St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London exterior

For those who have been reading awhile, you’ll know I love trying new things. If you’re new here – I love trying new things *smile*. It’s what I enjoy most about London and what makes the city so special. There is always something to discover, whether it be a new food market, latest pop-up, show, or event.

Needless to say, when I was invited to experience London and Paris with Renaissance Hotels to celebrate their fourth annual Global Day of Discovery, I was pretty excited. Combine my love of travel and new experiences – I’m there.

The Global Day of Discovery is an initiative set up by Renaissance Hotels, to help inspire travellers to explore the local culture and quirks in different ways. They’re passionate about giving guests a truly authentic experience when visiting a destination.

Arriving at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, I stood outside and marvelled at the scale of the hotel and it’s beautiful, Victorian Gothic architecture. No doubt about it, this is one spectacular hotel that deserves every bit of awe and admiration.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London exterior clock tower

Originally opened as Midland Grand Hotel by Queen Victoria in 1873, it closed in 1935 before being used as railway offices for many years. In the 1960’s it was set for demolition, luckily it was petitioned and given a Grade 1 heritage status.

What a shame it would have been to lose such a striking landmark! The building has gone through years of restoration and refurbishment to become the luxury, 5-star hotel that stands today.

You’re right in thinking it looks like something out of Harry Potter – it was used in two of the films, as well as quite a few other well known movies and television series.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Foyer

Walking through the entrance, a sense of calm instantly came over me after the hustle and bustle of rush hour commuters at Kings Cross. Natural light streamed in along the length of the atrium through a high glass ceiling making me feel like I was still outdoors rather than in a hotel reception area.

I later learned that this was actually where the drivers of horse-drawn carriages used to pull up, dropping passengers off at the station. An interesting history fact that made sense of the indoor/outdoor feel.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Foyer Meetings

A beautiful sweet, floral and wooden scent filled the air, while guests scattered around tables in the foyer were busy typing away on their laptops and finishing up meetings for the day. No doubt hurrying to get to the adjourning hotel bar!

After checking in and being led to my room, the view on the other side of the door took me by pleasant surprise.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Chambers Suite

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Chambers Suite Bed

Awaiting was a spacious, open-plan suite with its own lounge area, fireplace, separate office space tucked around the corner and my favourite, a gigantic marshmallow bed. It was so big, it was nearly possible to get lost amongst the plush, squishy pillows.

There’s nothing I love more than melting into a comfortable, oversized bed with luxurious bedding at a hotel and the St. Pancras Renaissance certainly delivered and exceeded all expectations.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Bar Entrance

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Bar

After a quick freshen up, it was time to meet for canapés in the Booking Office Bar & Restaurant. Another impressive space in the hotel, it is actually what used to be the ticket hall of the original station. Behind the 29m-long bar, glass panes protect the detailed woodwork of the old ticket booth windows.

A very grand spot to perch for an evening cocktail, or two.

After all the introductions were made, we toasted to the evening while plate after plate of mouth watering food kept being brought out and placed in front of us.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Flat Bread

Flat bread topped with melted cheese, vine ripened tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, rocket and shaved parmesan.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Burger Sliders

Mini burger sliders with wagyu beef, crisp lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomato and smoked bacon relish.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken and garden leaf salad with mixed lettuce, shaved cucumber, carrot and pomegranate, but…

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Pulled Pork Croquettes

…The star of the show for me were the delicious confit pork croquettes served accompanied with an apple mayonnaise. Perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, the tender pulled pork inside was soft and flavourful.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch

While we were nibbling away, one of the barmen came over to make us our own sharing bowl of punch in the centre of the table.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Making

While he went about mixing, he enthusiastically explained the history behind the opening of the original railway hotel, Midland Grand and the popular punch culture at the time during London’s Victorian era. Honouring the building’s past and flavours of that period, it’s a tradition that the St. Pancras Renaissance is reviving, right down to details like the hand-made copper bowls.

Old school becoming new school?

