5 Reasons To Visit Paris

Continuing my articles about places I have visited without needing to fly, here is a post about staying in beautiful Paris. Paris is a city that I have been to many times. Originally I caught the ferry from Dover to Calais and these days I get there by train.

Travelling by EuroStar is very efficient from London and Paris’ Gare du Nord station is just two hours and fifteen minutes away. I usually find myself in the buffet carriage throughout this journey, often during the twenty minutes that the train spends whizzing through the tunnel, deep under the English Channel.

Paris is magical to me because it is filled with wonderful memories. I took a group of close friends there for a special birthday and have also been there to celebrate New Year before.

Here is my list of five reasons why you should take a trip to the enchanting city of Paris:

1) History

France is a country which used to have a royal family but now has a president instead. Paris has many leftovers from its regal past, including such beautiful buildings as the Palace of Versailles.

On the day that I went there it was incredibly busy and we were on a bus tour so I opted to look around the magnificent gardens rather than spend time inside the building. The gardens were expansive, packed with fascinating fountains, statues and floral displays. Of course the palace is not only a previous seat of kings and queens but also the venue where they agreed a settlement at the end of the First World War (The Treaty of Versailles 1919).

2) Tours

As soon as I got to Paris I wanted to do a bus tour of the city and take in some of the incredible views. Open top buses are brilliant because you get great pictures (when the weather is good) and can pop some earphones on and listen to an audio tour at the same time.

I believe the bus tours Paris provides move around four quadrants of the city and I recall covering most of the important sights such as the Arch de Triumph, Notre Dame and The Louvre.

There are also plenty of boat tours daily which leave from various sites around the city. I have done a boat trip almost every time that I went to Paris and learned something new every time.

Notre Dame Cathedral before the tragic fire. (Reasons to visit Paris)

3) The Eiffel Tower

This incredible structure is what most people associate with Paris. Standing 324 metres high, the cast iron marvel first opened in March 1889 to the public. It is layered like a wedding cake in tiers and you can choose how high you want to go.

Last time I took the endless stairs to the first level and then caught the lift the rest of the way to the top. As well as being an excellent viewing platform for the whole city, there is a sense of achievement when you reach the top, able to reflect upon the historical significance of this landmark.

4) Disneyland Paris

It would be wrong of me to mention the French Capital without a reference to the nearby Disney resort. Having never been to any Disney parks before, I was so happy to visit this one on a cold February day. It was full of magic and intrigue and left me wanting to come back for more.

Me, absolutely frozen but totally enjoying Disneyland.
The stunning fireworks and light show. ((Disneyland Paris)

My favourite part of our brief visit to Disney was the amazing firework display at the end of the evening. Somehow the Disney imagineers manage to create a series of video projections that celebrate Disney movies from throughout the ages, all inter-spliced with colourful fireworks and set to a rousing Disney score.

You can find some incredible Eurostar Disney deals on the DisneyLand Paris website. There are always opportunities to go straight to Disney by Eurostar, which is an option I might take in future as I certainly want to spend lots more time there.

5) Museum

Paris is a wonderful setting in which to enjoy some fascinating museums. Going to the Louvre is a must-do activity but remember that it is always closed on a Tuesday. Such an expansive place is hard to explore in just one session.

The one picture that everyone wants to see. (Reasons to visit Paris)

Having viewed the Mona Lisa portrait and many other delightful paintings and statues, I also had a lovely time taking in the incredible architecture.

Another brilliant museum is the Musee D’Orsay which has collections of paintings including those by Monet and Renoir. It also has a variety of sculptures and furniture from different historic periods.

The Musee D’Orsay (affordable and educational)

I feel as though I could talk about Paris all day long. In fact I may end up following this article with a future one about some of the lovely features that I have yet to mention. Here is another article that I wrote about a visit by train to Luxembourg which also involved changing trains in Paris.

I hated saying goodbye to Disneyland Paris.

If you enjoyed this post about reasons to visit Paris, perhaps consider following my blog for similar content in future.

Three Easy Ways To Be More Eco-friendly

With the awful raging wildfires in Greece and Turkey, as well as the annual fires in California, News companies are giving more air time to environmental concerns. Even some adverts for products such as washing detergents are presenting a more eco-friendly attitude to their selling strategies.

Take a train, not a plane.

As I sit by the sea and look out into the distance, I contemplate the future and worry a little about how much our coastlines may soon change.

I decided to share a few basic things to consider when wanting to be more eco-friendly. These adaptations will aim to reduce your carbon footprint, helping to reduce global warming, at least a tiny amount.

1) Buy fewer items of clothing.

Although many people love to follow Instagram trends and buy new and exciting designer clothes all the time, that needs to stop. Some items are only worn once or twice and stored for ages in wardrobes. These are then replaced again and again, with seasons bringing whole new collections.

