After a few days in France (see our walking tours of Bordeaux and Nantes, then see how we got engaged in Paris!), we headed over to Italy. Siena, Italy is home to the oldest bank in the world. But it was also home to me for a semester when I studied abroad back in 2009 and lived with a family who has become my family. So, when I got the chance to go visit them when we visited Jeffrey’s sister in Nantes, France, recently, I jumped at it. Why I chose Siena as the city to study abroad, I’m not quite sure. Probably how I make most other important life decisions: a bit on a whim. I liked the movie Under the Tuscan Sun and Siena was the only city in the region of Tuscany with a [...]
Florence, Italy was next up on our trip and I was psyched! I studied abroad in Siena, Italy while in college and was so happy to go back to visit the family I lived with while there. But, before heading to Siena (about an hour’s train ride from Florence), we wanted to hit one or two highlights in Tuscany’s most famous city.
With appx. 1.5 million people in the metropolitan area, Florence is also the most populous city in Tuscany and a must-visit on any trip to the area. Most visitors stay in Florence and then day-trip to other Tuscan towns. Not that I would suggest that plan… but, then again, I’m biased: Florence and Siena were equal in size and power [...]
After exploring Paris in the snow, and getting all engaged up, it was time to bid adieu to Paris and hop our short commuter flight from Paris-CDG to Italy’s famed town of Florence-FLR (but be careful, I’ve heard at least half the flights actually land in Firenze, not Florence…yikes!).CHECK-IN
After having a bit of bad weather, all of the public transit and flights were finally back up and running smoothly. We took the RER from the city out to Charles de Gaulle-Roissy airport. Somewhat annoyingly, they don’t announce the gate or terminal you’ll be leaving from until just a few hours before departure, so we ended up having to wait for a bit in the [...]
Nantes was our second stop on our trip to France and also the reason we were there in the first place: Jeffrey’s little sister was studying there for the semester. After spending a few days in Bordeaux (see our walking tour of Bordeaux here), we took the SNCF INTERCITÉS train up to Nantes to spend a few days exploring the city and visiting his sister.
Nantes is the region of Brittany’s largest town and another large port, with a population of half a million people. Nantes, though, felt way different than southern Bordeaux. In Bordeaux, it had been sunny and warm. Our entire stay in Nantes was filled with rainy days and the damp cold that comes with it. Maybe we [...]
After doing our research ahead of time and researching how to buy tickets (SNCF vs RailEurope.com post here) and then arriving to Charles de Gaulle airport and making our way to the train station (post: Taking a train from Paris Airport CDG-Charles de Gaulle), it was time to begin our first train journey of the trip.TGV service/review
We were scheduled on the 16h21 train (that’s 4:21pm to you Freedom-fry-loving guys in ‘Merica). Because this train didn’t originate at the CDG airport, we had to wait until about 15 mins before departure to see which track it would be on. The trip was scheduled to take 4 hours 16 mins (!) and put us at Bordeaux St. Jean right [...]
Fresh after landing at Paris-CDG, we had hoped to have a chance to check out the Air France Arrivals Lounge at Charles de Gaulle but were worried about making our train connection. So we just sucked it up and scurried out to baggage claims, but not before passing a very casual form of “Customs and Immigration” which consisted of an area with a few French police/military decked out in fatigues and submachine guns. They stopped me, seemed confused that I spoke French and then insinuated that I’d just come off the flight from either Casablanca or Cairo, when I corrected them and said that I came from New York JFK they seemed even more confused, checked the arrivals board and then waved [...]
Bordeaux was our first stop in our France trip. Roughly three hours away by train, we only had to wait a short while once we arrived at CDG (in first class style!) to board our train straight from the airport.
Jeffrey studied abroad here in the spring of 2009, so he knows this port city like the back of his hand. It was my first time here, and it was so fun for me to explore where he lived. We even got to have dinner at his host family’s restaurant! How cool!
On the Garonne River, the water plays a large part in Bordeaux’s history. And, as the fifth largest city in France (with a population of 1.1 million), Bordeaux is the world’s wine industry center, [...]
First stop on our whirlwind, nostalgia-inspired tour of France & Italy (index here) was our flight from New York-JFK to Paris-CDG. I was able to find low-level award space using Delta SkyMiles for the flight (which is a feat in and of itself), but throw in the fact that I found Air France Business Class low-level award space using SkyMiles and it was downright impossible.Nearly missing the flight
The trip really started for me about 2 or 3 days before takeoff as a winter storm was pummeling the Northeast. You see, because of Delta’s horrible award space availabilty, I booked the JFK-CDG, CDG-FLR and then VCE-JFK legs on the award ticket. To get from CHS-JFK-CHS, I [...]
While on our recent whirlwind trip to France and Italy to visit Jeff’s sister who is studying abroad in Nantes, France (more to come on that soon), we spent a few nights in Paris.
The city of Paris is special to us because it’s the first place we ever traveled together (while we were studying abroad in Europe -Jeff in France, me in Italy- in Spring 2009). Who knew our weekend trip to Paris back in 2009 (long before we even started dating!) would turn out to be the foundation of our engagement?!
It was snowing hard on Tuesday when we arrived, but we still managed to [...]