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Nantes is an ancient city which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Brittany. Birthplace of Jules Verne, today this vibrant city offers delights such as the historic ducal palace, a pedestrian-only historic heart, and a breathtaking Gothic cathedral. But what perhaps surprised me the most about this Western French city is the sheer volume of fantastic bookshops in Nantes! Librairie L. Durance Nantes, 4 Allée d’Orléans, 44000 Nantes Sprawling, welcoming, and boasting one of the best travel sections of any of the Nantes bookstores, Librairie L. Durance is handily located close to many of the predominantly pedestrian streets that maze their way across Nantes. Set across several levels, the store is open from Tuesday through to Saturday. Perhaps most interestingly of all, the bookshop remains the property of the descendants of its founder! The story of this independent bookshop started in 1858 when Leon Durance purchased an antiquarian bookshop selling vintage papers and the like. From there, he soon expanded the premises into a former hardware store and so the L. Durance bookshop was born. Today, Leon’s grandaughter runs the shop. Librairie Vent d’Ouest,  5 Place du Bon Pasteur, 44000 Nantes Situated in a lovely little square that’s filled with […]

The post Where to Find the Best Bookshops in Nantes appeared first on solosophie.

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A little way along the riverside from the iconic Charles Bridge and many streets away from the iconic Astronomical Clock, the Prague Dancing House (formally known as the Nationale-Nederlanden Building) is easily one of the most photogenic sites the Capital City of the Czech Republic has to offer. And in a city best-known for its Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic, Gothic, and Art Nouveau architecture, the modern masterpiece is certainly a break from the norm! Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the Dancing House of Prague (known locally as Tančící dům), as well as how to visit (and stay!) and a quick history… A history of the Prague Dancing House Originally called ‘Fred and Ginger’ thanks to the famous Hollywood film dancing duo, Fred Astair and Ginger Rodgers of the 1930s, the name was soon dropped as co-architect Gehry didn’t want to bring American Hollywood ‘kitsch’ into Prague. Seven storeys in height, many local residents fondly refer to the building as the ‘Drunk House’ thanks to its swaying nature beside the River Vltava! Rather ironically, during our stroll towards the Dancing House of Prague in the morning, it wasn’t unusual to pass by a few revellers who hadn’t yet returned home […]

The post How to Visit the Prague Dancing House, Czechia appeared first on solosophie.

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It was a warm, sunny morning when we strolled up to the Kitchen Garden in Bordeaux, a beautiful breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot in the heart of France’s wine city. Serving a selection of dishes that are as much a feast for the eyes as for the tastebuds, dishes on offer include sweet treats, toasted goods, and all kinds of vegan breakfast foods, here’s a review of the Kitchen Garden… Kitchen Garden in Bordeaux Address | 22 Rue Sainte-Colombe, 33000 Bordeaux, France Easily one of the best brunch places in Bordeaux, the Kitchen Garden can be found along a cobbled lane and is surrounded by a myriad of quirky eateries and cobbled lanes. Close enough to hear the tolling of the bell tower, the coffee shop is 100% vegetarian, though there are plenty of vegan options from which to choose if you so prefer. And that’s not all; 50% of products are organic and 50% are sourced locally. Everything is homemade; think fluffy pancakes, scrumptious avocado spread, and even scrambled tofu in lieu of eggs should you opt for the vegan selection. Come Sunday, enjoy the perfect Bordeaux weekend speciality by heading to the eatery for the set brunch menu, which […]

The post A Vegetarian Foodie Experience at the Kitchen Garden in Bordeaux appeared first on solosophie.

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Expectations must be managed when planning your one day in LA. However, just because you can’t see everything or experience it all doesn’t mean you can’t do it well! Well, that’s the attitude I took with me when I recently spent 24-hours in Los Angeles, California. After all, the best thing to do when going anywhere for a limited amount of time is to consider your priorities… What makes a great trip for you? Is it the food? Is it seeing iconic locations? Is it learning about the history of a place? I concluded I wanted a decidedly L.A. experience without venturing into the tourist-packed Hollywood attractions. That meant eating well, seeing a few sites and walking the way to the beach. So, without further ado, here’s how to spend the perfect 24 hours in Los Angeles, your ultimate guide and itinerary: Take an Early Morning Hike Start the day the right way with a hike in the early morning to see the city of angels from above. Find a full map of hiking trails here. On a clear sunny morning, the hike up to Griffith Observatory offers a healthy walk uphill to a breathtaking and dynamic view of Los […]

The post How to Spend One Day in LA: A Los Angeles Itinerary and Guide appeared first on solosophie.

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Golden sand dunes, lush parks, and a history to rival that of Amsterdam: The Hague is one of the best-kept secrets of the Netherlands. Located South of Amsterdam in the Holland region, here’s why you need to visit The Hague on your next Europe trip! After all, the city boasts a fantastic foodie scene, attractions for all ages to enjoy, and makes for a great base from which to explore the wider region. Not only that, but the city is also home to its own beach, was once the haunt of many an acclaimed writer and artist, and even houses several of the Netherland’s greatest treasures. The Hague is the perfect mix of the City and the Beach You may well not know this, but the Scheveningen area is actually a part of The Hague. Located around a fifteen to twenty-minute cycle ride from the city centre, the fishing district is characterised by its sandy dunes, cobbled lanes, and historic buildings and was once a town in its own right. However, as The Hague grew, the community was incorporated into the fabric of the larger city, although it has since maintained its own distinctive vibe. Visit today and you can […]

The post Reasons to Visit The Hague on your next Netherlands Adventure appeared first on solosophie.

