An Exclusive Night Out: L’Arc Paris

You want to have fun on the weekends – a legendary night out that you’ll be telling stories about for years to come. But in order to have such a fabulous night, you’ll need to have a venue that is a cut above the rest. Something different from the same old night club in the same old neighbourhood with the same old music. The solution to that dilemma?

The exclusive L’Arc Paris Restaurant and Night Club.

Photo Credit: Techcocktail@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Techcocktail@Flickr.

The L’Arc Paris, located at 12 Rue de Presbourg, gives diners a view of the Arc de Triomphe as they enjoy their French cuisine created by Chef Antony Germani. What better view to have than one of the most iconic symbols of Paris? If you’re aiming to woo  someone special, this would definitely be the place to romance them. After you savour your dinner, order some signature cocktails and lounge for a while in the restaurant’s chic bar.

Then it will be time for the the main attraction of the night: Club of L’Arc Paris. Making its way to the top as one of Paris’ trendiest night clubs, it pulses with the beats of the in-house DJ, featuring an electric mix of the hip-hop music. The lively dance floor beckons all club-goers. You may even find yourself bumping elbows with some celebrities on the floor. L’Arc has become a rite of passage of night life in Paris for celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Rafael Nadal. Club of L’Arc will give you an unrivalled and unforgettable night out.

The club does have guest selection so be sure to dress in some of your hippest and best threads and be polite to the doormen. If you do those two things, you are more than likely to be in the door in no time. The best thing about the L’Arc Paris is that on your way out at the end of the night, you’ll be awed by the Parisian view waiting for you on the club’s doorstep – the perfect way to top off your night.

You’ll of course need a place to stay and relax after your smashing night. Loving Apartments offers accommodation throughout the entire city of Paris, including by Arc de Triomphe and L’Arc Paris. We invite you to stay with us for your memorable weekend.

Photo Credit: Kieran Lyman@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Kieran Lyman@Flickr.

> Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Conquering the Slopes: Winter Sports in Zermatt

Zermatt, Switzerland is the closest thing to heaven on earth for winter sports enthusiasts. Quite frankly, Zermatt can even seem like heaven to those who aren’t winter sports enthusiasts with its incredible mountain scenes, especially with the view of the Matterhorn. However, if you are in Zermatt, you might as well hit the slopes and get active in your winter gear.

Photo Credit: kBandara@Flickr.

Photo Credit: kBandara@Flickr.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Photo Credit: dsearls@Flickr.

Photo Credit: dsearls@Flickr.

There are three main ski slope areas in Zermatt: the Sunnegga, the Gornergrat and the Klein Matterhorn. These areas offer skiers of all levels 250 kilometers of trails. If slope skiing doesn’t take your fancy as much as cross country skiing, there are also cross country skiing routes with the Täsch and Randa trails. Terrain and difficulty varies with both trails.

Don’t worry. Zermatt hasn’t forgotten about the snowboarders. Snowboarders can find good terrain and a half pipe near Riffelberg and a snowboarding park on the Klein Matterhorn.

Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

You’ll encounter breathtaking and beautiful views of Zermatt if you take the time to go out on a winter hike or a snowshoeing excursion. Snowshoeing on the Gornergrat is said to have the most glorious view of the Matterhorn, but there are other gorgeous trails available for trekking as well, including Täsch to Randa, Zermatt to Sunnegga, Rotenboden to Riffelberg and many others. Each of the trails differ in difficulty level, so hikers can find a suitable route for themselves. If you want to take the stress out of choosing and planning your own route, there are numerous winter travelling agencies in Zermatt with which you can hire a guide to lead you for a day hike. Whatever route you choose to explore, you will be guaranteed an awe-inspiring experience.

Sledding

sledding in Zermatt

Photo Credit: dsearls@Flickr.

