A Quick Guide to Pisa, Italy!

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When most people decide to make a visit to Pisa in Tuscany, Italy, it is no secret they’re heading here for that iconic photo in front of or holding up the world-famous leaning tower of Pisa. When I was seventeen years old I travelled to Europe for the first time with my dad, and insisted we travel all the way by train from Rome in a day to do just that. Now, some eight years later and a few more destinations under my belt, I travelled back to Pisa to discover the city beyond the tower. Discover for your in this quick guide to Pisa!

Guide to Pisa, Italy

Introducing Pisa!

If you come to Pisa insistent that all you want to see is the leaning tower (for which this city is oh so famous for), I can assure you that you’ll miss the beauty of this small city. Recently Pisa has become another gateway to Tuscany, with the introduction of direct flights with Qatar airways, making it possible to reach Pisa in just a couple of flights from almost anywhere (you’ll need to fly to Doha first, then direct flights are available daily to Pisa).

The city of Pisa is undeniably best explored early morning or late at night, as it is then when you will discover the true beauty (beyond the summer tourist crowds) and if you’re a morning person, you will have the city almost entirely to yourself! The city centre itself is very small, so stick to walking if you wish to uncover the true beauty: found in the many small shops, cafes and restaurants.

Guide to Pisa Guide to Pisa Guide to Pisa

Things to Do in Pisa

Most tourists come to Pisa just to see the leaning tower. Sure, it is a sight for the eyes and also one of the biggest engineering failures… but there is much more to Pisa to discover (even if you only have a day!)

Leaning Tower of Pisa – Of course you can’t come to pisa and not see the leaning tower! Check out the vintage travel photo of seventeen-year-old-me with the tower below (cringe!)

Pisa Duomo – Next to the tower you will see the gorgeous facade of the Duomo – well worth a visit inside, especially for art lovers!

Baptistry – Also within the same vicinity (known as the Field of Miracles) is the Battistero (Baptistry). Here you will find one of the best views of Pisa, as it includes the leaning tower in your frame (and has much less stairs to climb!)

Piazza della Carovana – This small town square positions you in the centre of many of the cities’ most important buildings, however it is important to note that most of these are not open to visitors (but still worth a look from the outside!)

Ponte Di Mezzo – For a great view of the Arno river either side, take a walk to Ponte Di Mezzo either early morning or afternoon to catch the best light of day.

Santa Maria della Spina – This small church on the Arno river with a gothic facade was one of my favourite architectural finds in Pisa. You’ll find it nearest to Ponte Solferino, one bridge away from Ponte Di Mezzo (the church is in between the two).

Where to Eat in Pisa

As a general rule, try to eat away from the Leaning Tower, as prices are hiked up for tourists. The streets between the train station and the tower are full of great little cafes and restaurants to discover – though you may find opening hours are a little sporadic (aren’t they always in Italy!?) Below are some personal favourite finds:

Oro Gelateria – Superrrrrrb gelato. The best you’ll find in Pisa.

La Mescita – If you’re looking for a wine bar with tasty eats, look no further.

Gusto Giusto – Put down the menu and ask Gianni (the owner) for his recommendations.

Guide to Pisa: Day Trip to Lucca

Day Trip: From Pisa to Lucca

Although there is plenty to see and do in Pisa to warrant a full day here, most tourists visit for just half a day on a day trip from Florence. The other half of the day is usually spent at Lucca, a nearby city that is just as charming (perhaps even more so) and very lively throughout the day.

If you’re short on time, be sure to fit the two (Pisa and Lucca) in one day trip from Florence. However if you find yourself with more time, I would suggest to take it slow and spend a day in each as the cities both have a completely different vibe in the evenings (when the locals come out!)

Me at seventeen (gah!)

Me at seventeen (gah!)

I flew to Tuscany on a direct route with Qatar Airways. Flying from Australia, this meant just two flights to reach the Tuscan region: Melbourne – Doha & Doha – Pisa. I would highly recommend this route for travellers interested in basing their trip in Tuscany, a region that warrants at least one, but up to three weeks to discover. With thanks to Qatar Airways for welcoming me to experience Tuscany on this new direct route!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The Best Bakeries in London You Must Visit!

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If Paris is the place to be for patisseries then London is the ultimate city for baked goods. The Brits certainly know how to bake their way to bakery bliss, with not only some of the most delicious cakes and cookies, but also some of the cutest pastel bakeries that lure you in with both sight and scent (freshly baked cookies – you can’t beat it!) Here are my all time favourites – the best bakeries in London you need to visit!