He certainly wasn’t shy with quantities as bottle after bottle of cherry liqueur, orange liqueur, brandy and champagne were poured in.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Mixing

He mixed,

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Pouring

And poured,

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Last Drop

And made sure every last drop was added.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Cup

Ladled into our cups, it tasted delicious, but certainly did pack a punch!

With our bellies full and thirsts quenched, the evening still wasn’t quite over and there was one more event lined up for our group.

Feeling like I'm back in Thailand 🔆

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Waiting to be picked up to be taken to our next location for the evening, I couldn’t help myself and had to get a photo in the hotel’s brightly painted tuk-tuk. Fond memories of past holidays in Thailand came rushing back sitting at the entrance.

Ah, nostalgia.

Carousel London Sofar Sounds Music Gig

As we pulled up outside Carousel in Marylebone, the last surprise we discovered was a secret Sofar sounds music gig. Holding intimate gigs in over 100 cities worldwide, they’re hard to get tickets to due to limited ticket capacity because of venue size and popularity.

When you apply, you don’t find out if you have been lucky enough to secure a ticket until a week before the gig and you have no idea of venue, or who you will be seeing until a couple of days prior.

Performed in all sorts of spaces from bars to people’s living rooms, the aim is to bring the best new music to intimate and unusual venues to a dedicated audience.

Carousel London Sofar Sounds Music Gig Set Up

Following the staircase underground, we came to an open concrete room where film and light crews were setting up for the first act of the evening. The vibe was laid back and the crowd was varied, but everyone was there for the sole purpose of enjoying good music by talented musicians.

Carousel London Sofar Sounds Music Gig Ella Martini

The amazingly talented @andreyatriana at last night's underground @sofarsounds gig.

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We saw four acts, Ella Martini, Orlando Seale & the Swell, the energetic Andreya Triana, and Halfpenny Pass who each played a short set of several songs. If you’re passionate about music, sign up and get yourself along to one of these gigs.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Night Exterior

As we pulled back into the hotel’s entrance after our outing, the facade lit against the dark night sky welcomed us back and I happily retired to my suite, flopped into my marshmellow bed and spread like a starfish and drifted into a peaceful sleep ready for the following day’s trip to Paris.

I was a guest of Renaissance Hotels, the hotel brand helping people all over the world Live Life to Discover. All excursions were planned by the hotels’ Navigators, who are dedicated experts in suggesting different activities and booking exclusive events for guests.

Staycation discoveries,

Looking at views of Lake Hayes, New Zealand

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet around these parts. With views like this, you can see why I’ve been a little distracted. For the first time in nearly three years, I ventured back to my homeland for a few weeks over Christmas and New Years. I felt called to just be present for awhile. To enjoy being in the moment with friends and family and not worry about taking photos, or being on social media.

And, it felt really good.

Sometimes we all need a break. To re-set, re-focus and unplug.

I absolutely love blogging, but by the end of last year I was feeling a little burnt out. Blogging really is a full-time job in itself, so trying to to balance the amount of time it requires with a full-time job, commuting, quality relationship time, having fun with friends, travel, enjoying London, eating well, exercise AND ensuring my family know I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth over here – plus now planning a wedding – it was all catching up on me.

Being back in New Zealand was so rejuvenating. Even though it was a busy trip filled with loads of catch ups, it was wonderful to see everyone and was nice to know that after so long I can just slot back in like I’ve never left.

Ashamedly I had forgotten how stunning New Zealand’s landscape is. It truly is a special place. With two weeks in Christchurch and one week in Wanaka (one of my favourite parts of the world), we got to see many rivers, flower filled paddocks, plains, rolling hills, breathtaking turquoise lakes and snow covered mountains.

Come back for my future posts to see for yourself. I promise it won’t be long.

Happy 2015!

Cestr cow In Prague

Eating my way around the world is one of my favourite things about travel. Sampling different cuisines, seeing how different cultures come together around food and tasting new flavours.

It dawned on me that nearly every meal I eat gets photographed and documented, but I never post about restaurants I’ve visited and would recommend to others. With several friends visiting Prague this year and offering the same advice of where to eat (with positive feedback), I thought it made sense to write a post of my 5 best local places to eat in Prague for others visiting.

