This week we’re delighted to interview Marie-Eve from EuroTripTips.
She’s currently living in France but is originally from Canada and has been to more than 17 European countries. She considers herself as a multitasker: travel blogger, amateur photographer, translator and copywriter.
1. Moving from Canada to London in 2008 and then to Clermont-Ferrand (France) must have been a culture shock for you. Can you point out the biggest difference between the three?
Moving to France after London and Canada felt like getting hit by a ton of bricks! Canada and Montreal are my home, and this is where I feel most comfortable. It’s lively, yet laid back. As for London, I’ve always said that no one is a foreigner in London anymore because the city is filled with foreigners, so I never felt like the odd one out while I was there.
But in France, especially in central, provincial France, I definitely stood out. Even though my first language is French I had to completely change the way I speak – sometimes I felt that I was learning a different language! This was definitely the biggest challenge. Who would’ve thought!
2. On your blog you say you found in Europe the place where you really belong to. Why do you think so? What makes it so special to you?
I like being able to travel from two completely different countries in just an hour or two – the fact that every European country is easily accessible only fuels my curiosity. There’s just something about the history, the architecture, the way of life, the variety of cultures found that fascinates me.
3. Which of your trips was the craziest one?
Definitely my grand tour of Scandinavia by rail – three blissful weeks of train travel from Bergen to Copenhagen via Stockholm and half a dozen other cities. It was exhausting, expensive and demanding –not to mention freezing!-, but it’s one of my best travel memories.
4. If you could travel back in time, where would you go? Why?
Honestly, I don’t think I would like to travel back in time. Being such a curious person I feel blessed to live in the 21st century where I can travel to the other side of the world in a matter of hours. It’s a wonderful era to live in for those who prefer to wander.
5. Think of a single song that you could listen on repeat while travelling, which one would it be?
I remember listening to Of Monsters and Men’s record on repeat in 2012 while I was jetting off to Germany, Norway, Spain and other parts of the world. Their “King and Lionheart” song gets me every time.
6. What did you like the most about the Iceland Road Trip?
I liked that the country in itself was an attraction. There aren’t many of museums to visit or dozens of landmarks along the way; just unadulterated, raw beauty. It seemed as though every new turn, every new mountain was even more stunning than the last.
7. Taking in consideration your bucket list, what is the most important thing that you want to do next?
Seeing the Northern Lights, without a doubt! I’ve been wanting to do so for years but every time I tried to do so, the timing was wrong or I wasn’t based anywhere near them. But this is definitely something I want to experience someday.
8. Imagine a person that has never traveled before in life. What would you suggest this person for the first trip?
To go with their gut. I can’t help but feel that social media has made travel a competition of sorts: who has been to the most countries, who has drank the largest beer, who has seen the most landmarks, etc. But in the end, travel should only ever be about what pleases you, be it a safari in South Africa, a resort in Mexico or a wine tasting trip to Italy. You and only you should be the judge of your perfect trip.
9. Since you visited Paris a dozen times, can you give us a “secret” tip? Something that you haven’t mentioned before on the web?
Never, ever enter the Louvre via the Pyramid. It’s the busiest entrance for the museum and queues can last for hours. Instead, try Porte des Lions along the Seine just a few meters from there – very few people know it exists and there is hardly ever anyone waiting.
10. Having a look at your Photo Essays, which is your personal favorite?
Since I have such fond memories of my Scandinavian rail trip I would lean towards that one, but I really do love the Esslingen Christmas Market photo essay. It is one of the few places that left me completely speechless. The fact that the historic village still stands after being heavily bombed during WWII is nothing short of a miracle, and the way the locals celebrate Christmas with a variety of markets is just adorable.
11. It’s obvious, you really love Europe! But what about other continents? Are you planning to visit Africa or Asia at some point? Can we maybe expect AsiaTripTips or something similar at some point?
The reason why I haven’t blogged about anything other than Europe on EuroTripTips is because I have another travel blog, A Montrealer Abroad, which I use to talk about all things Montreal and my travels around the world.
But rest assured – I’m way too curious to stick to one continent only! I have actually been to Africa before, where I spent two fabulous weeks touring Morocco. I would love to see more of this underrated continent. And I am going to Japan for the first time in March!
12. Bonus question by Savid and Vid from BruisedPassports: Since you’ve lived in France for a while now, what is your favorite place for an offbeat getaway in France?
France is a great destination for getaways, since everything is so close together. My two favourite places would be Annecy in Rhône-Alpes and Ile-de-Ré in Aquitaine.