Sledding my seem like a cliché winter activity, but it takes on an entirely new meaning in Zermatt. Zermatt offers sledding runs for the young and old with fast steep runs or more mild runs. A fast run can be found on the Rotenboden toboggan trail on the Gornergrat. The route covers 234 metres in 10 minutes. You’ll have to be sure to concentrate on glimpsing the fabulous mountain view as you zip by. There is even a cog train that runs every 10 minutes to bring you back up to the top so that you can save all your energy for the thrilling ride down. If you are looking for a more gentle sledding experience, try out the Randa toboggan run. This route is located in the heart of the village and is especially youngster-friendly with its short, gentle slope.

Ice Sports

Ice sports ranging from skating, to hockey, to curling can all be enjoyed on Zermatt’s ice rinks. A natural ice rink  and two artificial ice rinks can be found in the centre of Zermatt. Admission to the rinks are free from December to February. You’ll just have to pay for skate and equipment rental if you don’t bring your own. If you’d rather watch ice sports instead of participating, the public is welcome to watch as the local ice hockey team, EHC Zermatt, trains.

If you are a bit braver and want to wander out of the rinks, try your hand at ice climbing. Ice climbing takes you through valley gorges, on cliff walls and over frozen waterfalls, allowing to you to see remarkable sights that are usually inaccessible. However, you must be in excellent physical shape, have experience with alpine climbing and have no fear of heights. It is also highly recommended that you have a professional guide accompany you on the climb. A popular area for ice climbing is the Gorner Gorge, with especially dazzling views and glistening ice walls.

Photo Credit: Gabriel GM@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Gabriel GM@Flickr.

 

> Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

 

Bringing in the New Year: European Style

The New Year is supposed to come in with a bang to set it apart from all the others. To make yours memorable, we’ve compiled a list of the best New Year’s celebrations in Europe. So swap out your traditional plans, and welcome 2015 at one of these New Year’s Eve bashes.

Loving Apartments conveniently offers accommodation in each of the locations listed. So if any take your fancy, check out our apartments and make reservations to join in all the festivities.

Berlin

Photo Credit: Benno Hansen@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Benno Hansen@Flickr.

Silvester (New Year’s Eve) in Berlin is definitely not for the faint-hearted. You’ll find Berliners tossing firecrackers and shooting small fireworks from windows, making a lively and dazzling celebration. A lot of the festivities take place at Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column with over one million visitors – both local and from all over the world. Many others venture to the top of Teufelsberg, Grunewald or Viktoria Park to get a spectacular view of the grand fireworks at the end of the evening. You can be certain that the party will continue well past midnight into the early morning hours.

‘Happy New Year’: Prosit Neujah

Amsterdam

The Dutch in Amsterdam start counting down their Oudejaarsavond (New Year’s) in the square in front of the Rijksmuseum on Museumsplein. Champagne will be flowing all night. Oliebollen (fried dough, apples and raisins) will be consumed. Sparkling fireworks will be launched in front of Scheepvaartmuseum, and merriment will be had by all until the crack of dawn. You’ll also want to check out Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt for free concerts, small firework displays, beer tents and countless food stands.

‘Happy New Year’: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar

Photo Credit: LenDog64@Flickr.

Photo Credit: LenDog64@Flickr.

Prague

Photo Credit: *Tom[luckytom]@Flickr.

Photo Credit: *Tom[luckytom]@Flickr.

Not only does Prague host an impressive display of fireworks for their Silvestr (New Year’s) over Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square at midnight, but they also have another glittery show at the Prague City Hall at 6 pm on New Year’s day, making it family-friendly as well. The New Year’s celebrations also continue the next day with a traditional lunch of lentils – thought to ensure family wealth. You won’t find any poultry offered for lunch New Year’s Day because it is believed to supposedly block good fortune. Prague’s castles and bridges are a magical back drop for your next New Year’s celebration.

