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Five Places I Love In Europe

Updated on April 11, 2015

A Short Tour Of Europe

From 1660 onwards, the Grand Tour of Europe became an exciting tradition for many wealthy young European men. The tour was seen as one of the educational and cultural rites of passage to full manhood. From the second half of the 18th century, with the dawn of the railways, young adults from the United States, South American and other continents also joined in.

The increasing accessibility of rail and steamship travel made the journey easier allowing, not just the upper classes, but also more middle class people to take the tour. Around this time, Thomas Cook founded his famous the travel agency, which offered 'grand circular tours' of Europe, and made the Cook's Tour a byword.

I'm not wealthy or young, so my European travel tour is not a grand one. It's simply a short tour of places I love.

This stunning photo of Europe is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. Thank you NASA!

Paris - France

The Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph), at the center of the place Charles de Gaulle, by Benh LIEU SONG, and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
The Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph), at the center of the place Charles de Gaulle, by Benh LIEU SONG, and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Paris, capital of France, is situated on the river Seine, at the heart of the Ãle-de-France. It is divided into 20 districts, called arrondissements, and has an estimated population of 2.2million. The metropolitan area, including the three "petite couronne" departments of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne, and the four "grande couronne" departments of Seine-et-Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, and Val-d'Oise, has a population of over 12million.

Well, so much for the statistics... Paris is the most visited city in the world, with around 42million tourists visit each year. It is one of the world's leading cultural centres, important in the arts, fashion, entertainment, media and science. The city and surrounding region contain more than 3,800 historical monuments, as well as four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Eiffel Tower - the Biggest Sparkler in the World?

Paris New Year Fireworks

A taste of Paris - all public domain

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Notre DameHotel des InvalidesNotre Dame
Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Hotel des Invalides
Hotel des Invalides
Notre Dame
Notre Dame

Visiting Paris

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Paris
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Paris

The Eyewitness Travel Guide to Paris has detailed listings of hotels, bars andrestaurants, information about famous sights, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and is packed with photograph and illustrations to inspire you. It also includes a free pull-out city map

 

Sparkling Eiffel Tower

Every evening the Eiffel Tower is lit, showing off its full glory. It has a beacon on the top to alert aircraft. More spectacular yet is the hourly light show, when the whole structure shimmers and twinkles. It can be seen from miles away. I took this photo on a recent trip to Paris.

Carcassonne

The photo: Vu de nuit de la cite de Carcassonne is by Pereubu, and licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0
The photo: Vu de nuit de la cite de Carcassonne is by Pereubu, and licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Carcassonne is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site in the south west of France. It could be called a castle or a city - essentially it is a fortified medieval walled city (la cite), around which a modern town has grown up.

La Cite de Carcassonne, with its narrow cobblestoned streets, is surrounded by a two mile long double row of fortified walls, with 56 watchtowers. More than three million people visitor Carcassonne each year. On Bastille Day, 14th July, the city celebrates with a big party. Called the Festival de la Cite, you can enjoy music and theatre performances and firework.

Wines of Carcassonne: Introduction to the Cabardès AOC
Wines of Carcassonne: Introduction to the Cabardès AOC

Wines of Carcassonne is an introduction to the Cabardes wine region. Interesting for tourists and wine professionals, it includes details of the wineries in the Cabardes and a map, to help you find them.

 

Bastille Day fireworks

One of the travel treasures on my "to do" list is to see the Bastille Day fireworks at Carcassonne. For now I have to make do with videos. Thanks very much to those people who have posted their videos on line!

Photos of Carcassonne - all public domain

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Visiting Carcassonne

Prepare for your visit before you go with this interesting selection of guides and stories about Carcassonne, and the surrounding region.

Languedoc: Carcassonne to Montpellier (Footprint Focus)
Languedoc: Carcassonne to Montpellier (Footprint Focus)

If you are planning a trip to the Languedoc, perhaps even traveling between Carcassonne and Montpellier, this guide will give you the information you need about places to stay, transport, food and drink, and even the local festivals.

 
Narrow Dog to Carcassonne: Two Foolish People, One Odd Dog, an English Canal Boat...and the Adventure of a Lifetime
Narrow Dog to Carcassonne: Two Foolish People, One Odd Dog, an English Canal Boat...and the Adventure of a Lifetime

The glorious boating adventure undertaken by Terry and Monica Darlington, and their whippet, Jim. They pilotted the Phyylls May, an unseaworthy sixty-foot narrowboat across the English Channel, through the backwaters of Flanders, the Parisien canals, and forbidden French routes down to the South of France. It is a tale of travel, a dodgy boat, curious people, dubious wine and enormous spirit.

 

Karatas - Eastern Serbia

The photo shows a view of the Danube Rivier, near the Iron Gate Dam. Original photo taken by Frans van Nes, and released into the public domain.
The photo shows a view of the Danube Rivier, near the Iron Gate Dam. Original photo taken by Frans van Nes, and released into the public domain.

Sorry, where did you say? Karatas?

Essentially a sports village, Karatas sits alone, isolated from any large villages or towns, close to the bank of the Danube river. Originally, it was built to provide basic accommodation for the construction workers who built the dam. Though the accommodation Is still a bit basic, the sports village itself is well-laid out, with tree-lined paths, shady corners, a restaurant, a shop and masses of sports facilities.

