Earlier this week I spent 2 nights in the beautiful, English countryside. The Cotswolds is notoriously famous for being one of the most ‘quintessentially English’ and unspoiled areas in England. The area is known for its river valleys, beautiful brickwork and sleepy towns.
Whilst being home over Christmas, I had the opportunity to try new food places/restaurants in Dublin. Here are my top picks I would recommend:
I recently visited the amazing city of Hong Kong. The perfect balance of East meets West, this city has both the skyscrapers of a modern city, as well as the history and culture of a traditional Asian country.
How to get there:
When you are returning to the airport to go back home, you can actually check in your luggage at Kowloon train station, meaning you are luggage free, before you even get to the airport. Tickets can be pre-bought online, or at the station itself.
I have had the pleasure of being invited to the beautiful French town of Villefranche for the past two years, by one of my oldest friends. About 10-15 minutes outside of Nice, this town allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of Nice whilst boasting the most incredible views of the French Riviera.
One of the most amazing things about the South of France is how easily accessible each of the towns are. From Villefranche you can get trains/buses to Monaco, Nice, Eze, Saint Tropez, Cannes, Antilles and Italy.
How to get there?
The easiest airport to get to Villefranche from is Nice airport. From there, you can get an Uber which takes about 20 minutes, and is about 22/23 euro in price. The cheaper option is to get the bus. During the day the 98 leaves directly from the airport and brings you straight into Nice. From Nice, you can get either the 100/81 bus to Villefranche. The cost for the first bus is 6 euro and the second bus to Villefrance is only 1.50 euro. If you are flying into Nice later in the evening, there is a late night bus you can get straight from the airport (100,) however this service only runs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There is an information point at the airport should you have any further questions when you arrive.
Restaurants I would recommend:
Bistrot du Creux
For ice cream: Soléa Gelateria Di Corsica
For coffee: There is a beautiful coastal walk to Beaulieu (French town next to Villefranche.) Le Gran Caffe is a great spot for a morning coffee, if you fancy spending the morning outside Villefranche.
Italy: Ospedaletti is easily accessible from Villefranche and has a beautiful, cycle track, converted from a railway line. To get there, take the train to Ventimiglia from Villefranche, followed by the Sanremo (Line 2) bus to Ospedaletti. The track is flat and very easy to cycle on. Afterwards, I would definitely recommend stopping off for pizza at Baixarico on the seafront.
France: A lot of other French towns across the South of France are easily accessible via train or bus from Villefranche, and are perfect for day trips. You can use trainline.eu for timetables and bookings.
With Nice being only 10-12 minutes away, we visited a few nice restaurants in both the new and old towns. The bestofniceblog.com is a definite go-to for restaurants and things to do, so definitely check that out for more information. The main shopping street is Jean Médecin and has a number of high street stores including Galleries Lafayette, Zara, Zara Home, H&M, Mango etc.
Restaurants I would recommend in Nice:
Lac (gorgeous Chocolate shop)
For ice cream I would recommend Fenochio in the Old Town
I recently spent a sunny bank holiday Sunday down in the seaside town of Brighton. We decided to get the train down from Clapham Junction as trains are very frequent and it only takes just over an hour door to door. I used trainline.com and would recommend booking as far in advance as you can to get the best deals. When you arrive at the station, the pier is only a 10-12 minute walk straight down the main road.
Lucky Beach Cafe
As I had never been to Brighton before, I was unsure where to go to for breakfast/brunch. I started doing some research and came across the Lucky Beach Café. I would recommend if you are ever looking for a restaurant to look it up on Instagram, as it gives you photos from real people.
Luckily, the day before I went to Brighton I happened to get some recommendations for good vintage shops in Brighton. The North Lanes are the main streets for vintage shopping. The main stores I would recommend are To Be Worn Again, Independent Rag and Dirty Harry and all are significantly cheaper than London vintage shops.