‘Happy New Year’: Šťastný Nový Rok

Budapest

Budapest out-celebrates all other European cities with their three day New Year’s party at Vörösmarty Square from 30 December to 1 January. The square is full of music, live shows, drinks and kisses at midnight. The city runs public transport all night for convenience, and you’ll most likely stumble upon special events hosted by bars and restaurants throughout the entire city. On New Year’s Day, you can fight your hangover with kocsonya, a New Year’s traditional dish made with pig’s feet, and attend one of the many celebratory concerts hosted by the Palace of Arts and the Budapest Opera House.

‘Happy New Year’: Boldog új évet

Photo Credit: Grand Parc@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Grand Parc@Flickr.

Paris

Photo Credit: viZZZual.com@Flickr.

Photo Credit: viZZZual.com@Flickr.

Paris doesn’t need to bother with a fireworks display when they are able to dazzle everyone with its light show at the Eiffel Tower. The Champs-Élysées provides an especially good view and ambiance on New Year’s Eve. The streets will be crowded with revellers; but if you are looking for an even more unique scene for your celebration, reserve a spot on a night boat cruise on the River Seine. And don’t forget, all the night clubs will be up and pulsing even more than normal to welcome the New Year. Some popular clubs to visit on the big night are Flûte l’Étoile, Mix Club and Point Éphémère.

‘Happy New Year’: Bonne Année

Madrid

The Puerta del Sol is Madrid‘s main hub for its jubilant crowds on Noche Vieja (New Year’s Eve). There will be an endless supply of drinks, dancing, music and . . . grapes? The Spanish have a long-standing tradition of eating 12 grapes as the clock counts down to midnight. One grape per second, representing each month of the year. If you can get all of the grapes down by the time the clock strikes midnight, it is believed that you will have good luck and fortune for the entire year. So don’t be startled if you see thousands of people inhaling grapes at midnight. Then the night life of Madrid takes over until around 6 a.m. It will be a celebration of a lifetime . . . or at least until next year.

‘Happy New Year’: Feliz Año Nuevo

Madrid New Years

Photo Credit: bokur.net@Flickr.

> Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Business and Pleasure in Amsterdam

Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn@Flickr.

Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn@Flickr.

Amsterdam has become a popular host city for business events because of its well-known conference venue, Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, or Amsterdam RAI for short. Within the next several months, Amsterdam RAI will host the World Publishing Expo, the Broadband World Forum, European Utility Week, the World Bulk Wine Exhibition and many others. So if you find yourself having to travel to Amsterdam RAI for one of these upcoming conferences or any other business conference in Amsterdam, check out Loving Apartments for accommodation for both your colleagues and yourself.

As a professional, it is likely you’ll have to travel for business at some point during the year and spend several hours listening to seminars and training sessions. Time drags on during the day, and then you often have to return to a stuffy hotel. Fortunately, your business trip no longer has to be all work. Loving Apartments is pleased to offer you accommodation that adds a little play and comfort to your work week. 

Amsterdam RAI, located about 10 minutes from Amsterdam’s city centre, is easily accessible via public transportation or by car. Depending on your choice of our Amsterdam accommodation options, most of the apartments offered are also  near restaurants and pubs, famous museums such as the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum, parks, shopping districts and public transportation stations. This close proximity to Amsterdam’s points of interest allows your business colleagues and you to grab a well-deserved drink after your work day and the option to enjoy a few cultural sites as well.

Photo Credit: Horasis@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Horasis@Flickr.

Loving Apartments offers multiple apartments in the same building so all of your colleagues can stay in the same location but in separate rooms, providing each person with their own privacy. Loving Apartments has even simplified making reservations for your professional group with their Big Group Booking Tool. Unlike most methods of reserving rooms online, the Big Group Booking Tool allows you to enter how many colleagues will be accompanying you, how many nights you need to stay and what type of sleeping arrangements the group would like. After making those specifications, the tool will immediately inform you what apartments are available and calculate the price of your reservations

Put some pleasure back in your business trip with a comfortable accommodation with Loving Apartments and enjoy your time with colleagues in Amsterdam.

