Europe

The Ultimate Cannes Guide

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7 tips to get a full-blown Cannes experience!

Perhaps it is the fantastic beach walk (Boulevard de la Croisette), the extravagant hotels or the over the top-parties that has lingered celebrities to visit this French pearl time and time again. The city that has hosted the glamorous film festival since 1946 offers plenty of things to do and see. And let us clarify something straightaway – you do not need to be a millionaire to enjoy the French Riviera. It helps, but it is not in any means necessary. We are Nodes have spent months and months in this French gem, and here are our best tips for a full-blown Cannes experience!

Baoli Beach Club

The first thing you need to learn in order to avoid confusion is that there are two Baolis in Cannes: Le Bâoli Club, a nightclub located in the end of the La Croisette, and Bâoli Beach Club, located in the heart of the La Croisette, naturally next to the beach. This is where you want to spend your lazy beach days! Bâoli Beach Club is one of Cannes top daytime hot spots, so if you are planning to spend a full day here, we suggest you go all in. Start off by renting sun beds and an umbrella (do not forget to bring sun screen), because this is going to be a long day! Order in some cooled Rosé wine and share a plate of amazing sushi or fruit salad. Bâoli Beach Club is pricy, but the atmosphere, lounge music and crowd definitely makes it worth a visit.

Baoli Beach We are Nodes

Bâoli Beach Yearly Highlight – Remember the Coulisses/Fete de la Musique-party

If you happen to be in Cannes in June, make sure to attend Baoli Beach’s yearly Fete de la Musique-party (previously called Remember the coulisses party), the epic beach party that kicks off the festive summer season. The fact is, We are Nodes accidentally ended up at this party a couple of years ago, and it was this specific event that made us fall in love with the city!IMG_0058

Address: 50 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes
Phone: +33 4 93 99 49 26
Website: http://www.lebaoli.com/cannes-beach.html

The best public beach in Cannes

Spending every day at beach clubs like Bâoli can get quite expensive, so why not take advantage of Cannes public beaches for no cost at all. However, do not make the mistake of choosing the La Croisette beach. The best public beach in Cannes is located on the other side of the Croisette Boulevard, behind the Old Town (Le Suquet) and close to the Port in Cannes. It is a 10-15 minute walk from the city center. If you have troubles finding, just ask for Radisson Blu (the hotel has got an awesome rooftop terrace, btw!) and you will find the beach in front of the hotel.
DSC00245Address: Boulevard du Midi Jean Hibert

Ice coffee at Armani Caffé

Armani Caffé, located on Boulevard de la Croisette, is the perfect spot to sneak into when you want to take a break from your shopping. The Armani store has an elegant patio, partly shaded (super appreciated during hot and sweaty summer days!), where they offer food, snacks, drinks, fresh juices and hot beverages. We are Nodes recommends the iced coffee – it is to die for!
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Address: 42/43 Boulevard de la Croisette
Phone: +33 04 93 99 44 05
Website: http://armanirestaurants.com/cannes-armani-caffe

Champagne Breakfast at Carlton Hotel

Not everyone can afford paying 7056 euro per night for the Suite Executive with ocean view at 5-star luxury hotel InterContinental Carlton Cannes. 42 euro for their Champagne breakfast is much more reasonable – and a fantastic way to experience the renowned hotel that had legendary guests like Sean Connery, Sean Penn, Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly (the hotel also offers extraordinary, but expensive, suites named after the movie stars).  

The breakfast itself is nothing too remarkable, but the chilled Champagne in combination with the luxurious setting at the most prestigious hotel in Cannes makes the breakfast experience worth its price.

Carlton Breakfast We are NodesCarlton Breakfast We are Nodes 2Carlton Hotel We are Nodes 2Fun trivia: Did you know that Carlton Hotel was the target of a massive jewel theft in 2013, where robbers came across jewels worth $136 million.  

