August 31, 2011

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (17)

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (16)

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (15)

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (14)

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (13)

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (12)

Chatsworth House : permanent art exhibition (11)

Nottingham Evening Post Ad

I had booked an ad quite a few weeks ago but due to "computer migration" the Evening Post has just told me they are going to publish the following from tomorrow :

"An alternative to group visits. You have been dreaming to go - or go back - to Paris ? But then you don't fancy to be in a group ? On the other hand if you don't know very well the city it can be frustrating to find your way round and to make decisions on visits, restaurants or practical issues.
Ben's Travel Services is for you : I'll meet you upon your arrival for all pragmatic issues including going from A to B. For parties up to 5. Ideal for long week ends.
I am not a travel agent. You will get your own transport tickets and accommodation. And I will pay for my own way as well :)
I am a French man living in Nottingham.
Basic package includes picking up and accompanying by public transport to your hotel and giving you advice for your stay. For more extensive services ask for a quote.

Email :"

And yes I'm still going to live in Nottingham !

August 21, 2011

Mid-August Stay in France (4)

When I'm in Orléans I mainly spend my time with my parents. On Friday we went for a walk along the river Loiret. This river is a re-emergence of the river Loire and it runs for about 15 kms before to throw back itself in the river Loire ! My parents actually live between the 2 rivers so they can enjoy both very easily.

August 19, 2011

Olivet, near Orléans, Loiret River (4)

Olivet, near Orléans, Loiret River (3)

Olivet, near Orléans, Loiret River (2)

Olivet, near Orléans, Loiret River (1)

Mid-August Stay in France (3)

On Monday - by the way 15th August is a bank holiday in France, the Catholic church is celebrating Mary's going to heaven - I went to Aix en Provence to have lunch - in a Labonese restaurant - with my friend J.J. He is an artist, see his blog :
Afterwards we went for a walk 10 minutes away by car from Aix. It's part of the charm of this area : you're very quickly in the middle of nowhere. I went back to Montpellier in the afternoon and had dinner at my friends D. & J.M's.
On Tuesday I went to the hairdresser's in Nîmes. K. is sort of a friend by now so whenever I can I go to his salon. K. is fascinated by berlin and intends to live there part of the time next year. He will keep his business in Nîmes. At lunchtime I met C. from the S.P.F. Unfortunately they don't seem to have a website in English but do have a look : I have been a volunteer in the late 90's and early 2000's and I learnt a lot with them. They have not only great ideas about the fact that anybody can be helping in any small way to change things but they actually involve a lot of people from all streams of life.
In the evening I was invited in Cap d'Agde. In the textile area. My friends B & D from Orléans had rented a flat there.
On Wednesday I went on the train again to go to Orléans.

August 18, 2011

Near Aix en Provence : view on Ste Victoire

Mid-August Stay in France (2)

I spent Saturday night at my friends C. & C.A. C. wasn't there so I shared the nice C.A's cuisine with him. On Sunday morning we went to the colorful market of Wazemmes to get our lunch. I caught the TGV to Montpellier in the afternoon. This time round I was staying at the hotel as my friend N. was coming back from Japon only today. For family reasons she wasn't sure until the last minute when she'll be able to.

August 16, 2011

Mid-August Stay in France (1)

For once - and in fact I've been doing it every 2 years or so - I went down to France by the relatively slow way : train and on the ferry. Every time I really enjoy it : seeing the English coast "disappearing"" from view and 90 minutes later saying "hello" to the continent. On the other hand the only small disadvantage is that you have to keep your luggage with you all the time. I have even tried to leave it in the restaurant before eating there to take a photo outside, that's just a plain "no way". On the way out from the ship I encountered a French student. K. is at Montpellier University and has a multicultural family from Wales and China, among other origins. He was going to Lille too so we spent the time chatting away on the train.

Leaving Dover

August 03, 2011

To make it Crystal Clear....

I'm still leaving in Nottingham and don't intend to move ! I'm even going to be able to vote at local elections down here !

Ben's Travel Services : my new business venture / New blog :

I had this idea for some time. To help out people wanting to visit Paris but neither in a group nor without someone to guide them. I'm not talking about a proper touristic guide. They are plenty of guiding books or professional guides about. I'm talking about pragmatic help like going from the airport / station to the hotel by public transport. I'm thinking about people who are lacking of confidence to travel on their own. It's actually not only a question of confidence. Everyone has experienced the arrival in a strange place, probably both tired and over excited : "where is this *## bus / train to get to the city centre ?" And then where and how to start your visit(s) ? What the best way to travel around ? Where can I find a nice restaurant within my budget ? You'll probably tell me that all this info can be find online / in a guide book. True ! Let's say then that I cater for people who are looking for an easy life while on holiday and for a native who can tell them what to do what to say...
As most of my followers here know I'm from Orléans, one hour by train from Paris. Since I was a teenager I have been going to Paris fairly often to visit family, for medical appointments or for "pure" leisure. Lately I have enjoyed being a tourist in Paris thanks to enthusiastic Paris lovers like my friend T. And I like very much the company of English spoken people therefore I think I can do this new job !

Needless to say I won't expect my customers to pay for my travel expenses. Hopefully I'll get the timing right between my own trips and theirs. As I said on my new blog - - I don't have a tariff as such. I intend to discuss with the clients what they expect from me and how much they are willing to pay me.

Finally I better point out again than I'm not a travel agent and I'm doing this mainly for my own pleasure.

See you in Paris ?