Click here for the Big Group Booking Tool: http://lovingapartments.com/Netherlands/Amsterdam/Groups

> Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Europe from Above

As a college student studying abroad, I’m always on the look out for free opportunities, and one fell right into my lap during London’s Architectural Open House Weekend which took place from 19th September to 21st September. Approximately 800 buildings were opened to the public in order to show off their architectural wonders. The famous Gherkin was at the top of the list and was a “must see” for me. A friend and I woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to stand in line to get to the tip of the Gherkin. The view of the city was breath taking, and it inspired me to write about some of the greatest views that you can find from above in European cities.

1. The Gherkin

Of course, I had to make the Gherkin number one on the list. After all, it was the great inspiration for this blog in the first place. The Gherkin, a domed glass skyscraper, stands in the borough of the City of London at 30 St. Mary Axe right next to the Leaden Hall. Normally, a visitor won’t be able to make his or her way to the top for free except on the Architectural Open House Weekend in London. However, guests can visit the plaza of the Gherkin, and there are restaurants within the skyscraper that offer a remarkable view to enjoy while dining. If anything, the skyscraper makes for a beautiful photograph as one of London’s most iconic buildings.

View of London and Leaden Hall from the top of the Gherkin. Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen.

View of London and Leaden Hall from the top of the Gherkin. Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen.

2. The Fernsehturm

The Fernsehturm, also known as the Berlin TV Tower, is the tallest and one of the most prominent structures in Germany at 368 meters high. The tower dominates the Berlin skyline and gives a vast view of the city and surrounding areas. Adults can venture up to the top of the tower for €13  and children between the ages of 4 and 16 for  €8.50. The tower also offers a restaurant and a bar in the sphere of the tower, so you can enjoy the gorgeous Berlin skyline for an entire evening.

Photo Credit: Avda@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Avda@Wikipedia.

3. St. Stephen’s Basilica Rooftop

St. Stephen’s is Budapest‘s largest church topped with a massive dome. The rooftop of the the church offers a stunning, panoramic view of the Budapest that would be very difficult to find anywhere else. You’ll have to pay a small charge to climb up to the roof and there are a number of stairs involved, but the view will be worth the effort.

Photo Credit: Adam Kliczek@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Adam Kliczek@Wikipedia.

4. The Piazzale Michelangelo

The Piazzale Michelangelo is known as the best place to get remarkable views of Florence. The famous site is located at the top of a hill by the Arno River. You can either take public transportation to the top or make the trek yourself. Once there, you’ll see Florence sprawling before you, including an incredible view of the Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiore. The Piazzale has a replica of Michelangelo’s David statue, food stalls, souvenir vendors and space for parking, so there is plenty beside the view to keep you busy.

Photo Credit: ElmHoo@Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: ElmHoo@Wikipedia.

 5. Circulo de Bellas Artes Rooftop

Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid is a Protection Centre for Fine Arts and serves as a venue for conferences and art classes. It was originally founded by a group of artists in 1888. Since then, famous artists such as Picasso and Ramón José Simón Valle Peña have attended classes there. Today, there are four floors of art exhibits featuring paintings, drawing, sculptures and photography. However, one of the main draws of the building is its rooftop view. The rooftop also referred to as the “Tartan Roof” gives a 360 degree panoramic view of Madrid’s skyline with the mountains in the distance. You’ll get an especially good view of Madrid’s Metropolis Building, Plaza de le Cibeles and the City Hall.

Photo Credit: felipe_gabaldon@Flickr.

Photo Credit: felipe_gabaldon@Flickr.

6. Tour Montparnasse

Sure, everyone knows that the Eiffel Tower gives a great view of Paris from above. But what about a place in which you can get a view that includes the Eiffel Tower in the skyline? The Tour Montparnasse, an office skyscraper, provides that unique skyline scene. The skyscraper’s view rivals the Eiffel Tower’s, and you won’t have to wait hours in line to see it. The tower itself isn’t pretty; but when viewing the city from its top, you won’t have to worry about it ruining the skyline, right? You’ll be able to take as many photos and enjoy the beauty of Parisian monuments, gardens and streets from the 56th floor.