Address: 58 Boulevard la Croisette, CS 40052, Cannes
Phone:  +33 (0)4 93 06 40 06
Website: Official page: http://www.intercontinental-carlton-cannes.com/
Restaurant/Breakfast info: http://www.intercontinental-carlton-cannes.com/en/your-stay-in-cannes/carlton-restaurant/

Ile Sainte-Marguerite

As it is most known for its glitz and glamour, it is easy to forget that Cannes also offers a lot of interesting history. A great day excursion to escape the vibrant pulse in Cannes is to take the ferry over to Ile Sainte-Marguerite (one of several islands belonging to the Iles de Lérins island group). Walk around this little island where the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ was once held prisoner – you can even visit his actual cell at Fort Royal!

The trip from Cannes does not take more than 20 minutes and costs only a few Euros. Tickets are bought in ticket stores close to the Port. Do not forget to buy your ticket in advance, during high season the boats tend to get full.cannes2014-10Website for ferry tickets: http://www.trans-cote-azur.co.uk/cannes-ile-sainte-marguerite.php

Gotha Club and Le Bâoli– A little party ain’t killed nobody

Where’s the party at, you wonder? It is at Gotha Club and Le Bâoli, the two biggest nightclubs in Cannes. During high seasons these hot spots are packed with famous celebrities and enthusiastic tourists from all over the world. International artists and DJ’s are performing almost every evening, so keep an eye on the event schedule (most easily done by following the club’s Facebook pages) since some nights one club is ‘the place to be’, while the other is more or less empty.

And let us be honest here; being a girl or reserving a drink table helps the nightclub experience. Most clubs charge an entrance fee which varies depending how well-known the artist performing is, and a drink costs around 20-25 euros. The clubs in Cannes are not the cheapest, but they have without doubt given us some of our craziest and best nights. There is just something special with the party vibe in Cannes. 

Le Baoli We are NodesIt’s party time at Le Bâoli

IMG_8809Bob Sinclair spinning records at Gotha Club.

IMG_5778 (1)High season nights at Gotha Club. 

Address Le Bâoli: Port Pierre Canto, Boulevard de la Croisette, 06400 Cannes
Website: http://www.lebaoli.com/baoli/

Address Gotha Club: Place Franklin Roosevelt, 06400 Cannes
Website: http://gotha-club.com/

Boat life in Cannes

“You spend time on land, you live life on water”

Boat life is always fun, and there is no better way to experience the French Riviera than on water. Bring a bunch of snacks (the French’s love their classic baguettes, cheeses, Prosciuttos), wine, Champagne and other beverages (but hey, remember to drink responsibly!). Prepare the ultimate Spotify list and you are all set! There are services on the sea of course – taxi boats to take you to the adjacent beach clubs or service boats from where you can buy coffee or ice-cream.

How do you throw the perfect Yacht party? There is a saying that explains it pretty well: One’s a company, two’s a crowd and three’s a party. Meet up with likeminded people on other boats, set anchor and join (party) forces in a mutual boat party until the sun goes down!
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When, or if, you have had enough of partying, swimming and tanning, it is time to head for food at Marco Polo Beach. We love love love this cozy and relaxed beach restaurant, suitable for both families and leisure travelers! The restaurant is located right next to the beach, which makes it possible to moor the boat at their pier.
Marco Polo Beach 2 We are NodesIMG_6665
We are Nodes recommends the amazing seafood risotto that still makes us drool.

Address: 47, avenue de Lerins, 06590 Théoule-sur-Mer (read more about how to get here if you do not have a boat on this page)
Phone: +33 (4) 93499659

Cannes, we will be back soon! 

Read more:
Visting the French Riviera for Bastille Day? Don’t miss our blog post
How to celebrate Bastille Day on the French Riviera.

Cannes is of course also featured in Yasmin’s Travel Q&A, read more here:
Travel Q&A with Yasmin from We are Nodes

Central America

3 Things You Don’t Want To Miss In Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is ranked one of the most popular international destinations and having spent a couple of weeks there – we can clearly see why. Very few countries offer the same wide variety of activities, wilderness and scenery, and the locals’ hospitality and pura vida-attitude quickly puts a permanent smile on your face.

