Basilica of Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis, France

The Basilica of Saint-Denis is a gothic style church located in the centre of the city of Saint-Denis, Seine-Saint-Denis, 5 kilometres north of Paris. It was originally an abbey, but today it is the Cathedral of the diocese of Saint-Denis. The old royal abbey was named ‘Basilica’ in the Merovingian era. The church stands on the site of a Gallo-Roman cemetery, burial place of saint Denis martyred around 250. The transept of the abbey, of exceptional magnitude, was intended to accommodate the royal tombs: it is the necropolis of the kings of France. It is surrounded by a garden that is part of the classification of historic monuments. In our days the church is divided into three spaces, the first two are open to the public: the nave and the aisles which serve the function of Church and where the Catholic ceremonies take place. the transept, the choir and ambulatory, and the crypt where there is a museum where the tombs of the Kings and Queens of France even as many of their servants are. You can find the tombs of Louis XII, François 1st, Anne of Brittany, Henri II, Catherine de Medici, Claude of France among others; the archaeological crypt that contains the oldest tombs of the monument, with the Merovingian and the burial place supposed of Saint-Denis and the lapidary in the Orangery and in the garden (East of the bedside) where many partscould be highlighted as part of an exhibition space.

Tips

You can visit the church by taking the metro (line 13) and get down to the ‘Basilica of St-Denis’ station. It is located 400 metres from the exit of the station.
If you want to visit the Museum, call or see on internet in advance because it is closed when there are ceremonies.
You can take a day to visit the church and ethen njoy walking in the surrounding area. There are many shops and restaurants and nice cafés to take a break. If time permits, you can enjoy beautiful terraces too.
Look at the calendar of activities of the church because there are several events that will take place throughout the year.

Iceland

Iceland is an island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, located between Greenland and Norway, north-west of the Faroe Islands; a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. The country is made up of a large island (99.7% of its area) with some small islands and islets nearby. It is a country known for volcanism, geysers, highlands (center) and fjords and lack of vegetation. Most of the population is settled in the Reykjavik area. Other important cities are Akureyri (port city) and Keflavik where is the international airport. Its climate is tundra but thanks to the Gulf Stream, the temperature in its south and west coasts do not go much farther than 0 ° C. The country receives a lot of tourism especially in summer and the three most visited sites are the Pingvellir National Park, the Gulfoss Falls and Geysir geothermal field. You can also visit the protected glaciers in the Vatnajokull and Snaefellsjokull National Parks. If you want to know a little about the history of the Vikings, visit the National Museum and the Sagas Museum in Reykjavik.

Tips

If you want to travel the country by car, take the main road (road 1) that goes around the island and connects most of the habitable areas. If you think of taking the roads in the interior of the country, you need a 4×4 vehicle because there are many fords but in winter they are usually closed.

There is also the possibility of taking bus lines during the summer season.

You will also find some ferries to go to small islands and a ferry for vehicles if you want to go to Denmark via the Faroe Islands, from the port of Seydisfjordur.

To see the northern lights, visit the glacial lagoon of Jökulsárlón, in the south-east of the country.

Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain

Retiro Park is a large 118-hectare park in Madrid, created between 1630 and 1640. It began when Gaspar de Guzmán y Pimentel (Count-Duke of Olivares), offered the king (Philip IV), the land next to the Jeronimos Monastery for the distractions of the Court around Madrid. The place was not too far from the Royal Palace and the area was wooded. Some buildings were built as the Palace of the Buen Retiro, the theater, the ballroom, the Army Museum and the room of the Kingdoms. There is a large octagonal pond, a rose garden, fountains, 12 important statues in the Gallery of the Park and two palaces: Velázquez and Crystal (now showrooms), many trees (around fifteen thousand), French gardens and flowers. Among its most remarkable gardens we find the garden of perennials, the gardens of Cecilio Rodriguez (with Andalusian style), the French parterre and the garden of architect Herrero Palacios. The park is considered a lung of Madrid.

Tips

The park is open all year round and admission is free.
You can get there by bus or metro.
You will find plenty of space to walk and you can also go rowing. This is a good place to walk in hot summer days.