Photo Credit: y.caradec@Flickr.

Photo Credit: y.caradec@Flickr.

7. Janiculum Hill

Janiculum Hill, located in western Rome, provides one of the most awe inspiring views of the ancient city. If you climb up to the hill’s terrace, a broad view of Rome’s countless domes, monuments and churches will be waiting for you. After you’ve properly admired Rome from above, take the chance to  visit the San Pietro Montorio church and the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, a baroque fountain built by Pope Paul V, on the hill as well.

Photo Credit: Dark Rome Tours & Walks@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Dark Rome Tours & Walks@Flickr.

 

Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Fashion Night Out: The Best Way to Shop is with Champagne

 

Vogue Fashion Night Out was started in 2009 as a means to encourage consumers to shop  and support the fashion industry during the economic downturn. Co-sponsored by Vogue and Council of Fashion Designers of America, Fashion Night Out (FNO) has become a celebration of fashion and style. The event takes place on various nights within September all over the world in cities like New York, Paris, Berlin and Londonfno. In it’s sixth year, London FNO includes many iconic fashion boutiques, department stores, flagships and high-street chains that make London such a brilliant fashion capital.                                                       

Last night, I had the considerable pleasure of partaking in Fashion Night Out. If you have never been to a Fashion Night Out, like myself, you have got a lot to look forward too. This year, there were over 70 participating stores that offered free champagne and special deals to  visitors. Each store had a specific competition event that encouraged pIMG_3137[1]eople to make  purchases and discover new designers. Fashion Night Out coordinators placed Vogue editors, models and fashion bloggers in certain stores throughout the night. The Vogue editors hosted fashion talks about the industry and where trends are headed in the next season. I went to see Katie Phalen at Topshop; after her talk, she chose her favorite Topshop looks. Needless to say, those selections sold out within minutes. Models were on hand to showcase new collections while chatting with us common folk.

 

 

I began my night by taking the tube to Bond Street, and wondering down Oxford Street. The first stop of the evening was to Zara. The Spanish based retailer greeted its guest with  male models wearing  Zara clothing, serving drinks and disbursing maps for Fashion Night Out. I was soon informed that the store- as along with others- had Fashion Night Out one day sales for attendees. Trust me, you have not lived until you have shopped while being served Prosecco by models. As the night progresses, queues start to get a bit lengthy, so my suggestion is to go early and skip the long wait time. The event went from 6 pm to 11 pm, and as I made my way to Regent Street, my shoulder and arms got tired from all of the goodies I received from each store. Some of the gifts raffled ranged from free samples of Marc Jacobs cologne, a gift card at Aldo, to skin supplies from Clinique.4985085880_b92646bfe9_o

 

Loving Apartments offers some wonderful apartments located near this event located in Covent Garden, West End and around Oxford Street. I would have loved to stopped by my apartment on Oxford street rather than suffering on the tube. If there isn’t a Fashion Night Out close to where you live, plan your trip to London and stay with Loving Apartments.

Winter Wonderlands of Europe: Christmas Markets

The countdown to Christmas is on. The children are anticipating opening all their shiny, packaged gifts early in the morn’. The smell of goodies is wafting from all the bakeries and kitchens you pass.

It’s lovely.

But if you want to feel the full extent of all the holiday festivities, you should visit Europe’s most popular Christmas Markets. They’re magical – the Winter Wonderlands of Europe. Luckily, many of the Christmas Markets can be found in European cities in which Loving Apartments offers affordable accommodation to make you comfortable during the holiday season.

Market at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche

Photo Credit: Eirik Newth@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Eirik Newth@Flickr.

