Paris In Autumn

The City That Never Gets Old

After five years away, going back to Paris was not only inevitable but also much needed. I always feel strangely at home in the bustling heart of France, surrounded by history, fashion and food.

OK, let’s be honest. It is mainly about food for me. Especially cheese.

This time, I took my mum with me as she had always wanted to go and my step father is not keen on walking about on holiday. My aunt also tagged along, making it a real family affair.

Bus Tours Are Great Starters

Whereever I go, I tend to first take a bus tour as an easy way to get a sense of what a city has to offer. Mum was looking forward to seeing what Paris has to look at and so we stepped onto a Tootbus near the Louvre and hopped off near the Arc de Triomphe.

We were going to walk up the steps to the roof but the wind was very strong and the queue was enormous. Plus we were feeling a bit hungry by then.

So we went for some very tasty omelettes at a nearby restaurant, where I also tried a really thirst-quenching strawberry milkshake with plenty of whipped cream. The waiter was incredibly helpful and, as with most places in Paris, they had the items written in English as well as French.

We then popped back on the bus and took in the Eiffel Tower and Trocadero before heading to the shops. I found a large UniQlo which was rammed with people. There must have been a hundred people entering the door every minute. It was great to snap up a new red jumper and some affordable but stylish socks.

In The Evening

My Mum was intrigued by Montmarte and so we got an Uber to the bottom of the Funicular. For a few Euros we were able to ascend the steep hill to the Sacre Couer. The famous church was brilliantly illuminated and the view from the hill across the whole city was wonderful.

After a walk around, we finished off eating near the Moulin Rouge and then got an Uber back to Citi Bergere. It was a lovely first evening and great way to begin the holiday.

And Finally

I would certainly recommend taking a bus tour of Paris to familiarise yourself with the most famous sights. This allowed us to plan the next few days and, because we bought a 48 hour bus pass, we could use it again the next day.

I would love to hear about your experiences of Paris in the comments. Thank you for taking the time to read my travel post. For another of my travel posts, check out Basel – A Hidden Gem.

A Boat Trip In Switzerland

On my second full day in Switzerland I decided to take a train from Basel into Biel/Bienne. As soon as I arrived I walked straight to the lakeside and caught a boat around the beautiful lake. If you missed my introduction to Basel, check out Basel – A Hidden Gem and then find out about the stunning boat trip I took around Bielsee in this post.

Swiss trains are reliable and timely. They are clean and have plenty of leg room.
This was the boat that hopped from village to village in a round trip.

Taking a train from Basel to Biel/ Bienne was simple to arrange. I booked my ticket through Trainline and enjoyed travelling through the villages, farmland and hills. Just over an hour, the ride was packed with gorgeous views.

I had seen Biel/ Bienne on Instagram and knew that one of its biggest assets was the huge lake. So it was inevitable that I was going to head to the harbour immediately and try to get on a boat. A two and a half hour trip round the lake cost £34.86 per person.

Such thick cut bread on a delicious cheese sandwich.

During the cruise, I decided to get a sandwich and ice cream. With a lovely on board eatery and plenty of deck seating, the boat was comfortable and provided great access to photogenic villages and a stunning horizon.

This church was so quaint, sat beautifully upon the hill at the side of the lake.

Best Bits

For me, this two hours and a half voyage went by quickly. I loved the experience and absorbed the beauty of the surroundings. There was a friendly atmosphere on board and everyone was sober and helpful.

I totally recommend taking a trip round the Bielsee if you are in the area. This was the only day I spent out of Basel and I finished it with a walk around the town of Biel/ Bienne which I have photographed here.

Biel/ Bienne
Biel/ Bienne

Final Thoughts

This lovely Swiss town is thriving with shops and restaurants as well as some beautiful historic buildings. You definitely need to take a ride on a boat if you get the chance and explore the beautiful lake that runs alongside Biel/ Bienne.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about a boat trip across a Swiss lake. Please consider following my blog for similar future content. Also leave a comment if you can. Have you been to Switzerland? Does Biel/ Bienne appeal to you?

Basel – A Hidden Gem

My blog is a lifestyle site and so now and again I share my experiences of travelling around Europe. My last outing was at Christmas when I visited wonderful Antwerp, which I mentioned in my Five Favourite European Cities article. Now I want to talk about another hidden gem that I am currently exploring – Basel in Switzerland.

Getting To Basel

The Eurostar screen illustrates how trains pollute far less than planes.

My regular readers will be aware that I like to travel by land and sea as much as possible. This is mainly because I believe that planes are one of the biggest direct causes of pollution in the upper atmosphere. I stopped flying 9 years ago but haven’t let it stop me enjoying travelling.

For this journey, I popped over to Paris on the Eurostar and then changed stations from Paris Nord to L’Est. I then took a one and a half hour train to Strasbourg before hopping onto a one hour train to Basel. Travelling through Strasbourg made me realise I need to spend some time there soon, possibly during Christmas time.

Getting To Know Basel

This hotel looked lovely.
The city centre was interesting and was accessible by frequent trams.

When I got off the train at Basel SSB railway station, I decided to walk the 20 minutes to the hotel rather than get on public transport. It was a great choice as I was able to check out some of the highlights of the historic city centre. It was, however, exhausting as there was a large hill running up to where our hotel stood. This was brilliant for my step count, though. Especially after spending hours on trains.

The colourful streets reminded me of Salzburg and were lined with trees. Many of the hotels and houses had plants climbing up them, making the whole place feel green and cosy.

Basel film festival was on in a group of theatres and cinemas.
Statues, fountains and trees line the streets.

After settling into the hotel, I walked back into the centre and found myself next to the famous Basel Munster Cathedral and overlooking the River Rhine. Plenty of restaurants, bars and shops lined the streets of this intriguing place.

Basel Munster – Cathedral
Munsterplatz – part of the old town

Final Thoughts

Just a few hours into the holiday and I was already starting to fall in love with beautiful Basel. Look out for more of my posts about my experiences in Basel as I look back on my time in this intriguing European hidden gem.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Please consider following my little blog for future reviews, travel pieces and environmental articles.