Other shops I went to included JuJu Brighton which has great stuff (not vintage) and Kerrie Berrie Beads & Jewellery. Kerrie Berrie is the cutest little shop where you can create your own pieces of jewellery. There are lots of beautiful options and the jewellery and pieces are really affordable.
Food for Friends
This restaurant was another recommendation from a work colleague. Food for Friends is a well known, award-winnign vegetarian restaurant in Brighton that is not to be missed. You can book a table in advance and there is the option to sit inside or outside.
Some other recommendations that I got that for Brighton included The White Rabbit which is a classic pub where all the locals hang out. There is also The Black Lion which has a nice beer garden and Pike & Pine on St James Street.
Beautiful, magical Paris! I just adore this city. When I was 19 I spent a summer working here working as an intern, and as of 2018 I felt it was time to go back. This wonderful city has so much to offer, from sight – seeing to great food and wine. Here are all my tips…
We took the Eurostar to Paris from London. The trip is so effortless and easy and makes for a very pleasant journey. Kings Cross/St. Pancreas is accessible by tube, and the train arrives into Gare du Nord in Paris. This station also has Le Metro meaning you can hop straight onto public transport when you arrive. We booked our Eurostar tickets about 2-3 months in advance so they were only about £80 return. The journey takes about 2 hours. I would recommend arriving for your journey an hour in advance.
Where we stayed:
Because there were 5 of us, we decided to take an Airbnb for our stay in Paris. We chose the most stunning apartment located near the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, no destination was more than 30 minutes away. Andrew (the owner) was not only super friendly but also very helpful and accommodating when it came to restaurant bookings and places to go. The apartment was in the most beautiful building that lead into a stunning courtyard. The flat itself was very modern and comfortable to sleep in.
CityMapper is a fantastic app for getting around. It has been my lifesaver since I moved to London, and was so handy in Paris too. The app tells you the quickest way of getting somewhere in extensive detail and all the travel options that are available. The app has a wide range of cities available, so you can pick and chose where you are going. For taxis, I would recommend using Uber. Le Metro is very easy to navigate. I recommend buying single tickets in bulk, so x15 at a time, for example. These tickets let you go anywhere and on any line.
This is the ultimate Parisian cafe. In various locations around Paris, I visited the X branch close to the Lourve museum and Tuilleries Gardens. I simply adore this place! If anyone is ever asking me for go-to places in Paris, this is my number 1. Their hot chocolate is to die for, it is literally melted chocolate. I would recommend doing tea and cake here. Their normal food is okay but their cakes and hot chocolate are definitely what you go for.
La Belle Epoque:
This is a hidden gem, that we got a recommendation for from the man who owned our Airbnb. This place is super trendy, and a go-to spot for those in the fashion industry. The food and wine was incredible and we were able to book in advance which was a huge plus!
St. REGIS on Île Saint Louis:
When I lived in Paris, I was incredibly lucky to live on one of the two islands in the city, Ile Saint Louis. This tiny island is home to the most famous ice cream in Paris, Berthillon, and is right next to the Notre-dame. This small little French bistro is the perfect spot for lunch, located right on the corner of the main street, and over the bridge onto the island. The food was delicious, high quality and the staff were very friendly and accommodating.
Berthillon Ice cream:
I can’t recommend this place enough. If you are going to Paris in a group then Alcazar is the perfect spot for a Saturday night! Located in Saint Germain the atmosphere is incredible, the venue is stunning and they allow you to pre-book. We had dinner in the restaurant downstairs. The food is delicious and pretty reasonably priced for a good French restaurant. Upstairs is a fabulous balcony bar, with a stunning sit down area and great music for dancing! For those who want to take the night even further, there is an underground club right next door.
Other restaurants I would recommend but didn’t get time to go to:
Things to do/ Places to see:
- Notre-dame & Île Saint Louis
- Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre
- Eiffel Tower
- Versailles (day trip outside of Paris)
- The Louvre (free for 25 & under with a European driving licence) & The Tuileries Garden