The Christmas Market at Kaiser Wilhem Gedächtniskirche is one of the most celebrated Christmas Markets in Berlin, which is something to boast about because Berlin hosts around 60 Christmas markets each holiday season. This market is chockfull of holiday decorations, ornaments, wreaths, toys, jewellry and oodles of gift options. But you’ll probably be most enticed by the wonderful scents of all the Christmas treats – hot cocoa, roasted almonds, mulled wine, fruit glazed sausages and so much more. Millions of lights surround the Breitscheidplatz, and in the middle of the square stands a majestic Christmas tree at 20 metres high. You’ll leave the market with your Christmas shopping completed, your stomach satisfied and your heart warm.

Fira de Santa Llucia

Photo Credit: Barcelona cat@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Barcelona cat@Flickr.

The Fira de Santa Llucia makes its home in front of Barcelona‘s cathedral and dates back to the 18th century. This Christmas market has become the most classic market in Spain to pick up all your festive decorations and gifts. The market is especially famous for its many stalls of mistletoe, Christmas trees and caga tiós. Caga tiós is a special tradition of Catalan Christmases and can be translated as “poo logs.” The log has a painted smiling face, and children take care of the log by covering it by a blanket or feeding it every day from December 8 to Christmas. That way, on Christmas Eve, the Caga tió will be sure to plop out lots of Christmas goodies.

Christmas Markets in Old Town Square and Wencelas Square

Photo Credit: Boris Tylevich@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Boris Tylevich@Flickr.

Prague has been declared to be a “winter wonderland” setting, uniting both the locals and tourists in festivity in its Christmas markets. The most popular markets can be found in the Old Town Square and Wencelas Square. The markets have become mostly famed for their beautiful choir music that rings out as you peruse all the toys, winter wear and homemade goods. You can enjoy your Czech beer as you salivate over the spit-roasted pigs, barbecued sausages and all the pastries. A tree from the Krkonose Moutains is spotlighted in the middle of the Old Town Square in a flurry of lights and ribbons. You can find a hearty Christmas tree in the middle of Wencelas Square as well.

Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market

 

Budapest Christmas Market

Photo Credit: TopBudapestOrg@Flickr. 

Every year Budapest hosts a holiday market in Vörösmarty Square, in the heart of the city. What better place to celebrate this joyful season? There is a special program at the market almost every day whether it be a concert, play, folk dancing or a puppet show. You’ll also find a wide array of artisan products and traditional Hungarian Christmas foods. You’ll be lured into the market by stuffed cabbage in roasted goose thigh, pork knuckle and grilled sausage and meat. Not only is the market a lighthearted Christmas hub, but also a cultural hub for Budapest.

 

Campo Santa Stefano

Photo Credit: mararie@Flickr.

Photo Credit: mararie@Flickr.

The Christmas Market in Campo Santa Stefano in Venice is unique because it only sells local Venetian products – masks, nativities, wooden toys, handmade stationary, winter greens, lace, linen, glassware and too much more to list. These artisan items will make the perfect gift for your loved ones to unwrap on Christmas day. The square of the market fills up with little wooden cottage fronts, creating a quaint ambiance for your shopping and celebrating. You’ll want to go to the market at night to see it ablaze with fairy lights and to catch one of the late night concerts that this Venetian Christmas Market is known for.

 

 

Stop to Smell the Roses: Fabulous Flower Markets

There’s nothing quite like a Sunday morning. No hurries. No obligations. Just a day to enjoy yourself before the busy week rolls around again. You’ve got the entire day in front of you. Take a moment to do some reading and brew yourself some coffee. Then why not take a stroll to the flower market to amble through the vendors and pick up some color for your day.

A Sunday morning like this is within your reach with Loving Apartments. Loving Apartments offers comfortable accommodation for you to take a holiday in many locations throughout Europe. Fortunately, some of those locations are home to vibrant flower markets.