Santa Teresa is one of Costa Rica’s most visited destinations. The village is mostly known for its magical sunsets and amazing surfing, and those two alone are worth putting Santa Teresa on your roadmap. But the city is more than a surfer’s paradise. We can almost guarantee that there is something for everyone in this Central America located gem. The village is crowded of tourists during high season and the pulse is higher than in many other places in Costa Rica. Here are We are Nodes’ top 3 list of  things to do in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica! 

Banana Beach Restaurant 

If Banana Beach Restaurant does not get you into vacation mode, nothing ever will. The beach club is one of the hot-spots in Santa Teresa, located next to the beach, and is perfect for both late night exotic dinners as well as chill day hangouts. Cool down under the palm trees while sipping on tropical drinks and watch surfers as they hit the waves.
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Address: Villa Bonita Dr, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2640 1117
Banana Beach Restaurant on Tripadvisor 

Hotel Vista de Olas

If you are into infinity pools and extraordinary views, you need to put Hotel Vista de Olas on your list. The pool is open for both hotel guests and visitors (you pay an entrance fee of 16 dollars which can be used to purchase food and drinks). Lay back and enjoy the lounge music that gradually turns up during the day  – and why not catch the sunset from this mountaintop hotel and restaurant. It’s going to leave you speechless!

The easiest way to get to Vista de Olas is to take a taxi there since it is located on top of a mountain a little outside of the city centre. Even though they serve food, the hotel is best suited for drinks and snacks – save your money for any of the restaurants in the city center instead.IMG_1520 IMG_1522

Address: Vista de Olas, 160 5361, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2640 0183
Website: http://www.vistadeolas.com/

The amazing sunsets

“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.”

When adding Santa Teresa’s spectacular sunsets to that beach experience, you could not agree more with the quote above. The famous sunsets are even more spectacular in real life. This is by far the best part about Santa Teresa, so we urge you to breathe in the atmosphere together with other  travelers, surfers and locals.IMG_4349IMG_3408IMG_4346 IMG_4348
Stay tuned for more travel tips in Costa Rica!

Europe

6 Amazing Places You Must Visit In Paris

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Botellón at La Perle, amazing burgers and a champagne experience out of the ordinary. We are Nodes has listed our 6 Paris-favourites:

Dinner with a view at Kong

Remember the Sex and the City episode where Carrie Bradshaw has lunch with Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife at a fabulous Parisian rooftop restaurant? Well, this is the place! With an exceptional view of the Seine and decor signed by Philippe Starck, KONG is the designer restaurant where the atmosphere (or the ambience as the french would say) is just as important as the French-Japanese cuisine. Having been one of Paris hotspots since its opening back in 2003, some say that KONG’s prime time is over – but if you haven’t visited this place you’ve certainly missed out on something! The service is excellent, the food will leave you satisfied and the vibe is good. As the evening progresses, the music gets louder and the lights go darker, making KONG the perfect restaurant to wine and dine at before hitting the town.

We are Nodes recommend: Try the roasted duck breast with berries of sichuan and white rice.
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Address: 1 Rue du Pont Neuf, 75001 Paris, France
Phone:+33 1 40 39 09 00
Website: http://www.kong.fr/_en  
Metro: Pont Neuf

Botellón at La Perle

From the outside, this little corner bistro in Le Marais looks just like any other bar in Paris – but it is everything but ordinary! As soon as the sun goes down, the street outside of La Perle gets jam packed with Paris coolest crowd who are there to botellón. In case you’re not familiar with the term, it basically means:

“big bottle in Spanish and is typically a nighttime (and often daytime) Spanish activity when people congregate in public areas to socialize while drinking alcohol (street drinking)”. 

And yes, this pretty much summarizes what goes on at La Perle: a well mixed crowd consisting of designers, artists, models, hipsters, chic bohemians and the occasional tourist, standing on 78 rue Vieille du Temple, drinking cheap wine (3 euro/glass!), and mingling like there’s no tomorrow. By the end of the evening, we’d be suprised if you haven’t found both a fling, a new friend and had some very strange encounters with eccentric personalities. Nevertheless, you never have a dull night at La Perle!

Fun trivia: Did you know that La Perle is “that bar” where ex-Dior designer, John Galliano had his anti-Semitic rant?

