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ETIAS: the new “visa” to enter the EU

What is ETIAS? How do I apply? When will it come into effect? How much will it cost? We tell you all you need to know about this new travel authorisation to enter any of the 26 Schengen member countries.

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Original ideas for your visit to London

You could visit London twenty times a year and discover a completely new city full of fascinating places every time. The 32 boroughs of the UK’s capital are home to 9 million people–half of whom originally hail from other countries–and up to 300 different languages are spoken in its streets. This city of cities, this world in miniature centred around the Thames has so much more to offer than just fish and chips, a walk in Hyde Park, a West End musical or a visit to the British Museum.

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In the Footsteps of Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc is one of those unforgettable historical figures with a passionate biography. Her life has spawned a myriad of books and films that attempt to uncover the secrets of that mysterious personage. Born into times of upheaval, against the backdrop of the Thirty Years’ War, she went from being a humble, illiterate countrywoman to leading an army of five thousand men, all prompted by her “visions”. It was God himself that talked to her and told her she had a mission to accomplish – to lead the French army and drive out the English in order to achieve the coronation of Charles VII of France. Quite a feat! This might seem outlandish to us now but, in the early 15th century, the role and power of religion were undisputed. Not for nothing were kings thus proclaimed “by the grace of God”. What’s more, the recipient of these visions was a brave and tenacious woman with powerful convictions.

Orleans, the City that Saw Her Triumph

One of the key moments in her life took place in Orleans, for which she was thenceforth known as the Maid of Orleans. On 8 May 1429 she accomplished one of her most extraordinary feats by liberating the city from the English, which marked the beginning of the reconquest of the occupied territories. To commemorate her victory, the Joan of Arc Festival is held in Orleans at this time  every year at which her momentous feat is re-enacted through mock battles, accompanied by a modern festival event, the Set Electro Festival, with various DJ performances.

During the siege of Orleans, our heroine lived in the house of Jacques Boucher, treasurer to the Duke of Orleans. Rebuilt in 1960, it is currently known as the House of Joan of Arc. The building features a multimedia room, and a research and documentation centre for those wishing to learn more about the Maid of Orleans and her passage through the city.

For the more scholarly researchers, the Joan of Arc Centre houses one of the largest libraries on the subject, enabling visitors to consult a host of period manuscripts and documents.

Rouen – the Tragic End

After her passage through Orleans, Joan of Arc sought to lay down her arms, as she had ceased to have visions, but she was entreated to return to the battlefield and ended up acquiescing. This time things did not go so well. After being defeated in a number of campaigns, in 1430 she was captured by the Burgundians, handed over to the English and taken to Rouen. Here commenced the most arduous episode in her life. After a lengthy inquisitorial procedure, she was accused of heresy and witchcraft and sentenced to be burned at the stake.

During her interrogation, she was incarcerated in the Dungeon or Joan of Arc Tower, part of the castle built by Philippe Auguste in 1204. Still standing, the castle is open to the public.

The Archiepiscopal Palace, an acclaimed specimen of medieval architecture and the setting for part of the legal process was recently converted into the Historial Jeanne d’Arc. Inaugurated in March 2015, it is now the largest area dedicated to the memory of Joan of Arc. Its 1,000m2 of floor space is endowed with the latest technologies for narrating and unveiling the history of our heroine and taking us back to the period she lived in.

Joan of Arc was executed on 30 May 1431 in the Place du Vieux Marché, now an essential place of pilgrimage. The Church of Joan of Arc was built in the square in 1979, designed by the architect, Louis Arretche, for a dual purpose – to honour St Joan of Arc and as a civilian memorial to the heroine. The church was built on the very spot where the saint was burned alive, and the exact location of her martyrdom is duly marked.

How to Get There

Both destinations are a train journey of just over an hour away from Paris. The Orleans train runs from the Gare Austerlitz, while the Rouen line starts at the Gare Saint-Lazare.

Live out the story of Joan of Arc – check out our flights to Paris here.

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Photos by fidber, Roger Salz and Edhral

 

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In the land of Game of Thrones

The producers of “Game of Thrones” fell in love with the beautiful Dubrovnik and ir was the chosen city to shoot scenes of King’s Landing, the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. It is a many centuries-old city with  its peculiar  streets so well preserved, recreated to perfection -with the help of added digital tricks-  the setting that the author of the series, George RR Martin had imagined. the one for a medieval, walled city, high on a hill and surrounded by sea. In addition, like King’s Landing, Dubrovnik grew as a defensive city, among the stones of Dubrovnik Walls that protected from the sieges.

If Dubrovnik was in itself a town of great tourist interest, now it has become a touchstone for fans of the series and to explore the different locations is now a funny way to know the city. Want to know which are the Game of Thrones’s shooting keypoints in Dubrovnik? Want to feel like a king or queen Lanninster touring his domain? Pay attention!

1.- Fort Lovrijenac

Also called Fort San Lorenzo, dating from the eleventh century and is outside the historical district and is one of Dubrovnik’s symbols. Main stage for the most important scenes of the series, as the Battle of the Blackwater between Stannis’s fleet against Tyrion and the Lannister  that marks the end of Games of Throne’s second season.

2.- The Minceta and Bokar towers

The Minceta Tower is the highest point of Dubrovnik’s city walls and one of the most famous defensive structures. Bokar Fortress was the place where Tyrion and Lord Varys planned the defense of King’s Landing in the second season.

3.- Rectors’s Palace

This former medieval fortress and headquarters of the former Republic of Ragusa, has had to be rebuilt several times over the years. It is part of Quarth’s kingdom in the serie’s second season. A curiosity: it is said that the clock on the palace’s wall stands at 17:45, the exact time that the Republic of Ragusa surrendered to Napoleon according to legend.

 4.- Trsteno Arboretum

Trsteno Arboretum, one of the oldest gardens in Croatia, served to set the palace’s exotic gardens of King’s Landing with its historic parks and a large collection of Mediterranean and exotic plant species. A walk in Trsteno Arboretum take us back to the past, so it is not surprising that was chosen as one of the main sites.

5.- Svetog Dominika

Little props were needed to convert the cobbled street that borders the fourteenth century’s Dominican Convent into one of the Seven Kingdoms’s capital’s main streets.

6.- Lokrum’s  Island

You can reach the island of Lokrum in just ten minutes from the port of Dubrovnik by ferry. Here we find the Benedictine monastery that was converted into a palace Qarth during the second season of Game of Thrones. Visit the botanical garden of eucalyptus, cactus and succulents, the remains of a basilica, the monastery with a cloister garden and Maximilian of Hapsburg’s summer residence.

7.- Sponza Palace

It was built in the early sixteenth century and it was one of the few buildings that survived the 1667′s earthquake. Today it is one of Dubrovnik’s most important cultural centers, which you can find the Dubrovnik archive with more than 100,000 documents covering from the twelfth century to the demise of the Republic of Ragusa..

Picture by gari.baldi 

Why not take a trip to Dubrovnik? Have a look at our flights here!

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