Columbia Road Market in London

The Columbia Road Flower Market in London is open on Sundays from 8 am until around 3 pm. During these hours, the street overflows with blooms, greenery and sweet aromas. However, the aromas are not only from the flowers, but also from the fresh pastries and coffee from the bakeries and cafés that surround the burst of floral. Antique shops, art galleries and vintage clothing stores are also snuggled in along the market, adding a sense of quirkiness to the road.

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Photo Credit: Dana Wolthuizen

Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam

The Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam can boast that it is the only floating flower market in the world. The floating market is found on Singel between Muntplein and Koningsplein in Amsterdam’s southern canal belt. The flower shops are housed in a row of floating barges – an ode to the days in which flowers were delivered to Amsterdam from the countryside by boats. Tulips are the specialty of the market, which should come as no surprise. However, the market has so much more than just tulips. They have almost every fresh flower imaginable and also houseplants, seeds and all the gardening necessities.

Photo Credit: Massimo Catarinella @ Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Massimo Catarinella @ Wikipedia.

 

Marché aux Fleurs in Paris

Open daily, the Marché aux Fleurs may be the most fragrant and picturesque market that you’ll find within Paris. It’s an oasis of petals and foliage on the I’île de la Cité along the banks of the River Seine. If you want to experience the market at its finest, you should visit on a Sunday when the bird market is open along with the flower market. Visitors to the bird market can buy birds of all kinds from roosters and chickens to canaries, finches, parrots and other rare species. All the accessories for the birds are offered as well. Bird song is the perfect background to your perusing.

Photo Credit: Jim Linwood @ Wikipedia.

Photo Credit: Jim Linwood @ Wikipedia.

 

Mercat de la Concepció in Barcelona

The Mercat de la Concepció in Barcelona features a 24 hour flower market on the facade on Valencia Street. The market satisfies your needs for flora all day and all night, whether it be for a last minute romantic gift or for a late night hospital visit.  You know that you are nearing the flower area of the market when the enticing scent of the blooms begins to edge out the scents of the food stalls located in other areas of the market.

Photo Credit: Oh-Barcelona.com @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: Oh-Barcelona.com @ Flickr.

 

Campo dei Fiori in Rome

Campo dei Fiori, which translates to “field of flowers,” is the oldest open air market in the center of Rome. The piazza offers a large collection of fresh flowers for you to browse every day along with local produce and artisan creations as well such as pottery, paintings and textiles. It serves as a colourful haven from the modern and fast-paced supermarkets.

Photo Credit: OliverN5@Flickr.

Photo Credit: OliverN5@Flickr.

 

Hens in Elegance

Ladies, weddings are stressful. There is so much to keep track of – the dress, flowers, invitations, seating charts, caterers and so much more. These few things probably only make a small dent in the “head spinning” to-do list. So when it’s time for your much anticipated hen party, you’ve certainly earned a day of pampering and a night out in the city with your girls. You deserve to have just as much fun, if not more, than the groom. What better place to do this than Paris, the iconic city of love?

Photo Credit: Frankensteinnn@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Frankensteinnn@Flickr.

Start the first evening of your Parisian weekend off right by paying a visit to Oberkampf with its chic nightlife scene and trendy clubs such as Café Charbon and Pop In. If you are feeling a bit mischievous, make your way to the Pigalle district, the home of cheeky shops, famous cabarets and burlesque shows and of course, the infamous Moulin Rouge.

Girls, what’s the best way to recover from all the fun you had the night before? That’s right. Shopping. Stroll along Champs-Elysées or Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré with windows full of glamour and garments featuring designers like Chanel, Gucci, Valentino and Dior. If shopping doesn’t take your fancy, spend the day immersing yourself in Parisian culture with a visit to the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, countless other art galleries or the many lovely gardens and parks that Paris has to offer. No need to feel rushed, take all the time you wish while enjoying brunch or a glass of wine at a quaint café. You’ll need plenty of rest in order to let your hair down for one last night with the ladies before your big wedding day.

Photo Credit: mroach@Flickr.

Photo Credit: mroach@Flickr.