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Sparkling sea, winding roads and endless fields of Lavender: The countryside of Provence is easily one of the prettiest parts of France… Oh, and the Provençal towns? All cobbled lanes, shuttered windows, and pastel hues, the villages, cities, and settlements are easily as lovely as all of the green spaces, albeit in a different way. Here’s your complete guide to finding the most beautiful towns in Provence! Thanks to its status as a land of mountains, coastline, Mediterranean Sea, and swathes of vineyard producing world-famous wine, the region of Provence has long been a favourite for holidaymakers and tourists alike. For a full introduction to the region, check out my guide to one week in Provence. Otherwise, for those seeking a little inspiration, these books about Provence are sure to spark your wanderlust! Finally, read on to discover the delights you’ll surely discover should you choose to plan a trip to this area of Southern France. Lacoste A French Renaissance château overlooks a dreamy town. Paved with plenty of stone, the architecture of Lacoste town glows a warm orange in the evening sunlight. Situated in the Luberon, an area famed for its quaint hillside villages, this Provençal mountainside town overlooks the […]

The post Beautiful Villages & Towns in Provence You Simply Must See! appeared first on solosophie.

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Deep in the Portuguese countryside and surrounded by swathes of vineyards, Quinta da Aveleda is certainly one destination you won’t want to miss off your Portugal bucket list. Located around a half hour drive from the city of Porto, this breathtaking destination boasts beautiful botanical gardens and the chance to sample local wines and cheeses. Here’s your ultimate guide on everything you need to know before visiting Quinta da Aveleda… #ad | This post is sponsored by TRANSROMANICA, the Romanesque Routes of European Heritage as ceritfied by the Council of Europe. All opinions, words, and photos, remains those of the editor.  A History of Quinta da Aveleda The estate’s main building dates all the way back to the 17th-century and is still in use as a summer family residence to this day. Dripping in trailing ivy and characterised by a lace-work veranda, the mansion house can be spied during walking tours of the gardens, though the interiors themselves are closed to the public. Since 1870, the Guedes family have been producing wine on the estate. Today, wines from Portugal are world-famous, much in part thanks to the much loved Porto and the green wine (vinho verde) of the Douro valley. In 2011, Quinta […]

The post How to Visit Quinta da Aveleda, A Charming Porto Day Trip appeared first on solosophie.

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Picture perfect and straight out of a storybook, the picturesque town of Cassis is the gateway to the Calanques de Cassis and is the perfect blend of modern conveniences meet quintessential Provence. Here’s your guide to the best Cassis hotels, and a Cassis accommodation guide to suit every budget! Why you must put Cassis on your Provence bucket list Lying lazily by the sea, there is perhaps no seaside Provençal town that sums up the beauty of the region quite like that of Cassis. Pastel-hued houses, cobbled lanes, and acting as quite literally the gateway to the Calanques de Cassis Natural Park, the Southern French settlement boasts good eateries, plenty of pretty streets, and of course, a laid-back ambience that’s so synonymous with the South of France. Though you could always visit this pretty settlement as a day trip from Aix-en-Provence, there is perhaps no better way to enjoy a weekend in Provence than by taking the time to relax, soak up the scenery, and discovering why the area has been inhabited for so many millennia. Indeed, even during Gallo-Roman times, Cassis operated as a small port town, aiding in the transportation of local and international goods up and down […]

The post Best Cassis Hotels: Accommodation Guide for Every Budget appeared first on solosophie.

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Sparkling turquoise water matched with lines of cobalt blue umbrellas. The sun was shining brightly overhead. I could feel warm golden sand between my toes (and, inevitably, taste it in my sandwich). Was I along the Mediterranean coastline? Or perhaps exploring the rugged coastline in Brittany? No! In fact, I was enjoying the Paris Plages in the very heart of central Paris… Here’s everything you wanted to know about the French capital’s pop-up summer beaches! Granted, I might not go for a swim in the water and maybe the River only looked clear because of sun glare. But there’s still a beach in Paris! And while it may not be right next to Notre Dame Cathedral, it’s still within a few hundred metres! Paris Plages is in operation each summer during the months of July and August in several locations across the city and is a must-visit if you’re looking for a vacation vibe in the heart of Paris, especially considering that this is one of the best free summer activities in the city. A brief history of the Beaches in Paris Traditionally during the summer months, as tourists descend on the city of lights, many locals leave. Lots of shops […]

The post Everything You Wanted to Know About Paris Plages! appeared first on solosophie.

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Impressive and grand, the most ornate of the public fountains in the 1st arrondissement is easily that of the Fontaine des Innocents. Quite literally translated into English as the ‘Fountain of the Innocents,’ this Parisian water feature was created during the 16th-century and is the oldest public fountain in Paris. Rather shockingly, the Renaissance fountain is not the only hidden history lurking within this popular French square close to Forum Les Halles. Instead, though Place Joachim-du-Bellay may be filled with eateries and people relaxing today, the square was once the site of a centuries-old cemetery… History of the Fontaine des Innocents Though the monument of Fontaine des Innocents is now dwarfed by the impossibly large nearby ‘Les Halles’ shopping complex, at its construction between 1547 and 1550 the French Renaissance feature would have dominated the surrounding area; a curious landscape of market halls, public spaces, and of course, the Cimetière des Innocents. Originally called the ‘Fountain of Nymphs,’ the structure is covered in foliate patterns and mythical sea creature designs, as well as Nymphs. Its architecture was the brainchild of Pierre Lescot (who worked on the Louvre), who is said to have been inspired by the Nymphaeum in Rome, while […]

The post Fontaine des Innocents & Cimetière des Innocents appeared first on solosophie.

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