So why is it special? It's a peaceful and relaxed place on the edge of the Derjap National Park, and close to the magnificent Derjap Gorge - the Iron Gate through the southern slopes of the Carpathian mountains. A few yards away, just across the road, you can explore the famous Diana fortress, for which you can while away a few hours watching the cruise ships of the Danube manoeuvre through the hydroelectric dam complex.

Visiting Serbia

Serbia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
Serbia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Serbia is a Balkan country at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe. It has wonderful scenery and glorious architectural riches. It also has a turbulent past, and it is sensible for the visitor to Serbia to be well informed. Culture Smart! Serbia will give you essential advice on what to expect and how to behave, as well as background information on Serbian history.

 

Lausanne - Switzerland

The photo shows a view of the Ouchy waterfront, Lausanne, Switzerland, taken by Julius Kusuma, and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
The photo shows a view of the Ouchy waterfront, Lausanne, Switzerland, taken by Julius Kusuma, and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lausanne sits on the southern shore of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva), in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The views over the lake and the Alps are inspiring. This small city is the capital of the canton of Vaud. It is also known as the "Capitale Olympique", as the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are in Lausanne.

Lausanne has a long history. The Romans built Lousanna, a military camp, near the lake, around the area where Vidy and Ouchy stand. On the hill above, stood a fort called Lausodunon. By 400AD, after a few names changes, it was known as civitas Lausanna. For security reasons, the population moved to its current, hilly centre, as this was easier to defend.

Lausanne has an excellent public transport system, and good connections, both nationally and internationally. Although hotels are a little expensive, its an easy place to get to and has a calm, relaxed atmosphere. One very nice touch is that many hotels give you a free travel card when you check-in. This allows travel on any buses and the metro system within the city.

Lausanne Harbour on a stormy day

Normally the weather in Lausanne is very good, but this July when I visited, it was quite stormy.

I took this photo between rain and hail showers.

York

The photo shows York Minster, viewed from the city walls, by Krystian Hasterok, and licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.5
The photo shows York Minster, viewed from the city walls, by Krystian Hasterok, and licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.5

I enjoyed three years at the University of York, and had the opportunity to explore and grow to love the city.

Situated in North Yorkshire, at the confluence of two rivers, the Ouse and the Foss, York has a long history. It is a walled city, with many attractions, cultural and sports events. Many people will have hear of York Minster, and some may remember the great fire that nearly destroyed it in 1984. The Minster has great significance because York has been the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England since the Middle Ages.

In Roman times, the city was known as Eboracum. It has had great importance through history - it was the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, the kingdom of Northumbria and the kingdom of Jorvik. In the Middle Ages, York was a major wool trading centre during the Middle Ages. It became a major hub of the English railway network in the 19th century. At the same time, manufacturing centre for confectionery, particularly chocolate. Now, the University, tourism and health services are the prominent employers.

Which is your favourite?

Where would you visit? And why?

See results

Cruising Europe's Waterways

If you have the time and the money, cruising the great rivers of Europe can be a wonderful way to visit historic and beautiful cities.

You could, for example, experience the romance of the Danube, crossing ten countries through the heartland of Europe, and passing through four capital cities, and the Iron Gate dam before reaching the Black Sea.

Make the most of your time and money

If you are looking for an unforgettable summer adventure in Europe, but money is a little short, you could try a back-packing and hostelling trip.

Find your way across this exciting continent, without breaking the bank.

Which five places would you visit on a tour?

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    • savateuse profile image
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      savateuse 3 years ago

      I guess it is a long trip for you, but make sure you get your moneys worth when you do come!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 3 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I'll go to all of them thanks! Seriously I would spend more time in Europe if it didn't take 19 hours (or more) to get there and the airfare didn't leave such a big hole in my money. For a sudden wish granted by a fairy godmother, I'd step straight onto the stones of La Cite de Carcassonne

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 3 years ago

      Nicely done. Thanks for sharing.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from Perth UK

      I love Paris especially in the springtime! Not really any time will do :0) Lovely memories. Happy New Year.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 4 years ago

      Blessed-great lens-only place I have visited is paris

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 4 years ago

      @anonymous: You're right, very difficult to narrow the list down.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have been to both York and Paris, but they probably would not make my top 5 places to visit. But then it would be so hard to choose just 5!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I would love to take a European tour, five places would simply not be enough! I would include Paris and York in the list too.

    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 5 years ago

      We plan to visit Paris next year in summer with a day or two in Euro Disney Land. My daughter would love to go there.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 5 years ago

      Lovely sites. I would like to visit Paris soon.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      We loved Paris, France and the Cotswolds in England. In Germany, there was Rothenburg...and so on, and so on. There's so much left to see. Great picks.

    • bjesparza profile image

      bjesparza 5 years ago

      Looks like some great places!

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 5 years ago

      @SheilaMilne: I hope to go to St Petersburg next year

    • savateuse profile image
      Author

      savateuse 5 years ago

      @IMKZRNU2: Thanks! I hope you get the opportunity to visit.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Prague, St Petersburg, Vienna, Budapest, Stockholm. I've only been to Prague and Vienna out of those, but I live in hope.

    • Snowsprite profile image

      Fay 5 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      Great places to visit. I thought I had Europe fairly well taken care of but only been to Paris from this list lovely to see different places. Great Top 5 lens.

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Berlin, Orkney, Amsterdam, Dubrovnik and York - we can agree on one thing.