Best Bakeries in London | World of Wanderlust Best Bakeries in London | World of Wanderlust

Peggy Porschen

Tucked away in the residential neighbourhood of Belgravia, Peggy Porschen is my all time favourite bakery in London if we were to base judgements on looks alone. The gorgeous and girly pink bakery is an instagram photo waiting to happen, and when you step inside you’ll be spoilt for choice with even more pastels and pink! I’d recommend the sugar cookies for both cuteness and being delicious!

116 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London

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Crumbs & Doilies

This one is an all time favourite, having become one of the many fans of the fun, quirky and charismatic Cupcake Gemma who owns the Crumbs & Doilies chain! There are a few dotted around London, but the Kingly Court location is my favourite (its a great area for lunch as well, so be sure to come hungry!) I loved the peanut butter cupcake most, but there were so many pretty choices I could have tried one of each!

1 Kingly Court, London

Gails_London Gail's Notting Hill

Gail’s

A long time favourite, Gail’s is a great bakery to go for some of the best coffee in London and a baked snack. There’s an all day (’til 3pm) brunch menu as well. If you’re up for something a little more hearty, this is a great pick.

128 Wardour Street, Soho, London

Best_Bakeries_London Primrose_Bakery_London

Primrose Bakery

Cuteness overload! One of the cutest bakeries you will find in London with oodles of charm is Primrose Bakery. They sell mostly cupcakes and cookies, but if I’m honest I really just go here for the cute retro vibes! There are a few books by the owners that are for sale in store should you wish to take a little piece of this fave bakery home!

42 Tavistock Street, London

Best_Bakeries_London Best_Bakeries_London

Melba at the Savoy

Although (much) more on the pricey side, you’ll be spoilt for choice at Melba at the Savoy. If you’re after more of a patisserie (these guys offer oodles of flavours of eclairs), this is the perfect spot to pick up a sweet treat on-the-go. There is limited seating inside, so I’d suggest grabbing a bite and saving it for later in the day (if you can wait, that is!)

The Strand, London

Best_Bakeries_London Bakeries_In_London

Ben’s Cookies

A newer addition to my favourite bakeries in London has probably (definitely) the best cookies in town. If you’re more of a cookie kinda person, then look no further. You’ll find oodles of choice and the Covent Garden location is ideal for theatre goers.

13A The Piazza, Covent Garden, London

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The Hummingbird Bakery

Finally, the cupcakes at Hummingbird Bakery are also a highlight from London’s baked goodies selection. There are plenty of take-home goodies on offer here, too!

133 Portobello Road, London

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The Prettiest Coastal Cities & Towns in Norway you Have to Visit!

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My recent visit to Norway confirmed what I already knew to be true: this is one of the most picturesque countries in the world, full of jaw-dropping scenery and postcard-perfect towns. Whilst travelling along the Norwegian coasts, I came to realise that there was much to be discovered by way of charming little towns and sizeable cities, so here are the prettiest coastal cities and towns in Norway you have to visit!

One Day in Bergen Norway | World of Wanderlust

Bergen

Lets start with an obvious choice and a much-loved city by all who travel to Norway: Bergen. Despite being full of small town charm, Bergen is in fact the second largest city in Norway. The beauty of this city centres around Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site that focuses on an historic harbour lined with quintessential seaside buildings in quirky colours. Be sure to wander behind the buildings for a free history lesson, great art studios and galleries, and charming little souvenir stores.

Guide to Alesund Norway | World of Wanderlust

Ålesund

As my all time favourite town in Norway, I fell completely and utterly in love with Ålesund. This seaside town was all but completely destroyed in a fire at the beginning of the 20th Century, being completely rebuilt in Art Nouveau style. Be sure to climb the 418 steps to the public viewing platform for the most incredible view over the city!

One day in Stavanger Norway | World of Wanderlust

Stavanger

As the fourth largest city in Norway, Stavanger brings a whole lot of small town charm together with the benefits of a bustling city. The “old town” is an absolute must visit, complete with traditional wooden houses and their charming miniature gardens on display. Over in the city centre itself you will still find oodles of charm in the many winding streets and alleyways that make up the shopping district. A half day visit is plenty of time to soak up all the charm in this town, combined with a hike in the nearby fjords to complete your stay!

Geiranger Norway | World of Wanderlust

Geiranger

Commonly regarded as Norway’s most scenic fjord and one of the most incredible landscapes in the world, a visit to Geiranger (village) and Geirangerfjord should be on any and all traveller’s visit list whilst in Norway. The landscapes are best viewed as you wind your way up the narrow road that connects Geiranger with the rest of the region, open only a few months of the year during summer. Come late September, the road closes to make way for the heavy snowfall seen in this area, which makes this remote little village even more charming!

