Archive for the ‘An Unusual Guide’ Category

The Instrument in space : Work of Stéphane Vigny

Anicroches. Variation, Choral and Fugue’s exhibition of the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Champs Elysée, Paris, France

Nov. 18th, 2011 – Feb. 19th, 2012



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Père Lachaise is the biggest cemetery of Paris and one the most famous in the world. It’s more than 200 years old and it’s the largest cemetery in the city of Paris, 48 ha and 118.6 acres.

The cemetery takes its name from the confessor to Louis XIV, Père François de la Chaise (1624–1709), who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel.

Chopin's Grave

Lot of famous people are buried here : Chopin, Champollion, Jim Morrison, Jean Moulin, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust….

The cemetery is on Boulevard de Ménilmontant. The Paris Métro station Philippe Auguste on line 2 is next to the main entrance, while the station called Père Lachaise, on line 3, is 500 metres away near a side entrance. Many tourists prefer the Gambetta station on line 3 as it allows them to enter near the tomb of Oscar Wilde and then walk downhill to visit the rest of the cemetery.

I like this place for his beauty and his peacefulness, well of course it is, it’s a cemetery silly me! When you first enter inside, you can see a lot of grave, most of them are quite recent and it really looks like a basic French cemetery. That’s not my favourite place in the cemetery, even if when you’re going upper in the left you will find Oscar Wilde’s grave and his Art deco’s monument.

When you’re going more deeply in the cemetery, the magic of the place will act. You have to go far behind the crematorium, getting down the little hill. Then you will find the place where located Jim Morrison, not very far away from Mister Champollion and Chopin…

I love to go to this part of the cemetery, not because I really love the work of Jim Morrison or Chopin but mostly because I have the feeling to not being in Paris any more, I have this strange feeling to be out of time, lost in the middle of a beautiful site, surrounded by nature and life who take the advantage on the dead, you can hear the birds singing and not the city noise any more.

I could try to describe you the place but there is nothing better than more photos right !? I took them few years ago now but in the meantime, just like I wrote, it’s an out of time place !

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© alex saberi - Shutterstock

London is such an amazing place. If you like the people, the culture and the architecture’s art, you would love this city so badly that you will like to go back again over and over just like me.

But in order to enjoy fully this city, you have to know 2 or 3 things about it first.

Let’s talk about transports ! London is a big city and you can’t walk everywhere. At some point, you will have to take the tube (Underground), the bus or why not their legendary black cab !

I truly regret to not have test their black cab so I can’t really talk to you about it. 

The Underground :

The Londoners call it the Tube, you will easily understand why when you will see one. It looks like a tube. It’s not really large and it could be really very crowded according to the hours.

There is a different code colour and name according to the 13 lines : Brown for Bakerloo line, Light Green for Circle line, Rose for Hammersmith & city… To moving with the tubes, you have to think about the direction that you want to go, North / South / East / West.

Example : You’re at Piccadilly Circus and you want to visit Portobello Road, really famous for his antique’s market in Notting Hill.
May I suggest you to take the tube at Piccadilly Circus’ station.
Take Bakerloo Line (Brom), one stop to the north (Oxford Circus) and change with Central Line (Red) to the West to stop at Notting Hill Gate’s station.

As long as you know where is the place where you want to go, it will be really easy to find your way, if not, well don’t worry, Londoners are really kind and will help you whatever you will need help or not ! In every station, you will find Underground’s workers to some tickets stops who will be glad to help you. (Paris really need to take advises from London for this point! )

My tip : You will find a Tube map in every station and even an "area" map of the neighbourhood.
Very useful when you don't want to get out your big London's map hiding in your bag !

If the tube could be awesome, it could be a nightmare too for some reasons. It’s not really reliable ! There is often some stations who could just be closed in the current of the day, you don’t even know why. On my 4 days trip to London, 9 of the 13 lines were closed for the week-end ! There is a lot of public notice in the stations remind you to check the planned Tube disruptions first if you’re planning something !! And me who was complaining about the Parisian’s underground !

The tube’s station are not as close than the Parisian’s ones but it’s not so far away from each other neither. So you will see that if you’re staying in the heart of London, you will not need as much that you thought of the tube.

I almost forget, you will need to valid your ticket / Oyster Card to enter and get out of the tube !

My tip : Don't forget to look how your distance costed you in validating your ticket when you're going to the exit.
You could this way know how much money left on your Oyster Card too. Very useful in did !

The Imperial Bus :

The way to move in the city !! That’s a great experience to do, specially on the top of it. There is so many buses in all the city that it is just unbelievable. About a bus every 2 minutes. No need to tell you that you will never wait a long time your bus.

You can go everywhere and whatever you want with it, even the night ! In fact, it’s known to be the favorite way of moving from the Londoners. It’s on time, always working (unlike the tube) and for us, travelers, it’s fun and a new way to discover this city !

My tip : Do never forget to valid your bus ticket. It could cost you a lot of money to not doing it if there is some control !

What about the Oyster Card ?!

Transports are expensive in London ! It’s requiring a budget just to move from a point to another one ! If my souvenirs are good, a bus ticket is around 2£ and the tube’s ticket it about the same price even sometime more expensive according how far you’re going. I don’t really understand how works their price’s systems anyway.

Do not buy one to one ticket, it will get too expensive. All my Londoners friend give me the same advice :

Take the Oyster Card or the Traveler Card ! This are the transport cards networks in London. You can take the buses and the tube with it. You can find it in the ticket stops in every tube’s stations I think. Look at the website for it, I know there is a ticket’s stop in Heathrow and King’s cross station / St Pancras too.

You will find all the prize about the tickets here. If you’re staying 3 or 4 days in London, the Oyster Card would be the most interesting choice. You can refill the card when ever you want and how ever you want too ! That the advantage of a “Pay as you go” card !  You decide what is the most convenient for you. This is a good choice because if you don’t take much the tube or the buses, you will define yourself your budget.

I’ve never buy the Traveler Card, I have to admit, staying only for 4 days, I didn’t think that I needed it. It was more expensive that my need with the Oyster Card.

My tip : For my 4 days journey, I bought an Oyster Card. I've load around 20£ and that was all about that I need.
Count around 5£ / day, even if I did not travel much for 5£ / day myself ! 

Good to know : If you're travelling for at least 5£ / day, it means that you will move for free until the end of the day !
You will still need to valid your card but no money will be take it out.
But if you're walking a lot just like me, it might be possible you would not travel for more than 4£ / day !!

What about the Train then ?!

I’ve never travelled in train in UK and every English people that I know told me the same thing:

Train is really expensive and it does not work good !! Don’t take train if you can, just take the buses !! Much more reliable and sometimes even faster than trains !

What can I say more except: Enjoy your journey in London !!

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