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Delicious lunch at Cestr In Prague

Čestr

Meat lovers, listen up. You need to go to this steakhouse. While not a stereotypical steakhouse, Čestr is spacious and bright with incredibly delicious, local Czech food. It does not get much more fresh than here. With their own in-house butcher, the cuts of meat on the menu changes daily depending on what they have that day. Diners can even watch the butchers hard at work behind their glassed work area within the restaurant.

My recommendation: Try the steak tartare. While raw mince doesn’t sound too appealing, the meat here is so fresh which brings out all the flavour. Rub the garlic on the toast, then top with the mince and egg mixture.

Location: Near the Muzeum metro.

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U Veverky

A little further out from the usual tourist haunts, U Veverky is a true local Prague restaurant. This was recommended to us by our Airbnb host as one of his favourite Czech restaurants and the food certainly didn’t disappoint.

It’s pub style, laid back and by no means a fancy night out, but the food is worth making the trip for.

They do have menus in English and we massively over ordered (the meal sizes here are very generous) to the waiter’s amusement. We took the rest to go though and enjoyed the remainder the following day.

My recommendation: Everything we ordered was delicious, so take your chances. The boys loved washing the food down with the Pilsner too.

Location: Near the Hradcanska metro.

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Best Pork Knuckles In Prague_Mlejnice Sign

Best Pork Knuckles In Prague at Mlejnice

Mlejnice

Another one for the meat lovers. Mlejnice is arguably the restaurant with the best pork knuckles in Prague. We literally found it by searching online for ‘best pork knuckles in Prague’ during our first visit.

Tucked behind a few cobbled streets not far from the Old Town Square, this restaurant gets very busy (others are in on the secret as well). They’re so popular, they even opened up a second restaurant nearby, though we continue to return to the original (Zatecka 17).

The meals at Mlejnice are huge and great value for money. I would recommend booking and if you can’t get in for dinner, head there for a hearty lunch.

My recommendation: Pork knee roasted in beer with horseradish and mustard. The chicken wiener schnitzel is also my favourite.

Location: Near The Old Town Square.

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Lokal

A modern Czech beer hall, Lokal is popular amongst locals, so be sure to book, or arrive early for a casual dinner.

The meals are smaller than Mlejnice, but it serves some delicious, traditional food.

My recommendation: Prague ham with creamy whipped horseradish is a tasty local starter.

Location: Near the Charles Bridge.

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Death by chocolate at Choco Cafe Prague

Choco-Café U Červené židle

If all of that meat and potatoes has filled you up, you may want to satisfy your sweet tooth?

If chocolate is for you, then you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven at Choco Cafe. The ultimate death by chocolate with hot chocolate, chocolate milkshake and horrice rolls. Fill up to your hearts content, though you may want to lie down afterwards.

Location: Between Charles bridge and Old Town Square

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If you are a real foodie and want an even more traditional experience, head along for one of the Taste of Prague food tours. Friends recommended this walking tour and we enjoyed the Prague Food and Culture Tour. A great way to get a lot of local knowledge, try food at several local restaurants and get a little bit of history thrown in.

Food heaven,

My ABC's of Travel

Themed posts make their way around the internet. I’m not sure of the origins for this travel prompt – it looks like it was popular back in 2012, but is currently making a comeback (perhaps due to a new wave of travel bloggers).

I saw this post on Amy and the Great World and thought it’s a great way to learn of new places and experiences amongst those of us who are interested in travel. After a bit of online searching, I’ve enjoyed reading others who have taken part, so thought I too would share my ABC’s of travel.

A // Age you went on your first international trip?

I was 9 when I went on my first international holiday to Australia with my Mum. We did a road trip up the East Coast and went to all the theme parks – Movie World, Sea World and Dreamworld – in the Gold Coast which were huge highlights. I also got to ride my first camel.

B // Best foreign beer you’ve had and where?

I’m not a huge beer person, but I love fruity beers. I had an amazing peach flavoured one in Amsterdam that I would love to try again.

C // Cuisine. Favourite?

