Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Intro to...Paris: Giverny - Monet's House

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5 TIPS TO KNOW WHEN VISITING GIVERNY, FRANCE: 

The Gardens and House of artist Claude Monet






View of the house from the Gardens (editorial use)

1. Visiting the Gardens is usually tourists' main objective. But try to visit the house. It helps to make the visit to Giverny complete. Buy a combo ticket and plan to stay in Giverny for the day. Finish up with the Musee des Impressionmisme down the street.



2. Visiting the house also makes you feel like you are getting to know Monet personally. Studying the art is one thing (always an insight to an artist's soul). See where he lived makes it intimate.



3. Even if you're not into art, you'll love the architecture and the era of the house. Monet loved Giverny and lived there from 1883 until he died in 1926. It seems as if the past and present are in the house at the same time, even almost 100 years later.



4. You may feel inspired to create. Monet helped to inspire the Giverny Colony of impressionist artists who started living there circa 1887. If you're a beginner, the gift shop will help you get started. You can also take home a little bit of Monet with you in many forms from socks to umbrellas.



5. The house and gardens were declared public in 1980 after extensive renovations and the creation of The Foundation Claude Monet. You can walk around on your own or take a guided tour.


The Gardens from the House: a view to be envied


For more information: The Foundation Claude Monet

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Intro to...Paris - Giverny - Monet's Gardens

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5 Things to Know to Visit Monet's Gardens at Giverny, France





In 1883, Claude Monet, considered the Father of the Impressionist Movement, "retired" to the still small village of Giverny, near Vernon, in the Upper Normandy region of France, about 80km/50 miles from Paris. He eventually bought a lovely farm style house and designed and planted the gardens he would make famous through his paintings he created until his death in 1926. 

From his time until now, artists journey to Giverny to study, paint, visit or even live, inspired by Monet. The property was inherited by his son, who, in turn, bequeathed it to the Academie des Beaux-Artes in 1966. Restored, it was opened to the public in 1980: house, gardens, the famous water lily pond and, literally down the road, the Musee des Impressionnisme, none of which is covered by the Paris Museum Pass.


1. It doesn't matter what you see first, the gardens or his artwork in other museums. If you have seen any of Monet's works, such as the massive room-sized murals at the Musee de l'Orangerie, this will be awesome. If you visit Giverny before you see any of the paintings, you will understand the inspiration. Either order is OK. 




2. Plan your trip carefully. Take the SCNF train from Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris to Vernon. Planned train strikes are frequent and, in today's world, there are terrorist threats. Buy your round trip tickets on the day of your visit at the station. Don't forget to check the weather. 

Once you arrive in Vernon, immediately double check the timetable for the bus from Giverny to Vernon and the train back to Paris. 



3. It may be crowded. In fact, it's almost a guarantee. If you have really planned your trip, you can purchase tickets online. If not, get there very early (greatly advised), stand on the queue and purchase your tickets. After that, you're on your way. 


4. If the gardens look familiar, it could be that you are probably looking at the original inspiration for botanical gardens throughout the world. The gardens will vary depending on the season. The famous lily pond may not be in bloom until May or June but it's impressive just the same. 

Monet planned for the fact that the lilies are not in bloom all the time and has plenty of trees, some benches and other flora for you to admire, including the famous Japanese bridge








5. You will want to take lots of photos. There are gardens, the house and other museums down the road from the house. 




Next article: Monet's house


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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kids, Travel and You: Part 3 Basic Activities in Europe

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 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).  I am an Amazon Associate.


KIDS, TRAVEL AND YOU: PART 3- 
BASIC ACTIVITIES IN EUROPE

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Check out the other articles in this series:
Part 1: Planning 
Part 2: Traveling with Ages 18-21
Part 4: Road Trips

What do you do with children in Europe? In this 3rd part of our series, we explore basic activities to do.

Capri, Italy
Plan in advance

As we stated in the first part, a successful family vacation depends on your already established family dynamics and how much prep you put into the process. Before you leave, plan local activities that will introduce your child to the culture they will see: restaurants, museums, US cities that resemble European cities and maybe some apps that introduce the language.

Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain
Is it right for everyone?

It is difficult to travel with children, but even more so with children under 3. Also, consider those with disabilities. There are stairs, canals, cobblestone alleys, steep streets and hotels and train stations without no elevators. Wheel chairs, strollers, canes and crutches were often not accommodated.

Amalfi Coast, Italy
Will it be the right time of year?

Take into account the time of year. Remember, the seasons are reversed past the equator (it's summer in Australia in February). Summer in Europe is hot and the down time is August. Some attractions have reduced hours or are closed altogether. Beach areas are crowded and beach hotel rates are high. Spring Break is a good time. It can still be crowded, but many attractions are open. The weather can be a gamble, but that's what museums are for.

Window display in pizza restaurant, Notting Hill, London

What to do?

Basic: play on-going games. Challenge your child to say hello, please, thank you, good-bye and their menu choice in the target language. Take a look at the details (an faces) on the old churches. The many piazzas (plazas) may street fairs, vendors, musicians, performers and carousels. 

St. James Park, London


Gardens: Springtime brings flowers and butterflies and rolling hills. Any place that encourages touching and participation is a guaranteed hit. Some museums are also gardens: your kids will want to pose by each sculpture at the Musee Rodin.  At Versailles, rather than touring each palace, opt for only Marie Antoinette's Estate and pay extra for the musical fountain show in the gardens in the evening.

