Monthly Archives: March 2012

Paris, France- ‘The City of Light’

Paris is the capital and largest city in France. Paris has a population of approximately 2.2 million people. Famous for the Eiffel Tower, Paris averages over 25 million tourists a year and July and August are the peak of tourist season. The top Paris attractions are Disneyland Paris, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre Museum , Eiffel Tower, Versailles Palace, Centre Pompidou and the Cite des Sciences.

Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements numbered 1 to 20.The first arrondissement contains the Ile de la Cite, the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. The other arrondissements spiral from there in a clockwise direction.The first arrondissement contains the Ile de la Cite, the Louvre and the Tuileries Gardens. The other arrondissements spiral from there in a clockwise direction.

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, by Gustave Eiffel  as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair. The Eiffel Tower stand at 1,063 ft.  tall. “Only intended to last 20 years, it was saved by the scientific experiments that Eiffel encouraged, and in particular by the first radio transmissions, followed by telecommunications. For example, the radio signals from the Pantheon Tower in 1898; it served as a military radio post in 1903; it transmitted the first public radio programme in 1925, and then broadcast television up to TNT more recently. Since the 1980s, the monument has regularly been renovated, restored and adapted for an ever-growing public.”

My first grade teacher moved to Paris after I had her class. I remember keeping in contact with her and asking her to send me a postcard with the Eiffel Tower on it; it’s now one of my favorite possessions.

Disneyland Paris opened on April 12, 1992, as the Euro Disney Resort. The park contains two theme parks, a golf course, an entertainment complex and six Disney resort hotels. Disneyland Paris covers an area of 4,940 acres.

The Musée du Louvre or the Louvre Museum is one of the world’s largest museums. As the most visited art museum in the world it’s also a historic monument. Louvre was first opened to the public as a museum on November 8, 1793, during the French Revolution. The Louvre hosts the  “Mona Lisa” from Leonard de Vinci, among other world-famous paintings and artwork from all era’s and areas of the world.

Notre Dame Cathedral  is the official seat of the Archbishop of Paris and has been a Roman Catholic Cathedral since the Middle Ages. Maurice de Sully, the Paris Bishop, started its construction in 1163. He deemed the church that already stood in the location unworthy of the prestige of his position. Construction continued for years, with many bishops and architects making their mark on the seemingly never-ending building process. The fact that so many people had a part in building Notre Dame is what accounts for its unique and varied design. Notre Dame is 130 meters long, 48 meters wide, 35 meters high. Notre Dame witnessed many historic events, including the coronation of Napoleon (1804) and the mass for Paris liberation (1944). Major components that make Notre Dame unique include one of the world’s largest organs and its immense church bells. Of the five large bells, the one in the South Tower is the most prominent; he bourdon bell Emmanuel weighs over 13 tons.



Down Under: Australia

     Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, and Sydney. The glorious landscape and popular cities are popular places for tourists to visit. Rich in culture from the original Aboriginal land to British settlements, Australia is a place I’ve always wanted to visit.

     Urulu in Australia’s Northern Territory is most popularly known as Ayers Rock. The large sandstone rock formation is the heart of Australia. Uluru is sacred to the Aṉangu, the Aboriginal people of the area and is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Urulu is 1,142 ft. high and has a circumference of 5.8 mi. Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour depending on the time of the day and year. The rock usually glows red at dawn and sunset.

  • Ayers Rock is located in the middle of Australia, in fact very close to the actual geographical centre
  • Research suggests that Aborigines have lived in the area for at least 10,000 years
  • About one in ten visitors climb Ayers Rock
  • 400,000 to half a million people a year visit Ayers Rock

The Great Barrier Reef covers 133,000 sq mi., making it the world’s largest coral reef system and visable from outer space. As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef homes thousands of different animal species and over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays . There are numerous tours you can take to see the reef including  swimming, snorkeling, diving and sailing.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef offers a range of diving experiences for both the beginner and the experienced diving expert. You can also experience the reef from the air by taking a helicopter flight or skydiving. From the air you can see the magnitude of the reefs.

  • The Great Barrier Reef has over 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres
  •  Tourism to the reef generates approximately AU$ 4-5 billion per year
  •  Thirty species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Six species of sea turtles come to the reef to breed
  •  215 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit the reef or nest or roost on the islands
  •  More than 1,500 fish species live on the reef
  •  There are at least 330 species of ascidians on the reef system

Sydney is the capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia. Made popular by the 2000 Summer Olympics and Finding Nemo, Sydney has beautiful beaches and the Sydney Harbour National Park. Sydney hosts most of Australia’s largest social and cultural events. You can even hike the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which opened in 1932 and is still the largest steel arch bridge in the world. The Sydney region was first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 during his first voyage into the Pacific region. Sydney’s weather patterns follow southern hemisphere rules which would make it the perfect place to escape a cold Virginia winter.

  • From beaches to bushland, unparalleled natural beauty to world-famous architecture in a beautiful harbour city, Sydney offers a vibrant lifestyle
  • Sydney’s culture, lifestyle and food bring together elements from all corners of the world
  • International art, music, film and cultural festivals fill Sydney’s streets all year round
  • There are 40 species of kangaroos  and wallabies in Australia


The UK: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and The Beatles

The United Kingdom has always been interesting to me because of the big names that came from there. The Spice Girls and later The Beatles were my favorite bands growing up. From the accents to the clothing, England was a place I’ve always wanted to experience.

Big Ben thought to be the is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower but is actually the name of the bell inside the tower.  BIg Ben weighs over 13 tons.

Located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, the clock tower was completed April 10, 1858. The  Saint Stephen’s tower is 16 stories high and stands 316 feet tall. The tower is not open to overseas visitors but UK residents can obtain tour passes through parliament. There is no lift in the tower so to reach the top you must climb 334 stairs.

The tower leans slightly north-west by a little more than 8 inches due to construction. At the base of each clock is the inscription “DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM,” which means “O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First.”

The clock is known for being incredibly accurate and even continued chiming after a WWII bombing.

Buckingham Palace has served as the home for all British monarchs since 1837. The palace contains  775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. First lived in by Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace covers over 77,000 square metres. Buckingham Palace is an office for the Head of State, as well as a home for The Queen. Changing the Guard takes place on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11.30am, a major tourist attraction. A  flag is hoisted each time the Queen is in the Palace.

        Liverpool is metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England. Liverpool was founded as a borough in 1207. My obsession with The Beatles is the reason Liverpool is on my must-see list. Liverpool is about 3 hours away from London.

        The childhood homes of the members of The Beatles are popular tourist attractions in Liverpool along with The Cavern Club. As the World Capital of Pop and the birthplace of the most popular pop band to date. From tours to museums and concerts to bars, the presence of The Beatles is felt amongst all who visit Liverpool.

        Over 50 years after The Beatles first performed on its stage, the Cavern Club is still one of Liverpool’s top music venues and offers a wide variety of live music daily. There are several types of tours you can take offered by the Cavern Club so you can experience the history and culture of The Beatles. The Beatles played the Cavern Club over 300 times, helping it become the most famous live music venue in the world.

        The homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon have been restored by the National Trust to allow visitors to see where The Beatles got there start.

        The Beatles Story is a unique visitor attraction that offers insight into the full history of The Beatles. The museum has two sites and even includes a Beatles themed Starbucks.