Probably Thai food. I love all the fresh and delicious flavours. Ginger, or garlic chicken type dishes are my favourite.

Bonj Les Bains Beach Club Hvar Croatia

Relaxing at Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club in Hvar, Croatia

D // Destinations. Favourite and least favourite? Why?

Favourite: I fell in love with Croatia after visiting last Summer. It’s incredibly beautiful. The water is crystal clear, people friendly and the food delicious.

You can see more about Croatia in my posts:

Summer Love – Croatia  //  Relaxing at Bonj ‘Les Bains’ Beach Club, Hvar  //  Pinch Me In A Croatian Paradise

Of course I am biased, but New Zealand is also my favourite country. It is beautiful and offers so much landscape diversity for such a small country. You can find mountains, glaciers, plains, geysers, mud pools, lakes, waterfalls, natural hot pools, beaches and sand dunes… need I say more?

Least favourite: Possibly controversial to some, but Krakow in Poland. I had perhaps expected a lot more after visiting other European cities.

Great Wall Of China Marathon Finish Line with medal Yin and Yang Square

My first half marathon completed on the Great Wall of China.

E // Event you’ve experienced abroad that made you say “WOW!”?

Running The Great Wall Of China Half Marathon was an incredible event to be part of. I had always dreamed of visiting the Great Wall one day, but never imagined that it would be combined with running my first half marathon on it!

It was certainly one of those ‘pinch me’ moments in life.

After learning to dive in Nha Trang, Vietnam, scuba diving in Egypt also completely took my breath away. It’s a whole different world.

F // Favorite mode of transportation?

I was already a fan, but after experiencing luxury Christmas cruising on the Queen Mary 2 sailing from Southampton to New York, I fell in love with cruises even more.

You can’t beat flying either. There is always something exciting about arriving at the airport, boarding and getting to kick back and relax for a few hours watching movies.

G // Greatest feeling while travelling?

Freedom and discovery. Everything is new for you and you have no care in the world except enjoying the experiences.

H // Hottest place you’ve ever travelled to?

South East Asia in the peak April heat was intense. Being out on our motorbike during the day in 43 degree heat and 80% humidity was scorching.

Al fresco dining at Hotel Hippocampus, Kotor Montenegro

Al fresco dining at Hotel Hippocampus

I // Incredible service you’ve experienced and where?

Easy. Hands down it was at a small boutique hotel I stayed at in Kotor, Montenegro – Hotel Hippocampus. The Hotel Manager, Ranko was amazing. His service was outstanding especially during dinner and breakfast. He was really helpful and made our stay there so welcoming and memorable.

The hotel and rooms were beautiful (see for yourself on their website) and it is right in the old town of Kotor.

Also our week Transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 was incredible. Could not fault a single thing from our rooms, service, food, entertainment. LOVED the whole trip. There is a reason why it has the title of being the most magnificent ocean liner ever built. The fact it was Christmas and there were decorations everywhere, really added to the buzz.

J // Journey that took the longest?

I would have to say travelling between the UK and New Zealand is pretty far; about 30 hours worth of travel is a long time. I’m doing it again this Christmas.

Writing a postcard from Shanghai China

K // Keepsake from your travels?

I send a postcard to myself back in New Zealand from every destination I travel to. I like getting the stamps and post marks from each place. Once I return from my travels there is going to be a lot of reminiscing as I read them all again. It will be nice to keep as a collection from over the years.

L // Let-down sight. Where and why?

The Mona Lisa. It is so much smaller than you would expect and you have to fight your way through the crowd, which makes the experience of appreciating it less enjoyable.

M // Moment where you fell in love with travelling?

I set off from New Zealand to New York on my own when I was 18 to work as a camp counsellor. After the most amazing Summer, I remember sitting with friends near the George Washington Bridge one night looking towards the New York city skyline all lit up and thinking how incredible that very moment was.

There have been so many others, but that really sticks in my memory.

Hotel More Swimming Pool and Views

The hotel pool and views from Hotel More, Dubrovnik.

N // Nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?