Manufacture of clothing uses lots of materials and involves burning lots of fuel. We all need to wear out clothes more often, recycle them after they are worn out and repair them when they have the odd hole appear.

2) Use planes less.

This one is super important. I stopped using planes seven years ago and believe that unnecessary flights are damaging the environment massively because they pump damaging gases straight into the upper atmosphere. Hopefully Covid has stopped long distance business meetings happening so frequently involving air travel. Often these meeting were just jollies in the past and Zoom meetings can adequately suffice in most instances.

As power supplies move towards renewable energy, the use of trains is becoming more acceptable and is now a more eco-friendly way of travelling bigger distances. For instance in Europe you can get almost anywhere by train, with ease. I have been using the EuroStar and Inter-rail to navigate France, Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. From my limited experience in the US I can say that trains can easily get you interstate, yet many prefer the quick flying option.

3) Turn it down.

Simple changes to gas heating and use of boilers can make a positive difference. In winter, having the heating on for less time and at lower temperatures, whilst wearing jumpers and layers, is one easy way to make a change. Also, putting the boiler on once rather than several times a day is worthwhile.

The simple points above are small but important ways that we can all have an impact on climate change. However, we also need to put pressure on governments and big businesses to make meaningful alterations to practices and levels of pollution.

5 Ways To Be A Bit More Eco-Friendly

Ever since I first learned about climate change in the early 1990s, I have been alarmed by how serious the situation is and how little governments have done about it. I remember being at secondary school and forming an eco-committee to raise awareness about pollution and encourage recycling, which at the time was a reasonably new idea. It seemed to many people like a niche interest rather than a major issue, affecting everyone on the planet.

Can we do our bit to stop the world from choking?

Nonetheless, when I went on to University to study Geography I learned about rivers and glaciers and the environmental impact of vehicles and pollution. This alerted me more to just how critical it is that we start to reduce our overwhelmingly negative impact on the world’s atmosphere.

Without turning this into an article which tells you what to do, I have merely noted some easy suggestions which can definitely help you to contribute to easing climate change. They are manageable and positive steps which I hope you may consider.

1) Considering how you travel

We all have busy lives and rush around from place to place, sometimes with little thought about how we get there. Children are driven to school and their lives seem to involve hopping from one ‘island’ to another. From home to school and then on to football training or ballet class, kids often have little awareness of the journey between each place. They just switch on a tablet and play a game for a bit before magically arriving at their next destination.

How about replacing one of these journeys with a walk instead? Walking increases their cardio and gives them a better grounding in their locality. Many children are less alert to their local area because they have had very little practice of negotiating it. Walking means less pollution in the and better all round health. If more families encouraged their kids to walk to school, for example, this would drastically increase the number of people on the streets, making them feel safer, whilst reducing the traffic, which in turn means less risk of accidents as well as fewer fumes irritating people’s respiratory systems.

2) Turn it down

For most people, heating is a luxury they enjoy and make the most of in winter time. Generally we love to go home to a cosy, warm house, heated up to the max. However, if one room in the house is hardly used, why pump the radiators full of hot water all day when the benefits are not being felt by anyone? Turning down the heating by a degree at the thermostat can also make a massive difference by reducing the amount of electricity used. If everyone did this, then the power stations would need to burn less fossil fuels to get us through the winter and produce far less pollution.

3) Zoom it!

In lockdown many of us have realised the brilliance of remote meetings held over Zoom. Instead of flying to Amsterdam for a few days at a work conference, we have started to hold these events online. Perfect! Let’s keep that up. Meetings over the internet save time, energy and hassle. Instead of having to organise babysitters, pet sitters, book planes and hotels etc. you simply have to book an appointment on Zoom and off you go, reducing pollution at the same time.

4) Don’t succumb to trends

Fashion is lovely and let’s face it, very fashionable, but do you really need a new wardrobe for every season? Clothes last ages so why keep buying more, just to fit in? The factory process behind clothing manufacture is quite energy intensive and so buying a shirt and wearing it just three times is actually fairly wasteful. If you do want to replace clothes often, maybe consider recycling the older ones or reusing them around the home. Some fabrics can be useful in preventing weeds in the garden, if you lay them under the top soil, for instance.

5) Check where your food comes from

Yes we all love exotic foods but we also know that food flown in from thousands of miles away will have required a lot of energy to help it get to our supermarkets. I love bananas yet they will have travelled on aeroplanes and trucks that used tonnes of fuel on the way to my local shop. I’m not saying stop eating bananas, but planning to use more locally sourced foods can contribute towards reducing the amount of food being flown in from far away. This in turn will have a small but very important impact on the amount of pollutant in the atmosphere.

These are just a few examples of the kind of changes that we can make to our lives that could collectively help the environment by reducing carbon emissions and slow the effect of global warming.

If you enjoyed this post perhaps you will consider following my blog for more similar posts in the future. Here is another example of an environmental article that I produced.