So far, the hen party is missing one very important component – comfortable accommodation. Loving Apartments can take care of that pesky problem with multiple accommodation options that are conveniently located near shopping, cultural and nightlife districts – pleasing both your older female relatives and your best friends as well. The apartments’ proximity to such locations gives you the option of using your preferred method of traveling around Paris whether that be walking, using the metro or hailing a taxi. Not only does Loving Apartments give you convenience through their locations, but also through the method of making reservations with their  Big Group Booking Tool. This unique tool allows guests to specify how many people that need to be accommodated, how many nights they plan on staying and their preferred sleeping accommodations. The Big Group Booking Tool then assesses your needs and instantly calculates the cost. No worries about having a group too large, apartments are offered in the same building so that everyone in your party can stay under one roof while enjoying their own space and privacy.

Loving Apartments invites you to put aside your wedding anxiety and enjoy a Parisian hen party with your family and all your best girlfriends. Relax, pack your bags, and enjoy Paris.

Click here for the Big Group Booking Tool: http://lovingapartments.com/France/Paris/Groups

5 Activities that are Unique to London

Sure, there are loads of sights to see in London. But what can you do that doesn’t just require you to look and not touch? The key to having fun in London is to actually experience it. So get out from behind that camera shutter and engage in some hands-on activities that are unique to London, because there is no where else in the world where you can experience them.

1. Hop Aboard a Boat Tour on the Thames

There are several river cruises available to Londoners and visitors alike through sightseeing tours such as City Cruises or London RIB Voyages. Float past the Houses of Parliament, the Globe Theater, the Tower of London and the Royal Palace of Greenwich. You’ll be able to see all the iconic sights from a new perspective while enjoying the commentary and the peaceful water ride. If you’re interested in a more thrilling ride, there are speedboat tours available that will zip you right down the river, leaving all other boats in your wake.

Photo Credit: string_bass_dave@Flickr.

Photo Credit: string_bass_dave@Flickr.

2. Go for a Spin on the London Eye

Buy a ticket to ride in a London Eye capsule and see remarkable London views from above. The Eye was originally built as a part of the 2000 millennium celebrations, and it has been one of London’s top hits since then. You’ll reach the height of 135 metres at the top of the Eye. A full rotation takes approximately 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to relish the stunning view.

Photo Credit: .Martin.@Flickr.

Photo Credit: .Martin.@Flickr.

3. Embark on a “Jack the Ripper” Walking Tour

Jack the Ripper walking tours are offered every night. You begin the journey by Tower Hill and wander down the streets and alleyways that Jack the Ripper stalked. Prepare yourself for a dramatic guided tour that will give you the chilling history of the Ripper and his victims. Previously, the identity of Jack the Ripper was a mystery, but now DNA evidence has shed light on the Ripper’s identity as a 23 year-old Polish immigrant. It will be interesting to see how this new information will change these nightly tours.

Photo Credit: Ben124.@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Ben124.@Flickr.

4. Afternoon Tea at the Savoy

There’s nothing more British than having afternoon tea, and why not do it in style at the Thames Foyer at The Savoy? You can enjoy a cup of tea, homemade scones and savory cakes and pastries underneath a glass dome as a pianist serenades the room. It all makes for a magical afternoon in which you feel like you’ve just walked into a Downton Abbey episode. Don’t forget to bring your manners and dress smartly.

Photo Credit: Mister-E@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Mister-E@Flickr.

 

5. Hitch a Ride on London’s Ghost Bus

The London Ghost Bus Tour gives you the chance to see the haunted side of London. You’ll jump aboard a classic 1960′s bus and hear about the the murders, torture and execution that took place on London’s streets by the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. You’ll be spooked, but also amused by the comedy horror theatre performance given by the guide. After the tour, you’ll never be able to look at the London through the same eyes again.

Photo Credit: lukaszzelezny@Flickr.

Photo Credit: lukaszzelezny@Flickr.