Flam Norway | World of Wanderlust

Flåm

This list would not be complete without mention of the small fishing village known as Flåm (pronounced: Flaum). This is of course where you can take the hour long Flåm Railway, commonly regarded as one of the most scenic railways in Europe. Be sure to take the time to wander around the water’s edge and see the village from afar – a photograph just waiting to happen!

Oslo Norway via Flickr

Image via Flickr / Mashhour Halawani

Oslo

Over on Norway’s southern coast lies Oslo, the capital of Norway and largest city with more than 600,000 Norwegians calling this city home! If you’re after more of a city escape or are arriving in Norway by plane, you absolutely must stop by Oslo to see the hustle and bustle. No other city in Norway feels as busy or happening as Oslo, with a wide range of concerts and events year-round to make your visit extra special!

Haugesund_Norway

Image via Wikicommons

Haugesund

Back on the west coast of Norway is a small and unassuming little town known as Haugesund. This is a great base for more adventurous travellers planning to hike the Lysefjorden region, which is regarded as one of the best regions to explore many of Norway’s most spectacular mountains.

Over to you! Do you have any favourite Norwegian coastal towns to add to the list!?

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

Travelling to a New Country Checklist

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I’m finding it hard to believe the words I am about to type, because this destination has been on my radar for, oh, you know, FOREVER. Many of you will already know (I’ve never been good at keeping secrets) that the newest country I have checked off my travel list is Norway – the land of fjords, cute little cabins and really lovely people.

It has been a while since I’ve approached a new country (having ticked off about 70 so far in my 25 years of living), so I’ve reverted back to old habits and wound up overly prepared for this trip. Which, might I add, is never a bad thing.

Thus I’ve teamed up with Australia Post to show you how easy it can be to travel to a new country – so long as you know what you’re up for! Below you’ll find a mega travelling to a new country checklist to ensure your trip kicks off with ease!

Travelling to a new Country Checklist

Do your research

First things first: passport, visas, vaccinations. You can’t go anywhere without checking these requirements first, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve slipped up once or twice on these bare necessities. Be sure to check the validity of your passport (each country has different requirements regarding expiry date and empty pages), whether or not your Nationality requires a visa, and whether or not you require any vaccinations. I find the best tool to cover all three in Australia is SmartTraveller.gov.au.

If you’re completely new to travel or (like my travel companion – my mum) haven’t travelled in a while, applying for a passport should be the starting point of any traveller’s checklist. But don’t be scared off the process of filling out forms and (not) smiling for the camera – in Australia we’re lucky to have a super easy application process! All you gotta do is head in to Australia Post to pick up the forms, submit them in person and grab a photo while you’re there. I have found the staff at any Australia Post office really helpful in making sure you only have to submit your forms + photos once and you’re good to go!

  Travelling to a new Country Checklist

Register on smart traveller for travel alerts

While you’re there, if you’re a first time traveller, nervous traveller, or just like being extra cautious, I would suggest you sign up for email alerts on world happenings and changes to the safety status of a country you intend to visit. While this isn’t mandatory or always necessary, it is a great way to have piece of mind as following world events whilst travelling is often one of your last priorities!
  Travelling to a new Country Checklist

Australia Post foreign cash services

Now that you’ve got all of the paperwork out of the way, its time for the fun stuff! One of my favourite things in the lead up to travelling to a new country is to see a new currency for the first time (I know I know, I’m a bit of a geek!) Ever since I can remember my mum and I have purchased currency in advance from Australia Post, who have just launched WAY more currencies on offer to pre-order online and pick up in store. Years ago I couldn’t get Polish zloty this way; now I can. Perfect timing in the lead up to my trip to Norway!

After a bit of a facelift, the Australia Post Foreign Cash services now offer more than 60 currencies online with a $0 commission to purchase foreign cash. This means you can arrive in a new country cashed up and ready to go, without paying any commissions or being ripped off when you’re overseas. I would also recommend familiarising yourself with the exchange rate so that when you land, you know exactly how much you’re paying before you hand over your cash.

British-Airways-Ticket  

Bookings: book tickets, accommodation & day tours 

If you haven’t already purchased your plane tickets, accommodation and day tours, now is the time to do so. This is especially important if you are travelling in peak times as accommodation prices hike and if you get in early, you can get a good deal.
  Brooke_Saward_Blogger

The Finer Details 

What camera is best for travel? Should I use wi-fi or a sim? How do you deal with language barriers? Are all questions I am very used to answering and very used to dealing with. Let all be revealed!

