Photo Essay: Maisons-Laffitte Parc Thoughout The Year

maisons-laffitte, france

You have to imagine the Parc de Maisons-Laffitte like an oasis in the concrete jungle of the Paris suburbs; an oasis to not simply stroll, picnic or play in — it’s an oasis to live in. Therefore, its preservation must be ensured.

A municipal association is deciding about each single construction project that could change the look of the park. You want a larger garage? Get the association to approve. You want to build a house? Get the association to approve (tough one!). You want to open a shop or restaurant? Deal with the immediate rejection. There are no commercial buildings in the Parc de Maisons-Laffitte, despite of its size: 7km². The park makes up for 60% of the surface of Maisons-Laffitte, while 40% of the city’s inhabitants live there.

Those 60% of Maisons-Laffite are a haven for castle lovers and horses (they have priority at all times and even better walkways than pedestrians do). The park is wild, lush, full of trees and birds (I have seen parakeets here) and undergoes an ever changing floral look. Maisons-Laffitte Parc is a great place to be for nature lovers, who seek a remote spot for living while being only a 20 minutes train ride away from Paris.

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Have a look at this city map, which puts the size of the Parc de Maisons-Laffitte into better perspective.

If you like this post you might also like Photo Essay: Dijon’s Owl Trail In Winter Look

Advertisements

Photo Essay: Dijon’s Owl Trail In Winter Look

Dijon is chouette. Literally!

I visited Burgundy’s capital during the Christmas holidays last year, aiming for some good wine, maybe a Kir or two and of cause a good sausage with Dijon mustard. Little else did I know about that place.

So like the majority of tourists I started exploring the city by following the owl trail (La Chouette), which leads through the town’s center and stops at 22 different points to make everyone discover Dijon’s history and charm.

Right there, on day 1, I was totally blown away how photogenic Dijon is. I thought it was so fabulous (chouette in French) indeed that I did not only climb up the old Tour Philippe le Bon in the heart of the town to marvel at the view above its rooftops, but I also revisited the same corners with my tripod after sunset.

Please browse my photo gallery for location descriptions:

If you like this post you might also like Photo Essay: Vivid Singapore

Photo Essay: Queensland, Australia

As we travelled from Cairns to Brisbane (North to South) we discovered that Queensland is much more than sunny beaches, surfers and adventure parks. There are also endless stretches of straight boring roads, millions of acres of sugar cane and in between — these treasures…

If you like this post you might also like Photo Essay: Northern Territory, Australia

Photo Essay: Northern Territory, Australia

How could I ever squeeze the words “freezing”, “dry”, “red”, “traditional”, “heat”, “crocodile”, “billabong”, “blue” and “bushfire” into one photo essay description without writing a novel? You’re right, I can’t. So let me just briefly discuss some weather phenomenons of the Northern Territory, which create a huge natural variety and diversity on the 1,800 kilometres between Australia’s tropical North and the continent’s arid centre.

During our first week in the Red Centre — around Alice Springs — we didn’t see a single cloud. Unfortunately, that clear blue sky over the desert didn’t offer much protection when temperatures dropped from comfortable 20°C over the day to uncomfortable 0°C at night. Camping fun!

That said, taking the plane to Darwin to spend our second week in the Northern Territory’s tropical North sounded like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Due to the wet season, when tropical cyclones and monsoons reign the northern top end, the Darwin region gets 9 times more rain each year than the central desert. While it didn’t rain during our stay (July = dry season), we got to see some clouds up north; and we were finally back to comfortable camping temperatures at night.

Let’s have a look at how these weather differences influence(d) the land, nature and animals of the Northern Territory.

If you like this article you might also want to check out my:

Photo Essay: Vivid Singapore

After a 1 hour bus ride through Singapore’s CBD in 2011 (transit tourism), we figured it could be fun to spend more time in that city-state. So we went back for 1 week this year, crashing at friends.

While malicious tongues claim it’s not worth it to spend a whole week in Singapore, we wouldn’t agree. We were actually quite occupied, never bored, and didn’t even manage to see all places of interest. The locations we enjoyed most were the ones standing out for their colourful appearance. Please click on the photos below to read their captions and learn more.

Anja’s “Singapore To Do List” (for a 1 week visit):

  • Stroll around the Marina Bay to soak up the skyline (best combined with the daily laser show schedule)
  • Visit the Marina Bay Sands casino (bring your passport since you officially “leave” Singapore when entering the place) and cocktail bar on the roof (you better win some cash in the casino for this one)
  • Marvel at beautiful native plants and orchids in the Botanical Garden
  • Visit China Town and plan in enough time for the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, shopping and lunch
  • Walk in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and watch out for macaques
  • Do the 11km circuit to the Tree Top Walk and back in MacRitchie Reservoir
  • Visit Singapore’s Zoo and try to join 2 or 3 of their daily animal shows or feeding sessions
  • For more shopping, Orchard Street is a must, though I admit it made me really tired
  • Shopping on a local market however is fun; try to taste (or completely avoid) Durian fruits

Got time left?

  • Visit one of the men-made islands (e.g. Sentosa) in the South for some beach flair
  • Book a 1-hour-flight to Kuala Lumpur and visit Malaysia for a day

If you like this post you might also like Transiting Bangkok

Photo Essay: Tongariro, Middle-earth

Are you as excited about the latest The Hobbit trailer as I am? Five weeks from today I will sit in one of those wide and comfy cinema armchairs, glued to the screen, absorbing Peter Jackson’s latest visual tricks like a sponge, while marvelling at the Trilogy’s sceneries.

mt ngauruhoe new zealand tongariro mt. doom

Mt. Ngauruhoe aka Mt. Doom, in Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Best thing about it: I have been there! Most outdoor scenes have been filmed in New Zealand, just like most scenes for The Lord of the Rings. New Zealand is officially Middle-earth; and Mt. Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park is the most popular location among orcs fans, as they can attempt to climb “Mt. Doom” and conquer Mordor.

One does not simply walk into Mordor? Oh well, I must have gotten lucky the last 6 times I visited. Yes — visited. I looked and behaved like a tourist in Mordor, and of course I captured it on film (in the form of a 16 GB memory card).

On a foggy day, the region is indeed all about doom and gloom (like in the movies). But on all other days, Tongariro is one surprisingly colourful place to discover. I have been lucky enough to visit the region during all 4 seasons. Each season is unique and totally worth it. But let’s allow some photos to talk for themselves.

Who else is looking forward to rediscover New Zealand in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies?

If you like this post you might also like Climbing Mount Taranaki from North Egmont

Photo Essay: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

When winter is coming to New Zealand, a Kiwi’s biggest concern is How to make the summer last a little longer.

Top answer: “Fly to Raro, mate!”

No sooner said than done, the waterproof GoPro, Mr ae.i and I found ourselves back in a time travel machine (aka flight VA173, leaving Auckland each Friday at 7pm, arriving 4 hours later in Rarotonga, on Thursday shortly before midnight).

Being a Pacific Island, Rarotonga is all about white beaches, coconut palm trees, and stunning sunsets over a turquoise lagoon. But the island gets mountainous in the centre, with Te Manga exceeding 650 metres.

That peak is where surprisingly many rain clouds get stuck, which supported the creation of a dense forest (I will write up another article about the island crossing through that forest – stay tuned).

So if you find yourself under a grey cloud on one side of the island, grab your scooter and drive 15 kilometres (half way) to the other side. You will likely end up under blue sky and sun. We explored the lagoon each single day; by kayak, paddleboard or while snorkeling. Enjoy our Top 25 Paradise Photos below.

If you like this post you might also like Photo Essay: New Caledonia