Ponte di Tiberio – Bridging the Centuries

Ponte di Tiberio – Bridging the Centuries

After eating our way through Bologna, the food capital of Italy, Kathryn from Travel with Kat and I took the one hour train journey down to Rimini.  There we met up with our fellow BlogVille housemates Erin  and Norbert at the BlogVille apartments and arranged to head into Rimini’s Centro Storico for a quick exploration before sundown and a bite to eat.   Rimini’s pretty old town has a number of notable historic structures but one that really caught my attention was the ancient Bridge of Tiberius or Ponte di Tiberio at the end of Via Corso d’Augusto.

Ponte di Tiberio, Rimini


The Meeting Place, St Pancras Station

The Meeting Place, St Pancras Station

The Meeting Place is a 30ft statue, by artist Paul Day, which stands under the station clock at St Pancras railway station in the International Eurostar terminal.  The piece is intended to reflect the romanticism of train travel and is reminiscent of a scene from the film Brief Encounter.

Meeting Place Statue St Pancras Station London

Meeting Place Statue St Pancras

The base of the statue encompasses a high-relief frieze which depicts scenes from the history of Tube and train travel.

The 20 tonne, bronze sculpture is a solid focal point amid the comings and goings of a busy station and, for me, serves to remind that within all the hustle and bustle of arrivals and departures some families, friends and lovers are experiencing poignant personal moments.  Is this couple reuniting or saying au revoir…?

This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge theme ‘Kiss’

If you’d like to know more about St Pancras Station and its history check out this excellent post from Lucy at On The Luce

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Saint-Germain-des-Prés – Paris’ Sweet Spot

Saint-Germain-des-Prés – Paris’ Sweet Spot

If you adore chocolate, sweets, French pastries and macarons then your trip to Paris isn’t complete until you’ve treated your taste buds to a tour of the Paris chocolate shops and patisseries of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  In less than one square mile no less than fifteen of the sweetest Parisian establishments have set up shop in the chic 6th arrondissement – follow me to some world-class chocolatiers and confectioners for a foray into Paris’ sweet spot…


Macerons at Ladurees

Macarons at Ladurees

First stop is Ladurée a pastel coloured, picture postcard of a shop where you’ll discover a bewildering array of macarons, meringues and chocolates.   Ladurée is famous for inventing the double-sided macaron – two delicate almond meringue biscuits in an array of colours and filled with creamy ganache. Salted caramel, rose, orange blossom and violet are just some of the myriad of flavours.  There’s a difference between Macarons and Macaroons – the latter are much heavier, made with coconut and sometimes dipped in chocolate – not the same at all.  So now you know. There is a small tea-room attached to the shop where you can also indulge your French fancies.

21, Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris – Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés
For Londoners there’s a Ladurée in Covent Garden

Henri le Roux

Henri le Roux Caramels

Henri le Roux Caramels

I always thought toffee was toffee – until I tasted a Henri le Roux soft, velvety, melt-in-the-mouth, sent from heaven, caramel.  These silky, salted, butter caramels knowns simply as CBS (caramel-beurre-salé) are simply sublime.   On walking into the Henri le Roux boutique-style shop, his first in Paris, you’ll be dazzled by the bright jewel coloured caramels in exotic autumn flavours of Saffron, Pear, Orange, Jasmine and Ginger.   Flavours change with the seasons which is a good excuse to check back and see what delights the Spring collection holds.  Pop through to the chocolate side of the shop and you’ll be enveloped in the rich, bitter aroma of cocoa.  Be warned you may never want to leave this shop.

1 Rue de Bourbon le Château – 75006 Paris – Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon or Odéon

Read more: A Secret Paris Food Tour in Le Marais | A Literary Weekend Break in Paris

Pierre Marcolini

Pierre Marcolini Chocolates

Pierre Marcolini Chocolates

Some Parisian chocolate isn’t actually from Paris. Top Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini creates his chocolate from pure cocoa and travels the world in search of the best beans.  Annual summer, winter and Christmas collections mean that Marcolini sounds more like an Italian designer than a Belgian chocolatier.  More than 60 varieties displayed in neat rows of tempting deliciousness are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.  Fillings include violet and Earl Grey tea and more exotic flavours such as Moroccan pink pepper berries or bergamot infusion with fresh lemon and lime zest.   My favourite was the four spice – a dark chocolate infused with flavours of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger – all beautifully blended but each flavour standing out individually too. Chocolate covered marshmallows and macarons are available too and with Valentines Day coming up the white chocolate and raspberry hearts are sure to be best-sellers (hint!).