IMG_1766IMG_3514Artist Mathias Kiss at La Perle, picture taken by: We are Nodes.

Address: 78 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris.

Phone: +33 1 42 72 69 93

Eat the best burgers in Paris at Marche Des Enfantes Rouges

The best thing with getting to know locals in new cities is that they can share their hidden gems with you. If we hadn’t been told that we “must try the burgers at Marche des Enfantes Rogues” we would a) probably never have found this lovely food market in Marais (which happens to be Paris oldest covered market built in 1615), and b) if we by any chance still would, we would just pass the burger place since it doesn’t really stand out. Good thing we are telling you now – because for only 10 euros (!!!) you will get Paris best burger and a food experience far from the typical tourist traps. If the weather is nice, we recommend you to take a doggy bag and enjoy your lunch at the park outside.

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Adress: 39 Rue de Bretagne, Le Marais.
Opening hours: Tue-Thu 8.30am-1pm, 4pm-7.30pm; Fri-Sat 8.30am-1pm, 4pm-8pm; Sun 8.30am-2pm
Metro: Filles du Calvaire.

Champagne tasting at Moët & Chandon Champagne Caves

Ok, this one is not in Paris BUT if you are planning to spend a couple of days in Paris and are thinking about doing a day trip to an other city we know just the where you should go! How about visiting the Moët & Chandon (and Dom Perignon) champagne cellars in Champagne, rounding of with a champagne tasting? This activity is not only very, very French – but also very, very fun. We choose to do our tasting at Moët & Chandon’s cellars, which is the largest one within the Champagne region, but there are plenty of other champagne houses alongside Avenue de Champagne in Epernay to choose from. Just make sure you to book your visit well in advance. Oh, and come thirsty.

IMG_1829IMG_1833IMG_1821The 28 km long champagne cellar.

Here’s a more detailed post about the Möet & Chandom Champagne Caves. 

Adress: 20 avenue de Champagne
51200 Epernay
Tel : 03.26.51.20.20
Website: http://www.moet.com/

Eat mashed potatoes from heaven at Le Coq

We stumbled upon Le Coq by accident, many years ago, after visiting the Eiffel tower that is just footsteps away, and decided to try it out. Thank heavens we did, because the Chicken with mango chutney, curry and mashed potatoes is out of this world! Anyone who has tried purée de pommes de terre (mashed potatoes) in France know what we mean – it tastes much better than at home. Aside from serving mouth watering food, Le Coq also has an popular outdoor seating that is perfect for having drinks, long Sunday brunches and people watching on sunny days.

We are Nodes tip: With only one minute to walk to the Place De la Concorde you can watch the light show at the Eiffel Tower after finishing your dinner. Perfect way to end the evening!

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Adress: 2 Place du Trocadéro.
Tel: +33 1 47 27 89 52
Metro: Trocadero.

The perfect shopping break at Printemp’s rooftop café

Life on rooftops is simply… a little bit better. Especially when you have a 360° view of Paris and the Eiffel tower as your coulisse. Forget about long queues and ticket fees to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe and spend them on a rooftop-lunch or coffee instead. Café Le Déli-cieux is located in the middle of the city, on the 9th floor of the beautiful department store Printemps, and is definitely high on our list of favorite hangouts in Paris. With a huge outdoor terrace, coffee (and food for the hungry ones), you can easily spend a good couple of hours here, soaking up the sun and listening to music.IMG_4513 IMG_4515

Adress: 64 Boulevard Haussmann
Phone: +33 1 42 82 50 00
Metro: Chaussée d’Antin – Lafayette, Opéra
Website: http://www.printemps.com/

Breakfast at Paul’s

Forget about Breakfast at Tiffany’s – the best way to start your day is at Paul’s, the French bakery that has been around since 1889 and still going strong. Located all around town, you are more than likely to pass this place many times during your Paris getaway. We must give a shout out to their chicken baguettes and Pain au chocolat. Two of our all time favourites!

