Arianwen – travel blogger


Every other week, Discover Walks will share with some great insight from Travel bloggers from around the world who fell in love with Paris. They will share their favorites addresses and things to do while in Paris. Because genuine advice and stories are so important to us, in addition to our born-and-raised Parisian tour stories, we now bring you real advice from fellow travelers.

Bonjour Arianwen, can you tell us more about who you are?

Hi! My name’s Arianwen, I’m 33 and I’m originally from a pretty little village just north of York.

Why did you start writing beyondblighty?

I started my blog back in 2011 in the run up to an epic solo trip through South America. It was partly so I could document my experiences and share them with friends and family, but I also hoped it might help to nudge my scientific journalism career in the direction of travel writing. Now I’m a freelance scientific editor, which enables me to travel wherever and whenever I like and to blog at the same time, so I have the best of both worlds.

Why did you start traveling?

My parents were the ones who made me realize how much I enjoy experiencing new places. With them both being teachers, we used to visit France every year for the full six weeks of the summer holidays, caravan in tow. I loved being out in nature, hiking, kayaking, cycling and splashing about in the sea. I also developed a fascination with wildlife. After watching nature documentaries all my life growing up, and then studying zoology at university, I wanted to travel to places like the Serengeti and Galapagos, and I’ve since achieved those dreams.

What’s special about your blog?

I wouldn’t say I’ve done a particularly great job of developing a niche for myself, but the main focuses of my blog are adventure activities (particularly scuba diving) and wildlife. I’m also a huge advocate of sustainable tourism, so if I see an opportunity to promote responsible practices and conservation I will take it.

What would be your top 3 things to do in Paris?

My first recommendation for Paris would be to put on some comfortable shoes and take a walk. It’s a beautiful city and you can discover so much more on foot. Plan the major landmarks in advance but allow yourself to get lost in the streets in between.

At some point, find yourself a quaint pavement patisserie and enjoy some of the world’s best baked goods while people watching. Secondly, round off your day with a show at the Moulin Rouge. It might not be the cheapest of events but it’s definitely worth saving for.

And finally, plan your trip around Rock en Seine – one of Europe’s biggest music festivals. This year it’s taking place at the end of August and I’m currently running a giveaway on my blog to win a pair of weekend tickets plus camping!

Your Top 3 favourite places in Paris?

It might be an obvious choice, but you can’t visit Paris without going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. The structure itself is fascinating to see up close, but it also affords you one of the best views of the city.

I would also recommend the Wall of Love, which features ‘I love you’ in 250 languages and makes you feel a bit gooey inside.

Finally, the Sacre Coeur is incredibly beautiful and has the added advantage of being situated on top of Montmartre – the highest point in the city.

Your favorite landmark in Paris?

My favourite landmark in Paris is one I haven’t consciously visited, because I only became aware of its existence last year. It’s called the ‘Sinking House’ and is located beside Montmartre near the top of the steps that lead to the Sacre Coeur.

It’s actually an optical illusion. If you take a photo of the hill at a certain angle and then crop it, it looks as though an entire terrace is being swallowed up by the ground.

Could you give us your recommendation to first timers in Paris?

Learn some French. Demonstrating you’ve made an effort with the language goes a long way with the locals and might prove useful if you need to ask for advice.

Make sure you have change for the Metro, but avoid it altogether if you have the option to walk instead.

Visit the Eiffel tower before sunset and watch the sun go down from the top. It’s a completely different experience when the twinkly lights come on at night.

And finally, if you want to see Paris but don’t have a partner to go with, go alone. It might be known as the city of love, but it’s empowering to wander its streets by yourself, heading in whichever direction you – and you alone – decide you’d like to go in. I’ve been once with a partner and once by myself and they were both highly rewarding and memorable experiences.

Thank you so much Arianwen, keep on enjoying Paris!

Merci beaucoup :-)

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