is an art museum housed in the French palace and fortress built for Philippe Auguste in 1190. The architecture here is fantastic, and even if you don’t want to pay for entry, you can still have a great time photographing this place, as this is a pretty popular architectural photography subject among photographers, and can be a great destination for architecture and photography lovers.

I don’t have many photos, but I do have some tips.

The museum is large. Really large. Come early in the day or come on multiple days. Admission price is reasonable at €15 per person. All visitors with ID under 26 get free entry after 6pm but you’d have to come many days if you use this method cause the museum is really large. There is free entry on the first Sunday of every month from October to March inclusive, this probably means huge crowds.


The museum is open everyday except Tuesdays, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and May 1, and free entry on Bastille Day (July 14).

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Tip: The Mona Lisa painting is here… but it is tiny. About A4 size. Plus there is an acrylic case/frame around it, and heaps of people crowding around it to take a crooked, glared shot of it. I am telling you now. It is not worth your time to line up with them just so you can get a blurry photo of it. Prepare to be disappointed.

Or, you can use this to your advantage. Literally across the room from it, is the beautiful, beautiful Wedding at Cana painting. It is huge. Really huge. Bigger than your average living room huge. And skillfully painted in beautiful, vibrant colours. While the Mona Lisa attracts everyone else like a magnet, use this to your advantage to get a full shot of the Wedding at Cana.

Getting here:
You can catch the metro and walk here. The metro is not expensive and within walking distance (even for a slow walker like me with low tolerance for walking).

Recommended visiting duration:
Really, I can stay here all day from the time it opens to the time it closes and still not get everything in. But if you only have one day, then do just that: come early and leave late. Bring your own food so you can save time and money and use the rest of the time exploring the museum.

Visit their official site for more info on admissions and hours.

To see more of what I did in France, click here.

Next week: The Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Categories
Architecture Europe France Museum Photo Posts (feast your eyes) Travel

Versailles, Paris, France – A photo post

Last time I reviewed the beautiful La Secour cathedral. This post will be about the Palace of Versailles,the famous French palace and garden of King Louis the 8th, which is now a museum open to the public. Entry price varies according to the package you want (with or without access to the gardens, plus other exhibits). This can get very crowded during peak season, and there are LOTS of visitors here. There are gift shops inside, selling things from pens and post cards, to books on the palace. Audio guides are available. Visitors can see the private chambers of the king and queen, the Hall of Mirrors, the fantastic and beautiful paintings and walk around in the large garden. Coaches bring lots of tourists here,  but you can easily walk here from the closest metro station (which I have since forgotten the name of).


Recommendation: I highly recommend this place, as it is full of real history, beautiful architecture and a great change from commercialised city attractions. However, the palace is quite large and there are many tourists, so either come early in the day as soon as it opens or get a multi-day pass. This place is really worth your time (there’s only so much you can do at the Eiffel Tower).

Lines of tourists waiting outside to get in:DSC00035

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And more inside:DSC00052

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But as you can see, is worth the wait:

Beautiful gold gate with stone wall:DSC00049

The palace inside the gates:DSC00063

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Detail of the roof, walls and balconiesDSC00060

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Inside the palace.

Some places are off limits to visitors, like this place:DSC00071

And this place:

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A miniature model of the entire estate and gardenDSC00078

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Ornate rooms inside the palace and beautiful muralsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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I admire the detail in the architecture, the interior decorations and the beautiful, beautiful paintings by the skilled artists. How hard is it to paint realistic paintings on a flat surface, let alone a curved roof like that! The gold decorations and the crystal chandeliers are a beautiful match and the entire rooms shines when the curtains let in natural light.

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Visit their official website in English here.

To see more of what I did in France, click here.

Next week: The Louvre.

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Categories
Queenstown Travel

Stratosfare Restaurant, Queenstown, New Zealand

Skyline is an activity company in New Zealand that has 2 branches, Rotorua and Queenstown. They offer gondola and luge rides. Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar is run by Skyline in Queenstown.

Anywhere that offers cable car and luge rides have to located high up. Luges are gravity powered go-carts that start at the top of a hill and go down.

The Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar is located at the top of a mountain in the town center of Queenstown. To get to the top, visitors must take the cable car up to the top. IMG_1865.JPGAccess is via the middle of Queenstown, a small yet busy town by the water, with lots of activities on offer and restaurants to dine at. On weekends, there are local markets on the grass by the water. Other times, enjoy a picnic or some time on the grass.IMG_1863.JPG

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Visitors to the Stratosfare restaurant can enjoy some luge rides or the cable car ride, a bike ride or even bungee jumping.

They offer a lunch and a dinner session, with 2 sittings in the dinner session to allow time in between to reset the tables and replenish the food. Lunch lasts an hour 45 minutes from noon to 1:45pm. Dinner lasts longer, starting at 5:30pm until 7:30pm for the early session, and 8pm onwards for the late session.

We booked their buffet dinner package and went for the late sitting. After spending the day paragliding and having lunch at Walter’s Peak, we got here early in the afternoon by car We were advised to get here early as sometimes there is a long line to the cable car. We got there at 5pm. This gave us plenty of time to explore the area after going up on the cable car, take a few photos and a few luge rides.


The location:
Address: Brecon Street, Queenstown, New Zealand (no street number, it is at the end of the street and the cable car can be seen a long way away going up the side of the mountain.)

The restaurant is located at the top of a mountain and as previously mentioned, is accessed by cable car. If getting here by car, there are plenty of cheap parking around the area that is within walking distance. I was actually surprised by how cheap the parking was, only $1-3 max, per hour, some areas with caps of very reasonable amounts, and free on public holidays!

We pre-booked for the dinner, so we walked up to the bottom terminal, checked in and took a cable car up. I can’t give any tips or opinions on fear of heights because I love looking down from a height, and the ride wasn’t scary for me (although it was for others in my car when it shook).IMG_20160123_165239

Review:
Due to the location of the restaurant, there is no mobile reception, but there is free wifi. There are shops and access to outside to see the luge rides or the surrounding scenery.

The lifts that take you to the top of the mountain to go-cart down: (following 2 photos are not by me (the author).IMG_20160123_173626

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One can view bungee jumping from the waiting area.

 

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Closer to the dining time, check-in will open. You will get a portable pager to let you know when it is time to enter.

Each group gets a staff member to show them in to the dining area and briefly around, where each type of food is.

Because of the location, a window seat is probably best, as it has the best views. However, the seats are tiered so everyone gets a view. You can reserve a window seat when you book but if you get there early like we did (we got there so early, we were first in line when the 2nd dinner session started, hence the photos with no people in it), you can pick a window seat.

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I have to say, they did a really good job resetting the venue, it looks totally clean and tidy, as if we were the first people to eat of the day.

We took the late setting which meant we were able to see both the day time views and the night/sunset views.

The food:
The buffet was delicious and there was a very big variety. There was sushi, Asian soups and noodles/croutons (help yourself), hot meats, cold meats, smoked chicken which I really liked, lots of seafood, New Zealand cheese, and of course, desserts! Cakes, jellies, nuts, lava cake, dried fruits, candied fruits, fresh fruit salad and single serve ice cream with real vanilla in it. I absolutely loved it!

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The following photos are not by me (the author) but taken at the same table by my sister. Window seatIMG_20160123_182020

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Service:
Staff was very nice and efficient, not only in the restaurant, but outside too. As there was no cell reception, we asked if we could use their landline phone for an emergency call, and after checking with management, they let us make the call, provided it was a short one, (which it was).

What I was a little surprised at was that at almost every place we visited, even a small salmon farm/shop, there was Chinese staff who spoke Mandarin, and this place was no exception.

Cost:
At $82 per adult and $40 NZD per child, with the cable car ride included, I say this was a much better value activity compared to the BBQ Lunch at Walter’s Peak, for the way we experienced it. Parking cost less than $10.

Verdict:
I loved the experience here, and would gladly do it again. I highly recommend this if you enjoy good food holidays.

Gift shop is available, and there is a Kiwi sanctuary at the bottom cable car terminal.

Visit their official website here.

Read my TripAdvisor Review here.

Coming soon: My review of the next night’s accommodation: Top 1 Holiday Park in Omarama. Subscribe so you get notified!

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©All rights reserved for all content and photographs, usage on 3rd party sites are forbidden without permission. Photos are taken by author unless otherwise stated.