The stained-glass windows of La Sainte Chapelle in Paris, France

La Sainte Chapelle, Paris’ jewel

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

The 13th century Sainte Chapelle, built in a record time to host Christianity’s most precious relics, is a magical place to admire world’s most beautiful stained-glass windows, only a stone’s throw away from Notre Dame de Paris. Probably one of the most breath-taking moments you will have in the city of lights…

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Gardeners working in Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France

Visit Claude Monet’s finest masterpiece [Giverny]

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

He inspired the name of the whole movement that revolutionized art. From Tokyo to New York City via Paris, he remains one of the most celebrated painters honoured in the most prestigious museums. Still, there is no better place than Giverny where the master spent 43 years of his life and shaped his beloved garden to get inspired by Claude Monet (1840-1926) and dive into his universe.

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Castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte and its French gardens

Visit a castle so beautiful it got its owner jailed by the king [Vaux le Vicomte]

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen

The architect Louis Le Vau surpassed himself. The elegant castle stands majestically, reflected by a large piece of water in the park. The perspective is perfect. The genius landscaper Le Nôtre combined its laws with some of the most innovative techniques of the time such as levelling, water conveyance systems and optics theories. The result is a delicate balance between art and nature, making the garden the most beautiful of Europe today and the first French formal garden in history.

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Purple flowers from the King's Kitchen Garden in Versailles with the cathedral in the background.

Stroll the atmospheric King’s Kitchen Garden [Versailles]

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

In Versailles, one might expect the King’s Kitchen Garden (le Potager du Roi) to be designed as a perfectly curated French garden. However, the historical garden that was created in 1683 by Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinie to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for Louis XIV and his court has retained its prime function: an innovative and experimental producing ground. Follow us off-the-beaten path, right by the Palace of Versailles and stroll this lesser-known and atmospheric gem…

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Notre Dame de Paris: back then & today

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen

The 15th of April 2019 was a tragic day. A fire ravaged the cathedral for 15 hours, taking down its spire and its roof. 500 firefighters operating in the dense heart of Paris could save the monument heroically. Millions shared their emotions and many sent financial help from all over the world showing how much of a symbol Notre Dame is for all of us, regardless of religion or nationality. At the moment, the cathedral is closed to the public and undergoing restorations. Securing it and ensuring its structural integrity were the first tasks: the vault and structure are saved. Explore Notre Dame in this article, from its 850-year history to its current status.

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Top 3 running routes of Paris by a local!

Article updated on September 27, 2021
Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen & Claire Lessiau

Discovering Paris running is a fantastic way to enjoy some of the major landmarks and take the pace of the city. It is better though to have a few routes in mind before venturing out as the traffic can be hectic and its nice cobble stone streets that are great to discover on foot can be a runner’s ankle nightmare. These top running routes tend to avoid these hazards and will also take you to some of the nicest parks of Paris.

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An urban outdoor adventure: biking from Paris to Versailles

Article updated on September 27, 2021
Text & photos: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

“It’s a red!” I scream while I hit the brakes and see my Parisian girlfriend manoeuvring her bicycle while crossing a three-lane road in the city centre of Paris. I swear as cars start accelerating while I’m waiting for them to pass. Being born and raised in a small village in the heart of the Netherlands with safe bicycle lanes along every road, biking through the heart of Paris with a Parisian is a truly adrenaline-packed experience!

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Travel tips to get around in Paris efficiently

Text: Claire Lessiau

In a nutshell, Paris is a megalopolis where traffic can be hectic, but a good amount of taxis and Ubers are efficient at times. Public transport and biking are often the best options to get around. Here are a few tips by a local to help you make the most of your trip to the City of Lights, detailing every mode of transport so that you can adapt!

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The picturesque canal Saint Martin, Paris

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen

Amélie, or in its official French title, Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (The fabulous destiny of Amélie Poulain) by Jean Pierre Jeunet might ring a bell. This 5-time-Oscar-nominee was released in 2001 and was a massive blockbuster in many countries, for its poetry. Some might even recall Yann Tierssen’s beautiful soundtrack.

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