That would be a tie between our Lux Apartment at the Hotel Hippocampus in Kotor, Montenegro and the Executive Suite at Hotel More in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Both were fantastic boutique hotels with great service. Hotel More even has its own bar in a cave that was discovered when they were building the hotel.

O // Obsession. What are you obsessed with taking photos of while travelling?

Everything! I take thousands of photos on every trip. My partner has the most incredible patience.

P // Passport stamps. How many and from where?

In my current passport I have 64 in total (New Zealand passports only last for five years). They are from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.

There are also a couple of unreadable stamps in there.

Q // Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where?

Hmmm… An abandoned village in Hvar, Croatia was really eerie.

Also, Vinpearl Land in Nha Trang, Vietnam. It’s a huge resort island with an amusement park, water park and an aquarium. You have to get the longest over water gondola in the world to get to the island and we thought it would be quite cheesy, but loved it and spent 12 hours there!

We recommended it to friends who were visiting Vietnam not long ago and they really enjoyed it as well.

R // Really frightening. One place you’ve visited where you felt unsafe or uneasy?

Luang Prabang in Laos. After an incident with our room being broken into there we felt very uneasy and watched by the locals. It was a pretty town, but we were happy to leave.

S // Splurge. Something you have no problem spending money on while travelling?

Experiences. Without a doubt.

I love staying in beautiful accommodation, but I would much rather spend money doing as much as I can in each place to see as much as possible.

Lowenbrau House at Oktoberfest Munich Germany

Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany

T // Touristy thing you’ve done?

Loads. Often the main sights are tourist attractions for a reason. It’s only when you get a chance to spend more time in a place that you really get to experience more local things to do.

I really enjoyed Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

U // Unforgettable travel memory?

There actually are too many. That is what I love about travelling. Every place leaves you with unforgettable memories.

V // Visas. How many and for where?

There are a total of 7 in my passport for Cambodia, China, Egypt, Japan, Laos, Vietnam, United Kingdom.

W // Wine. Best glass while travelling?

On my recent trip to Nantes in France I spent an afternoon wine tasting at the Château du Coing vineyard in Saint Fiacre sur Maine.

My new favourite wine is their beautifully sweet Audace du Coing. Unfortunately it isn’t available in the UK, but I would happily return to buy this wine by the box load.

Top of Kings Canyon_Northern Territory Australia

Top of the world at Kings Canyon, Australia

X // eXcellent view and where from?

There have been so many views during my travels from both up high and ground level. The world never ceases to impress me with amazing views.

From above, standing at the top of the World Trade Centre, two weeks before September 11 gave pretty breathtaking views of New York. Also being at the top of Kings Canyon in Australia and looking down was incredible.

Y // Years spent travelling?

I left New Zealand for New York 13 years ago when I was 18 and have boomeranged around the world since. I’ve also lived in Sydney, and been on a couple of trips that lasted several months before returning to New Zealand.

Now living in London I haven’t been home in nearly 3 years, so that is the longest I’ve ever been away.

Z // Zealous sports fans and where?

Arriving in London two weeks before the Olympics starting in 2012 was the best. There was such a great buzz everywhere and it was great getting to go to some of the Olympic and Paralympic events.

Your turn to take up the challenge! What are your ABC’s of travel? Write your own and leave me a link to your post in the comments. I’d love to read your travel experiences.

Happy alphabet-ing,

Les Anneaux with Notre-Dame de Bon-PortNotre-Dame de Bon-Port along the Loire Nantes France

When I last left you in Nantes, we had eaten cheese in a castle and explored a Gothic Cathedral. Having seen many of the striking historic buildings in the medieval and classical neighbourhoods, it was time to venture to the Island of Nantes to see one of the newer areas.

The sun was shining again, so I set off towards the river on foot. A little like Manhattan in New York, the Island of Nantes is right in the centre of the city (though on a much smaller scale). No boats, or ferries required. Just cross one of the eight bridges over the Loire and you will find yourself on the Island of Nantes.

Sign post island of Nantes France

There are two stars of the show that reside in the former shipyards on the western side of the island – an elephant and a carousel.

