Sparkly Tower

After messing about by the river for a while we’re ready to check out Paris by night!

The Eiffel Tower gets event prettier by night – it sparkles!!!!

Every evening, the Eiffel Tower sparkles for five minutes every hour on the hour, while a beaming shaft of light emits from the top.

It is also lit by more than 300 spotlights arranged along its girders giving the tower a gold sheen as soon as night falls.

20,000 bulbs twinkle and light up the tower in a spectacular choreography every hour.

The installation was designed to commemorate the new year in 2000 but has since been made permanent.

In June 2007 the 336 light bulbs were replaced with duplicates.

There is also a beacon from the top of the tower that sends out two light beams with a reach of 80 kilometres.

Pretty huh? Apparently however taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower at night is technically illegal as the light show is still under copyright to the original artist.

But as long as you’re not selling the images to make money then you’re ok . . I think!

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Arc De Triomphe

We’re ticking off the landmarks at a rate of knots on a wet and windy Parisian day.

Next up is the majestic Arc De Triomphe – after the Eiffel Tower it is one of the most iconic of all the Paris sights.

It stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, (formerly named Place de l’Étoile( — the étoile or “star” of the juncture is formed by its 12 radiating avenues.

The Arc de Triomphe was started in 15 August 1806 and inaugurated in 1836 by French king, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire.

The Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch in 1921.

The torch was designed by architect Henri Favier and is a circular bronze shield at the centre has a cannon muzzle which radiates a frieze of swords.

On 11 November 1923, surrounded by a multitude of former soldiers, the flame was lit for the first time. Since that moment, the flame has never been extinguished.

A daily ritual pays tribute to the Great Dead and each evening, at 6.30pm the flame is rekindled.

Landmark tower

It might be a grey day but it’s our first look at the iconic Parisian landmark that is the Eiffel Tower!

The original plan to build a tower 300 metres high was developed as part of preparations for the World’s Fair of 1889.

The idea was to “study the possibility of erecting an iron tower on the Champ-de-Mars with a square base, 125 metres across and 300 metres tall”.

It was Gustave Eiffel, an entrepreneur, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, both engineers, and Stephen Sauvestre, an architect, whose plans were accepted.

Theirs was one of 107 projects put forward so this iconic landmark could have looked very different.

The construction work began in January 1887 and was finished on March 31, 1889. Only taking just over two years to complete.

Lots more to come from this lovely landmark.

Gay Paris!

Hot on the heels of our Corsican adventure we’re heading back to France again. This time to the romantic, enduring capital city of Paris!

First time on the Eurostar from St Pancras station. Highly recommended! Fast, comfy, cheap and easy.

We were on the earliest train possible – 5.40am! Cheapest fare and gets us there by mid day.

Less than three and a half hours later we’ve arrived at the Gare Du Nord! Ready to take on Paris!!

Pretty Propriano

It’s our final day in gorgeous Corsica and it ends on a high with possibly my favourite beach of all – Propriano!

The curved golden sands of the Plage du Lido provide a perfect last stop on our scenic tour.

Ten days in Corsica gave us a chance to scratch the surface of this pretty island. From its rugged interior to its numerous gorgeous beaches.

Hiring a car is definitely the best way to see the most of the island.

And that’s it for now folks! Goodbye from gorgeous Corsica 🙂

Palombaggia beach

Yet more stunning beaches are in our sights today. This time the glorious Palombaggia.

It’s the most famous beach in Corsica. This vast expanse of sand stretches over 1.5 km with extra fine white sand. 

The beach is lined with small dunes and pine trees providing shade in summer. It’s a stunning place.

With its stone pines, white sand, turquoise water and views over the Cerbicales Islands, it is another postcard perfect place to soak up some rays.

Even though the evening is drawing in we can’t help but be tempted into those incredible waters.

As the shadows lengthen I have to be physically prised away from this little piece of paradise!

Palombaggia, by virtue of being one of the most stunning beaches on the island, is naturally a tourist magnet but it is definitely well worth popping on the itinerary.

Piscia di Gallu hiking

As well as stunning beaches Corsica also as an amazingly rugged interior full of spectacular scenery to explore.

Here we check out a solitary hiking hut which offers wide ranging views over the surrounding countryside.

We’re heading for the Piscia di Gallu hiking trail that will take us through some of the most incredible scenery on Corsica to see the most beautiful waterfall on the island.

Th walk starts off from a sizeable parking lot with a few pretty little restaurants, it starts off nice and easy with a ramble alongside the river and into the forest which is filled with fragrant Corsican Laricciu pine trees.

But very quickly the going starts to get a bit more arduous, especially for the human sloth that is me!

Below is just one of the many impressive rock formations – this is the sentinel rock on route to the waterfall in the forest of L’Ospedale.

While walking you’ll see numerous strangely shaped boulders which are known as Tafoni. 

These are rocks that have been hollowed out by erosion of the wind and the rain.  Some were used in the past as huts by the shepherds and are called Orii.

Hilariously enough, after an hour and a half of sweaty trekking I don’t actually bother to make the final descent to the actual waterfall (the reason for the trip)!!

The hubby mountain goated his way down but of course didn’t take any photos! Doh!

Instead enjoy a few snaps of this serene lake in the middle of nowhere!

Bonifacio

Hopping in the hire car again it’s onwards in our exploration of Corsica. This time we’re heading to the pretty town of Bonifacio.

Located at Corsica’s southernmost tip, Bonifacio is a bustling harbour town with an impressive citadel.

The town itself stretches along a narrow, top-heavy promontory where houses perch precariously along the cliff tops.

The port is where much of Bonifacio’s tourist trade is concentrated, including ferries across to nearby Sardinia, boat tours and a handful of bars, clubs and restaurants along the quayside.

The old city is a maze like web of alleyways lined by ramshackle medieval houses and chapels with faded pastel plaster work.

The best way to appreciate the town is via a boat trip around the beautiful waters.

From the boat you can truly appreciate the amazing limestone rock formations.

You can also get a pretty good view from up on the town cliffs. Above you can see the famous ‘grain of sand’ rock formation.

Bonifacio is a beautiful little town which is well worth a stop on your Corsican itinerary.

Beautiful beaches

Corsica has no end of stunning beaches to chose from. Here’s a selection of some of them!

Beautiful San cipriano beach is just one of the beautiful swathes of white sand.

So enjoy lots of lovely azure waters and endless white sands.

Take me back . . . . I can still feel the warm breeze and gently lapping water.

After enjoying various labour intensive activities such as swimming, lounging, sunbathing and people watching, we then head onto another wonderful beach Calla Rossa.

Bastia

Our overnight stop is in the town of Bastia. A bit battered and run down but with artwork and colour on each street.

Bastia was the principal capital of Genoese Corsica, and it became French only in the late 1760s.

Artwork and street scribbles adorn many of the walls around the city centre.

Many of the buildings look somewhat precarious, if not downright unsafe!

There are more Baroque churches in this city than any other on Corsica.

The most noticeable one is the twin towers of the St Jean Baptiste cathedral which stands prominently above the bustling quayside.

The Vieux Port – Old Port – is the busiest part of the town with many tall, gently decaying, buildings housing restaurants and cafes.