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Address: 25 Avenue de l’Opéra, 75001 Paris, France

 

Have you visited any of these places or do you have any other favourite spots in Paris that you’d like to share with us? Drop us a comment!
Amsterdam

Hotel Review | Van Der Valk Schiphol, Amsterdam

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Stuck at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, at nine o clock on Sunday evening, with the first flight leaving the next morning is not exactly the ideal situation when you should be at work on Monday morning. Let’s just say that there comes a time for each traveller when the travel plans take unexpected turns. Bad weather conditions, flight delays and technical issues are just some of the external factors that can cause you to have to rearrange your schedule and spend those extra hours at a so called airport hotel. On this late March evening, We Are Nodes didn’t have any other choice but to explode the myth about those airport hotels once and for all:

Airport Business Hotel – Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol A4

After an hour and a half of waiting at the airport, we were finally on the shuttle bus taking us to Hotel Schiphol A4, our stay for the night. Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol A4 is a partner hotel of the Dutch airline company KLM, meaning this is the place that you must likely will end up on if KLM cancels your Amsterdam-flight. Never having spent the night at an airport hotel before, we must admit that we weren’t exactly thrilled. Checking in to a hotel in the middle of nowhere with no luggage probably isn’t high on any travellers list.

First impression

A fifteen to twenty minute drive later, the bus stopped outside of a large building with the hotel sign glowing in the dark. From the outside it didn’t look for much, but as soon as we got in to the hotel lobby we got a pleasant surprise. With a large reception area, friendly and helpful staff and a welcoming interior, we immediately got a warm and positive feeling. This airport hotel didn’t look like anything like the old concrete building with “cell-block” hotel rooms we had pictured in our heads.

IMG_1952IMG_1956One of the hotel lobbies.

Late night buffets and early breakfasts

The first thing we noticed just when were about to stand in line to check-in was that the dinner buffet still was open. Not thinking twice, we decided to skip the queue and hit the buffet instead. Turned out to be a good choice! A wide selection of warm and cold food, desserts, beverages and above all, a serene ambience with lit candles everywhere was exactly what we needed after a really long day. If it wasn’t for the fact that the clock already was past eleven p.m, we would easily have spent a couple of more hours here.

With an early flight the following morning, we also had time to enjoy the breakfast that opened as early as 05.00 a.m. The perfect way to start the day!IMG_1946

The Room

Checking in late turned out to be a good idea as we were given two of the newly built “I Am Superior” rooms and were the first guests to get to sleep in the comfy new Hypnos beds (which were voted bed of the year in 2012!). An other positive thing that struck us was that the rooms at Van Der Valk were quite spacious for thinking European-standards. Besides the large and comfortable twin bed, the I Am Suprior Rooms also had a big balcony, a desk and a sitting area.van der walk schiphol we are nodes IMG_1966IMG_1968 IMG_1961IMG_1965IMG_1992

The semi open-plan bathroom is a growing trend at many hotels, and while it definitely adds a cool “Ibiza vibe” to the interior it also means that you can forget about privacy.
In other words, you should be comfortable with your travelling companion if you are planning to share a room. But style goes before functionality right? IMG_1994 IMG_1989 IMG_1991

Hotel Amneties

Wellness area: The Schiphol A4 has a large wellness area with both an gym overlooking the garden and an indoor swimming pool with a relaxing area.
Garden: The perks of not being a hotel in the middle of a city is that there is a big garden where you can do outdoor sports or go for a walk.
Working spaces and meeting rooms: For the business traveller there are plenty of quiet corners where you can sit and work, or rooms that can be booked to have meetings or seminars.
Conferences & events: The hotel has a floor area of 2.000 m2 that can be used for fairs, conference rooms and are experienced organizers of weddings and parties.

Final Words

For being a four star hotel outside Amsterdam city center, Hotel Van der Valk Schiphol A4 surely blew our expectations! The next time We are Nodes are stuck in Amsterdam, will be more than happy to be back! And hopefully not in such a hurry.

Hotel Schiphol
Adress: Rijksweg A 4 Nr.3
2132 MA Hoofddorp – Schiphol
Tel: +31 (0) 252 67 53 35
E-Mail: Website: https://www.hotelschiphol.nl/en/