Friday, March 11, 2011

Kensington Palace with the kids

Let me just say I am a total fan of the Royal family and am looking forward to watching the William & Kate wedding on 29 April 2011. The last Royal wedding I watched on television was the Andrew & Sarah wedding and we all know how that marriage turned out. But I have faith that William and Kate will work on having a successful marriage together.

I am extremely devastated that I cannot be in London for the wedding to see all the preparations and be part of the very crowded street for the procession. The wedding will be held in Westminster Abbey where Prince Charles and Diana were married.

London is one of the cities I visited in 2010, unfortunately in the short time I was there with my family we were unable to visit Westminster Abbey. It will be one of my first ports of call when I visit London again. I must add that when I arrived in London city I fell in love with all of the architecture, fashion, large parks and even the traffic and crowds.

I spent a lot of time in the parks with my husband and sons climbing trees and chasing squirrels. Our favorite park was Kensington Park with the playground and Princess Diana Memorial. We spent several hours at the playground with the kids, it has so many activities for children of all ages. There is a large ship with a mast to climb, Indian tepees to hide in and musical toys to play with. We used the playground as a “bribe” at the end of a sight seeing day. It worked well especially when I wanted to visit Harrods and Kensington Palace.

We were very lucky that while we were in London, Kensington Palace had a fantastic exhibition that the kids could participate in. Now I must admit is was more suited to little girls but my sons did have fun looking for clues and working out which princess had which bedroom. My boys and I also learned a lot about the lives of the royal children. There was a display of the prince’s toy soldiers that the kids could actually play with.

Kensington Palace has been home to many Royal family members including Princess Victoria. The Palace in undergoing a transformation this year and hopefully be finished in 2012. The Palace gardens are being cleaned up and replanted (this was happening while we visited in Oct 2010). With the help of donations the Palace will be cleaned and refurbished too.

A family ticket for Kensington Palace cost £34.00 (2010) AUD$55.00

How to find Kensington Park and Palace:
Get the tube to Kensington South station and simply follow the signs to Kensington Palace, the Palace is in the park, there are many signs for the playground and the memorial.

London Tube prices:

Adult fares for city: £4
Children up to 11years: Free with an adult.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Have you been to Paris?

I have been sharing all the information I know on Paris and the places that I visited and loved. 

I would love to know you favourite Paris experiences. 

Please leave a comment or send a pic and a short comment to

For example one of my favourites:

Sacre Coeur
I visited Sacre Coeur 3 or 4 times in the 7 days I visited Paris. I loved the architecture and view from the street over the Paris skyline.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Passes to use in Paris...easy...

A great way to get around and do sight seeing in Paris is to order a Paris Visite Metro Pass from . When you order the pass you can have it delivered to your home address if you are not leaving for a while or better yet have it delivered to your hotel reception, then you can just pick it up when you arrive.

• La Conciergerie is an official dealer: the only place online with 14 different ready to use passes available for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days, 3 or 6 zones, adult and child.

• Delivery is available to your hotel in Paris or to your home worldwide. We do not deliver to rented apartments or hostels.

• Rate is per pass including taxes and services, there are no hidden costs!.

• Including Free Paris street/metro/bus map.

• Free 30 Days access to online French lessons

Another fantastic pass (one of the best I think) if you want to visit museums/galleries/churches/versailles is the Paris ComboPass also available from

Paris ComboPass® Premium provides 2- to 6-day pass packages that include:

•FREE unlimited use of all the public transport services inside Paris and the inner suburbs (within 3 zones, not valid for airports transfers)

•FREE access and cut the lines to more than 60 museums and monuments including Louvre, Orsay, Versailles Castle, Notre-Dame Towers, Sainte-Chapelle... for 2, 4 or 6 days (complete list in 'Additional Information' tab below)


Sainte Chapelle

FREE Seine River cruise tour

•Special discounts and offers for additional Paris attractions

Free Paris street/metro/bus map

•Free 30 days access to online French lessons

•Delivery is available to your hotel in Paris or to your home worldwide. We do not deliver to rented apartments or hostels.

•Rate is per pass including taxes and services

Are you staying only 2 days in Paris? Consider Paris ComboPass® Lite, available in 1- or 2-day versions.

With the Paris ComboPass Premium you can enter Versailles Palace, you will however have to buy a return train ticket from a station on the RER-C line (Yellow on the metro map) ask for return ticket for Chateau Versailles (Shatow Ver Sigh).

Another great addition to the ComboPass is the River Cruise.
I recommend heading to the and checking out all of the great deals and choosing the one that suits you best.
Happy travelling :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mastering the Metro

We all know that when you arrive in a new city, especially one where you don't speak the language, you forget about the public transport and head straight to the taxi rank. I think this is a good idea when you are getting from the airport to your hotel, but using taxi's all of the time can get very costly.