Musee Rodin, Paris

Ferris Wheels ("Eyes"): They seem to be all the rage: London, Paris, Niagara Falls (Canada), a few places in Japan. We're even building one in NYC.  These are outside of the theme parks and there are often attractions surrounding them as add-ons.

Wax museums: Keep your children's ages in mind for these. Some have horror themes. For the others, it can be spooky standing next to a life size statue that looks like it may come alive at any moment. But, wax museums can be good history lessons and certainly a lot of fun.

Museu de la Xocolata (Chocolate), Barcelona, Spain
Children's Museums: they are popping up more and more in Europe. The USA seems to be the place that is child-centered and places around the world are on the band wagon. The Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Florence (there's one in Milan, too) is hands on.  


Canals and steps and bridges, in Venice, oh, my!

Boat Rides: Venice, Capri, Versailles. If you have ever taken a ferry, your kids can handle this!



Buckingham Palace, London
Montjuic, Barcelona, Spain
Forts, castles and palaces: These are always a hit with kids: castles and cannons and towers and tales of pirates and adventures, oh my! They can be dusty, so don't wear your best clothing. 

Roland Garros: Site of the French Tennis Open, Paris, 
Olympic and Sports Museum, Barcelona

Sports arenas and museums: Many Olympic sites have been converted for public use, one can visit the four famous tennis open stadiums, or it could be high season for the local favorite. Check your local listings, as they say.

School bus in Positano, Italy
Schools: Depending on the age of your child, just walk by a local school. Seeing kids play in the yard somehow always links the cultures of the similarities, makes a city seem more real. For the older ones, walk by a famous university.

Magnet Butterflies

Shopping: Set down some ground rules before you go. Compare prices of their favorite sneakers and make them do the conversion, look at the language of the foods in a market and note the lack of huge supermarkets. Check out the many neighborhood marts and how people still shop daily for dinner. Finally, you may run into one of the farmer's markets.

Pizza...in Paris!

Restaurants: Eating can be a challenge, but while world cuisine is one reason to travel, at the same time, it's universal. Encourage kids to try new things but almost every place has fries (believe it or not). 

Arc de Triomf in Ciutadella Park, Barcelona, Spain
Tuileries Garden, near the Louvre, Paris

Central parks: When you have seen the Mona Lisa or Michaelangelo's David (which you should certainly do), take some down time, get ice cream  and walk in the park. Outside of the Louvre you have Tuileries Gardens, up the street from Buckingham Palace is St. James Park or visit one of the 8 Royal Gardens. Madrid has it's Parque de Retiro.
Piccadilly Circus, London


Night Time: Cities come alive and lights are fantastic at twilight. Make sure your lodging is in a well lit and well populated area. The Eiffel Tower actually gives a light show, vendors sell little toys with lights in Florence and Venice, London's Piccadilly Circus looks like Times Square and Barcelona's Ramblas seems to never sleep as you window shop. Fountains are lit up, families are taking strolls and you can walk off your dinner before putting the little ones to sleep.
Street artist in Siena, Italy
In the hotel room: Television programming is likely to be limited and children's programming may be sparse. I would suggest bringing a tablet with downloaded books, games and movies. If you have wi-fi, make it your child's job to research the next day's agenda and let him find it on the map.

All in all, taking children on a trip to Europe can be fun, educational and an adventure for all with just a few adjustments and some pre-planning.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Andiamo in Italia! (Let's Go to Italy): 5 Things to Consider

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Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 if the copyright act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.

 This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted). However, I am an Amazon Associate.


5 Things To Consider Before Visiting Italy



Amalfi Coast, Italy



DAVID MICHELANGELO TUSCANY ITALY
Punta Carena, Capri, Italy

1. What Region?

If you can stay for at least a month, then by all means, plan to visit the entire country on a non-stop tour. But if you can only stay a few days or a week, then limit your visit to one region. You will be able to actually enjoy it without feeling rushed. Try the Amalfi Coast; Florence and the surrounding Tuscany region or Milan and the nearby Lake Como area. Of course, there's always Rome (with a day trip to Naples) or Venice!

2. How to Get There?

The answer seems like a no brainer until you realize that even if you are coming from overseas, you have a couple of options: you can fly or you can sail on a cruise. If you are already on the continent, fly, take the train or rent a car and drive. Driving internationally should be investigated first but imagine, a road trip in Europe! There are also cruises within Europe.

3. Where to Stay?

There are so many options nowadays: hotels, apartment rentals, vacation rentals through owners or your own vacation ownership (timeshare). Use a map website and figure out how close you will be to public transportation and attractions. Use reviews wisely: some people often will give a negative review for a minor reason. Also, check the date of a review. Our choice: an apartment rental near public transportation.

4. What to Do?

Each region in Italy is known for more than art, wine and food although those good places to start. There are ancient ruins, mansions and castles, gardens, zoos as well as museums, wineries. There are also small, charming towns to explore as well as plazas and tiny streets filled with great people.

5. Traveling with Kids

Italy is very kid friendly. In nice weather, the plazas are full of street fairs, entertainers and all the gelato you can afford. Florence (Firenze, in Italian) has a marvelous Leonardo da Vinci Museum with full sized models of his inventions that you can play with. In Venice, what could be more fun than exploring all of the back streets mixed in with canals? 


VENICE GONDOLA ITALY TOUR



Trevi Fountain, Rome

All photos copyright Marcia Crayton, All Rights Reserved