For my travel camera I use two: an Olympus PEN E-PL7 for short clip videos and an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II for all photography.

For connecting overseas I’m a sucked for free wi-fi, though in this day and age you can get some really good deals on phone connection.

My best packing tip is to pack your bags and then take half out. You’ll only wear one pair of jeans each day, so why do you need three pairs!?

The best way to beat jet lag is to switch to your new time zone as early as possible. Thus if you’re flying to Europe from Australia, don’t sleep on the plane until it is nighttime in your new destination.

The best way to beat a language barrier is to hit it head on: using a few key words and phrases before you switch to English with a nervous laugh!

If you are travelling with dietary requirements, fear not. Research restaurants and cafes in advance and make them a destination to visit on your itinerary!

Brooke Saward in Stockholm

GET EXCITED! 

Last but never least — start planning, pinning, researching and mapping out all the fun things you will do – half the fun in travel is planning the whole thing!

Thanks to Australia Post for inspiring this “Traveller’s Checklist” in light of their expanded foreign cash services! I am finding it more and more easy to travel to new countries and hope this helps you to, too!

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The 12 Best Ice Cream Recipes on the Internet Right Now

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I’ll be honest: I’ve been doing a lot of “Research Marketing” of late. While it might sound like a fancy term I am more than willing to use generously, I can assure you that deep down my interpretation of the word is nothing more than an excuse to eat sweets – a whooooole lotta sweets.

For those of you who don’t yet know, this year I will be opening a sweets store in my home town. After years of trying and triple tasting some of the best desserts on the planet, I have decided to bring back that knowledge (and just all out love for my favourite meal of the day) to Tasmania, where I grew up. So between adventures around the world and adventures in the kitchen, I’m sure this blog is about to get a whole lot tastier!

Salted-Caramel-Ice-Cream

1. Salted Caramel Toffee Pretzel Ice Cream

There’s nothing I love more than caramel, but salted caramel comes pretty close. Sometimes the sweetness of caramel can be a little overpowering (for regular people – of which I am not, as I really don’t believe I have a limit to my sweet tooth), so perhaps this salted caramel toffee pretzel ice cream is the answer. Both sweet and a little savoury at the same time – sound good to me!

Get the recipe: Salted Caramel Toffee Pretzel Ice Cream

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2. Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream

And yet because I can’t go past super sweet flavours myself, I really couldn’t write this article without a super sweet, super delicious sugary dream in the form of brown sugar cinnamon ice cream. I’ve tried this recipe at home and it melts my ice cream dreams into the abyss. It really is that good!

Get the recipe: Brown sugar cinnamon ice cream

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3. German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream

So here’s the thing: there are chocolate cakes, and then there are German chocolate cakes. When eating cakes in Germany over the years, I have come to realise that I seem to have way more room for cake than I do normally. I figure thats because cakes in Germany aren’t as sweet as in say North America, but instead a more rich-in-moderation kind of flavour that leaves you wanting more. If the cakes are anything to go by, this ice cream will win over the masses.

Get the recipe: German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream

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4. No Churn Apple Pie Ice Cream

As someone who swears by apple + brown sugar + cinnamon as a meal in itself, it comes at little surprise that I have chosen to include this magnificent looking (and more importantly tasting) creation: Apple Pie ice cream! The best part? You don’t need an ice cream machine. WIN!

Get the recipe: No-churn apple pie ice cream

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5. Chocolate-Hazelnut & Toasted Marshmallow Gelato

Shut the front door. How is this even a thing!? The more creative the flavour, the greater risk you have of it maybe not turning out so well. But fear not, that is certainly not the case with this choc-hazelnut-marshmallow gelato! The gooeyness is delicious and the rich flavour of chocolate is the perfect balance. Plus, its gelato. The only thing I really love more than ice cream.

Get the recipe: Chocolate-hazelnut & Toasted Marshmallow Gelato

Red-Velvet-Gelato-2

6. Red Velvet Gelato

Sticking with the gelatos, I couldn’t go past this red velvet gelato because, well, I love red velvet!!! The mix of sweetness with a little bitterness is really interesting when it comes to red velvet, so I’m eager to give this recipe a try ASAP!

Get the recipe: Red Velvet Gelato

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7. No Churn Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream

Did I tell you that I love caramel yet!? Coffee is for me a bare necessity in life – like brushing your teeth in the morning or washing your hair. In fact, I’d say coffee is more important to me than these two things combined! So what better solution to have than the marriage between my two favourite things: caramel and coffee. Are you running to your kitchen yet!?