So to start off, find out where the nearest Metro station is to your hotel/accomodation. Write the name of it down on something that you carry with you everywhere and walk to the station to familiarise the route to and from your accomodation. The reason I say to write the name of the Metro station down is that if you can't pronounce it correctly when buying tickets you can show it to the ticket sales (it is easier than getting frustrated trying to pronounce names like Barbes Rochechouart).

Paris Metropolitan Map

Ok, let's just say you are staying in Arrondissement 9 near the Moulin Rouge. Your Metro station would be Blanche on the Dark blue line no. 2. You will find signs near the Metro that have an M in a circle and a number in a coloured circle. So for line no. 2 you will see a dark blue circle with a 2 in the middle this means that on the map you will see the dark blue line with a 2 at either end this is a far as the no.2 train will take you.

For instance if you want to go from Blanche to the Arc di Triomphe you would take line 2 to Charles de Gaulle Etoile (very easy). Now after visiting the Arc di Triomphe you might want to go and see the Eiffel Tower. Charles de Gaulle Etoile station has 4 lines go through it, this may be a little daunting, but never fear look at your Metro map and find the line for the Eiffel Tower (it is on the yellow C line with a correspondence line from Bir-Hakeim station on Aqua line 6). From Charles de Gaulle Etoile find the Aqua line 6 (you are lucky it starts from this station) follow the signs to the platform, hop on and get off in 5 stops at Bir-Hakeim, when there look for the signs to Eiffel Tower(Tour Eiffel or Champs de Mars station) hop on the train or follow the crowds from Bir-Hakeim for a 5-10minute walk to the Eiffel Tower (just look for it and follow your nose, you can't miss it).

Now you won't always be lucky to get on the train from its first or last stop you will need to know which platform you need to be on to go east or west or north or south. Don't worry there are signs with all of the stations listed that the train stops at. So look for the line you want and check for the station then you will know which platform is the right one.

What if you want to visit Disneyland for the day? You need to find your way to Nation station where the above ground train takes you to Marne-la-Vallee station for Disneyland. You are in luck Nation in on line 2 (only 1 train from Blanche) and Nation is the end of the line. At Nation you will need to purchase the train ticket for Disneyland if you haven't already got it (ask for a return ticket). Now this is where I made a mistake and hopped on the wrong train, but if you find your way to the correct platform (the easy part) you need to then watch the lit up sign on the platform, it shows the station the train is going to when it lights up that is the train to hop on so watch for Marne-la-Vallee to light up and you are set. Get off at the last stop and follow the crowds to the Disneyland gates.

I hope I have helped you to have the courage to use the Metro in Paris, it makes sightseeing alot easier and you save on taxi rides.

If you would like to buy a Metro Pass to save time purchasing single tickets head to Paris Metro Pass.

Friday, March 4, 2011

FREE travel advise


I would love to build up a portfolio as a travel adviser, so I am offering FREE travel advise.

If you are planning an international trip and would like any advise on budget, accomodation, transport, what to visit etc...

Please send me an email with your questions or leave a comment here so others who may have the same questions and see my comments.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Markets in Paris you must visit...

I have been looking into the street markets in Paris for food and antiques. These are just a few that I would love to share with you.

Rue Mouffetard food markets
5th arrondissement, Rue Mouffetard
Metro: Cardinal-Lemoine or Place Monge
La Mouffe(local name)is on Rue Mouffetard and runs from the Place de la Contrescarpe, just behind the Panthéon, down to St. Médard Square. It is open everyday except Monday, the best time to visit is in the morning as some stalls close in the afternoon. There are restaurants and cafes lining the street, they are great places to sit and enjoy a meal or coffee and soak up the market atmosphere.
Rue Montorqueil food markets

Rue Montorgueil
1st Arrondisement
Metro: Les Halles
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-6pm and Sunday morning

This is one of the more eclectic markets where you will find very good bakeries and patisseries.

Flea Market

Les Puces de Saint-Ouenbut known to everyone as Les Puces (The Fleas). It covers seven hectares and is the largest antique market in the world, receiving between 120,000 to 180,000 visitors each weekend.

Every Saturday from 9h - 18h
Every Sunday from 10h to 18h
Every Monday from de 11h to 5h (please note that many stalls close around lunch time)

How to get there:

Take the metro to Porte de Clignancourt on Line 4. Follow the crowds toward the concrete overpass. On the left is the large flea market with clothing, African objects and household goods.

Past the concrete overpass you will find Rue des Rosiers where all the antique and vintage markets start. I went to this one and found it amazingly filled with stalls full of vintage beauty. If you are in the market to buy furniture to ship home you will find no better place to do it.

As this area is one of the poorer areas in Paris and get crowded, you want to keep your bag and wallet in a safe place, but don't let that deter you from visiting. I walked around these markets on my own and felt quite safe.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011