Pierre Marcolini Macerons

Pierre Marcolini Macerons

89, rue de Seine, 75006 Paris – Métro: Mabillon or Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Un Dimanche a Paris

Un Dimanche á Paris is a boutique chocolatier, patisserie, bar, restaurant and shop in-one – I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I walked in here!  Tucked away in an ancient little passage off Boulevard St. Germain this uber cool concept store offers chocolates, macarons, and patisserie perfection. There are shelves laden with caramel sauces and jars of spicy little chocolate-covered pink peppercorns, chocolates as far as you can see and of course the exquisite pastries.  Of the above shops this is the one place I’d like to go back and spend some ‘quality’ time.  Have a little drool over some of their creations…

Tartelette Citron

Tartelette Citron

Sweet salted butter caramel and peanut

Sweet salted butter caramel and peanut

4-6-8 Cour du Commerce Saint André 75006 ParisMétro: Mabillon, Odéon, Saint-Michel

So there you have it, some of the best Parisian Chocolatiers, Patisseries and confectioners all in one sweet little hub.

I hope I’ve tickled your taste buds and if you’d like to visit any of the shops mentioned I’ve added them to a handy little map.  Just for you. Sweet.




London – the view from the Shard

London – the view from the Shard

London’s skyscraper, The Shard, designed by architect Renzo Piano is an amazing visitor attraction.  ‘The View from the Shard’ on floors 69-72 is the only place where it is possible to see all of London at once. The 360 degree panoramic takes in the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Battersea Power Station, Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Park. I visited the Shard on a grey and mizzy opening day to see how many London landmarks I could spot.

The Shard from London Bridge

I love looking down on the world from way up high – be it from a hot air balloon, a plane window or the highest of buildings.  I’ve viewed Paris from the Eiffel Tower, Toronto and its islands from the CN Tower, New York from the observation deck of the World Trade Centre and Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon and Rio de Janeiro by helicopter.  Obviously I don’t suffer from vertigo.  When I heard about The View from the Shard I knew instantly that I had to see my capital city from its highest point.

Check out the views from the time I looked out over Dubai from the Burj Khalifa


What’s it like to visit the Shard

The Shard Map of LondonWe started our visit in the lobby before going through security where coats and bags pass through x-ray machines and people through a scanner – much like airport security only friendlier.  We’re directed to the first lift through an area with a map of London covering the walls and floor with cryptic clues marking each landmark.  The Shard experience is ‘queue free’ because visitors choose the time and date of their visit so with a limited number of tickets available per slot we didn’t have to wait.

The first lift, one of 44 in the building, went up the first 33 floors at a rate of 6 metres a second.  We shooshed upwards smoothly and quietly feeling nothing but a small tummy flip as we came to a halt. The lift attendants were chatty and gave out random facts like that 95% of the building’s construction materials are recycled.  The second lift whisked us up the next 35 floors to level 68, the cloudscape, and as we stepped out my ears popped. Onwards and upwards and a short flight of stairs and we’re at floor 69 home to the triple-height main viewing gallery.  The ascent took no more than a minute; to take the stairs – all 306 flights – doesn’t bear thinking about…

The Shard - Floor 69

The day had started wet and grey but luckily the rain had cleared and the sun even put in a brief appearance although raindrops still speckled the glass.  On a clear day the epic views stretch for up to 40 miles.

View of the Thames

View of Tower Bridge from The Shard

We picked out many of the capital’s major landmarks – with the help of twelve interactive telescopes you can pinpoint up to 200 famous buildings and monuments.

The view from the Shard

Shadow of The Shard

After half an hour on this level we climbed up another short set of stairs to reach floor 72. This is the highest viewing point of any building in Western Europe at a spectacular height of 244 metres.

The Shard - Open-air viewing platform, Floor 72

Partially open to the elements this level is surrounded by massive shards of glass. These gradually taper up to a peak making up the spire. This takes The Shard to a full breathtaking 1,016 feet.

Top of The Shard

Looking up to the peak

Cleaning The Shard's Windows

11,000 panes of glass to clean

View from The Shard towards Westminster

View from The Shard

View from The Shard

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Shard and I’d love to return and view London at dusk. Afternoon tea at The Shard sounds pretty good too.  A stay high up at the hotel in the Shard, The Shangri La, would be an experience too.

The Shard

What’s to know…

How much time did we spend at The Shard?  Set aside 1 to 2 hours – we were there around 1.5 hours and we weren’t rushed through the visit.

Shard Tickets

Prices – In Advance: Adults: £25.95, Children: £19.95  On the day: Adults: £30.95, Children: £24.95
These Prices for General Admission at April 2017


Operating Hours
Daily 9am to 10pm except  25 December. Timed tickets every 30 minutes until last entry at 8.30pm. The Shard closes at 10pm.

Getting there – Tube London Bridge (Northern Line, Jubilee Line) Overground/Network Rail London Bridge

The Shard Viewing Gallery
Bermondsey Street
London SE1

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