Get the recipe: No churn Caramel Macchiato Ice Cream

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8. Peanut Butter Gelato

In Italy earlier this year I made the brave move to venture beyond my classic caramel order, and dive deep into the depths of an entirely different flavour group: peanut butter. I don’t regret a thing. This gelato recipe is one of the best I’ve found (and a must try for PB lovers!)

Get the recipe: Peanut Butter Gelato

Blueberry_Ice_Cream

9. Blueberry Ice Cream

I won’t lie: I picked this recipe because of the striking colour. Plus, I don’t even like blueberries. But maybe you do? Thus, included.

Get the recipe: Blueberry Ice Cream

coconut-ice-cream

10. Coconut Ice Cream

Fancy flavours aside, sometimes it is good to strip it back to basics and try one dimensional flavours like a simple coconut ice cream. Served with a scoop of rich dark chocolate, you can’t go wrong.

Get the recipe: Coconut Ice Cream

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11. Dulce de Leche Ice Cream (Paleo!)

Again with the caramel – I know, I know. But I couldn’t resist throwing this recipe in the mix, too, because it is a decidedly healthier option than every single other aforementioned recipe. I regret nothing.

Get the recipe: Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Lemon Curd Ice Cream

12. Lemon Curd Ice Cream

One for the fruit lovers with a creamy twist (I just couldn’t resist) – Lemon Curd. Unless you’re on the isle of Capri or cliff jumping in the roaring heat of Greece, I don’t think sorbets ever taste as good as ice creams. Thus I have the answer for you: creamy, well-balance, delicious lemon curd ice cream. Or just buy a ticket to Greece.

Get the recipe: Lemon Curd Ice Cream

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The 6 Best Afternoon Teas in Paris

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Afternoon tea in Paris is the perfect pause from sight seeing in the city of lights. What better way to give your weary feet a little break than by sipping tea in some of the prettiest surroundings imaginable. From high-end hotels to classic tea emporiums, here is our guide to the best afternoon teas in Paris.

Ninas

Nina’s

This pretty in pink tea room is the epitome of femininity. The interior is heavily decorated in pastel pink and gold with a beautiful chandelier and plush arm chairs. There is a wide selection of tea flavours on offer but their signature one is the Marie-Antoinette made from apples and roses picked directly from the King‘s Kitchen Garden of Versailles which goes very nicely with a slice of their apple cake.

29 Rue Danielle Casanova, 75001 Paris, France

Laduree Champs Elysees-14

Ladurée

The tea room for ladies who lunch or in this case, ladies who take tea. Order a plate of candy-coloured macarons and pastel hued pastries to create a tailor made tea party that every girl dreams of. Choose amongst flavours such as almond, rose or Darjeeling or the popular Marie Antoinette flavour, a gentle melange of rose petals, citrus fruit and honey which is delicately perfumed, light and refreshing. The beautifully wrapped boxes of loose leaf tea and muslin tea bags also make for a unique and special souvenir of your trip.

Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France

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Le Meurice

Le Meurice puts on a spread as good as any afternoon tea you’ll find in London. Here you’ll find a British-inspired affair including finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and a selection of petit fours. Dine in the beautifully ornate Dalí restaurant which offers stunning surroundings for an afternoon tea experience. €48 per person.

226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001

Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris | World of Wanderlust

Hôtel Plaza Athénée

An afternoon tea setting that consists solely of sweet eats? Yes please! The afternoon tea at Hôtel Plaza Athénée is in true Parisian fashion – straight to good stuff with 3 full tiers of sweet treats. There are no scones or sandwiches, just a delicious plating of all the sugary goodness you could ever consumer in one sitting.

25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris

Hotel Bristol photo by Lucy

Hotel Bristol

Afternoon tea at the Hotel Bristol is a very civilized affair. Three tiered plates arrive delicately placed with miniature club sandwiches and traditional French pastries, featuring many creations by the pastry chef of the year. You can take tea inside the ornate tea lounge, or alternatively in the beautiful courtyard garden. €80 for two people. (Photo via Hotel Bristol)

112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris

Hotel Costes

Hotel Costes

Hotel Costes is famously known by Parisians as the purveyor of the most beautiful roses in Paris. But behind the infamous florist lies the hotel with its acclaimed restaurant, bar and courtyard. Almost perpetually full of chic Parisians, it has become the place to sip and be seen. Nothing really beats taking tea in the plant covered courtyard with its grandiose statues and salmon hued walls reminiscent of an Italian piazza.

239-241 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris

Over to you! Where are your favourite places to enjoy afternoon tea in Paris?

WOW Contributor

Story & images by World of Wanderlust contributor Faye Bullock.