But, not just any old elephant and carousel.

es Machines de Lile The Grand Elephant walking Island of Nantes France

Les Machines de Lile The Grand Elephant spraying water Island of Nantes France

Two images of Le Grand Elephant. Les Machines de l’ile. Nantes © Jean-Dominique Billaud – Nautilus/LVAN

A 12m tall, rideable, moving, mechanical, water-spraying elephant!

Les Machines de Lile Carrousel des Mondes Marins Island of Nantes France

Le Carrousel des Mondes Marins. Les Machines de l’ile. Nantes © Jean-Dominique Billaud – Nautilus/LVAN

AND the coolest steampunk carousel I’ve ever laid eyes on.

This is the ultimate carousel for adults (and children of course) if ever I saw one!

An imaginary world meets the mechanical workings of Leonardo da Vinci to create these visions.

Les Machines de Lile closed Carrousel des Mondes Marins Island of Nantes France

My only disappointment was that I had waited until the last day of my stay in Nantes to visit Les Machines de L’ile to see The Grand Elephant, The Gallery and The Marine Worlds Carousel, but they were closed!

Summer hours had ended the day before, so it was no longer open on a Monday during the cooler months.

Sadly, no elephant, or carousel rides for this big kid at heart.

Les Machines de Lile closed Carrousel des Mondes Marins with crowd Island of Nantes France

These visitors hadn’t realised either, so we all stood on the outside looking up at this marvelous creation thinking of all the fun we could have been having.

I would definitely recommend checking the rides and area out. Just make sure to plan around the opening times to save any tears. If you do go, make sure to let me know how it was!

Grue Titan Crane Island of Nantes France

Further along (you can’t miss it), a gigantic 43m yellow crane remains from previous boat loading days. Now disused historical monuments, this and one other stand tall in the skyline showing the industrial heritage of Nantes.

Nantes Green Line Trail In The City Centre France

One of my favourite things about Nantes (which fellow geographically challenged travellers like myself will appreciate) – if in doubt, just follow the green line!

The full 16km loop takes you to 40 different points of interest around the city including picnic areas, sculptures, sights and museums. Such a creative and tourist friendly idea that encourages visitors to walk and see more of the city.

Use a Nantes map to guide you and if you have a Nantes Pass, most of the attractions have free entry.

Les Anneaux by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain along the Loire Nantes France

Les Anneaux along the Loire looking towards Church Notre Dame de Bon Port Nantes France

Throughout Nantes is a playful mix of modern art while respecting the heritage of the city. The old and new don’t compete, but compliment each other and come together. It is a city that isn’t afraid to be creative and try new things, which makes for a very visually exciting (and photographic) place to visit.

Along the river I found this large 18 ring artwork by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain, The Rings. Looking very similar to our own St Paul’s in London, I spied the Notre Dame du Bon Port Basilica in the landscape. Old and new, new and old.

La Cantine du Voyage signage Island of Nantes France

La Cantine du Voyage Island of Nantes France

With all that walking, it was time to eat and meet up again with the rest of the conference crowd.

Luckily, following the green line, I ended up right where I was meant to be – at La Cantine du Voyage. It was certainly a popular spot with locals stretched out on the sun loungers, while others played foosball outdoors.

La Cantine du Voyage family Island of Nantes France

La Cantine du Voyage dinner Island of Nantes France

The Nantes tourism board kindly arranged for us to try this restaurant serving fresh and local food daily. The concept was simple. For a fixed price of €13 you got a starter, main and a glass of wine. The menu changed each day, but there was no option. You simply turn up and get what they are serving that day.

It’s a fun pop-up during Summer, with the interior designed to look like a cruise, or airport terminal. You feel a little like you are waiting to board somewhere.

I always enjoy getting together with friends for meals, so the large tables were great for groups to sit around and talk about the days events. That evening we were served a rock melon starter (popular in France) and chicken with potatoes and salad. There was also a carafe of local wine to wash it all down with of course.

Les Anneaux at night by Daniel Buren and Patrick Bouchain along the Loire Nantes France

With our stomachs full and the sun gone for the day, it was time to call it a night and enjoy the view of brightly lit neon rings on our walk back.

Illuminated,