Author Archives: Jan

In France, beach-goers don’t have to carry books along, library is open on the beach

2017-08-22

The district of Seine Maritime on northern France has invented a fabulous way to delight people who like to spend time on region’s many beaches. In July and August, 12 mini libraries are established on the beaches of towns and villages along the coast from Le Havre to Le Treport. The selection consists of 12 000 titles ranging from novels to comics.
library on a beach in France. photo by Actualitte
The annual Lire a la Plage (Read on the beach) operation has supplied books to beach-goers since 2006. This summer, 13th mini library is open at Transmanche Dieppe-Newheaven, providing book lovers both French and English titles.

Here is a video that shows how the library on the beach works (the clip is in French, but shows the facilities, and how people enjoy it):

The beaches where books can be loaned are located in Fécamp, Le Havre, Sainte-Adresse, Yport, Étretat, Dieppe, Criel-sur-Mer, Tréport, Saint-Jouin Bruneval, Saint-Valery en Caux, Saint-Aubin sur Mer and in Veules-les-Roses.

The summer beach libraries in Seine Maritime are open from July 8 until August 26. Open daily in the afternoon from 2pm until 7pm.

Photos by Actualitte.

Beach library in Seine Maritime. Photo by Actualitte.

The best 360-degree consumer cameras to take on the road in 2017

2017-07-15

Someone said that a writer’s most important tool on the road is a camera. What about 360-degree cameras that can capture everything around them? Would they be even better tools for photography and documenting places or events?
360fly 4k camera
Prices of 360 cameras have quickly com down. It was only two or three years ago when I tried a few models, but the prices were between 500 and 1000 euros/dollars then. Now, it is possible to get a 360 camera from a reliable brand for 150 euros. Let’s find out which products are the best if you are in the market for a 360-degree camera in 2017.

High-end 360 cameras

Garmin Virb 360 camera

360FLY 4K is a ball-shaped camera with the lenses on top and screw holes at the bottom for a tripod. The price, around 300 dollars, is unbeatable at the moment in the high-end category.

Garmin Virb 360 is a camera from the successful GPS and sports electronics product manufacturer. The Virb 360 has been acclaimed in many reviews because of its image quality, but the price is on the high side, about 800 dollars.

Budget 360 cameras

LG 360 camera
LG 360 Cam is the winner of the price/value category. At 150 dollars, you get a 360 degree camera that fits in a pocket.

Another product in this category to consider is the Dunkam 360 Camera. It is attached to a smartphone which means that the image processing takes place on the phone and only the special lens sticks out from the other end of the phone. No cables or anything, the camera is plugged directly into the port. The Dunkam is priced at 150 dollars which means they have been able to raise the price after the launch when it was 99.
Dunkam 360 camera for smartphones
Product reviews at Tom’s Guide and Digital Trends were among the sources for this article.

Traveling in Europe but no books to read? Why not stay a night at a library in Paris

2017-06-07

The city of artists, authors and a few million other people – Paris – has a special hotel room waiting for travelers who like to sleep with books. Paris Boutik Hotel has rooms that are all different, designed to a theme. One of these rooms is a library. It is located in Marais district of the city.

Paris Boutik hotel room library bookstore
The library room is generous in size: 45 m2. There are books for children as well, but not for pets. Dogs or cats are not allowed in this room.

Books, on the other hand, are available in the bathroom as well, in case a guest forgot to take reading along from the bedroom or lounge.

The Paris Boutik Hotel has more information and online booking.

Via Actualitte (with more photos).

Paris Boutik hotel, books in bathroom
Paris Boutik hotel, library room

Top 10 most photographed sights in Europe in 2017 according to Instagram

2017-05-16

Europe is the number one travel destination in the world. Especially, the historical cities of the continent attract tourists (at least, before they find the beaches and mountains). The most photographed sights of Europe are familiar for most travelers even they haven’t visited the sites themselves yet.

Here is ranking for the top 10 most photographed sights in Europe according to the social media photo service Instagram (via DW).

Paris, France, Europe, Eiffel tower

Paris, France. Eiffel tower in morning mist.


1. Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

The Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in the world that charges a fee from visitors. About 7 million tickets are sold annually, and who knows how many million tourists don’t want to queue up to the lifts but settle for taking selfies on the ground. Don’t start bargaining over the price if someone offers to sell you the Eiffel. It has been sold already – many times.

2. Tower Bridge in London, England.

It is the towers standing in the Thames River that make the Tower Bridge stand out from the other splendid sights of London. One might think that Big Ben would be the iconic place to take a photo in London, but the bridge is more popular.

Barcelona, Spain, Sacrada da Familia, design by Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


3. Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.

Two things, at least, will surprise you if you visit the Gaudi designed church in Barcelona: it is much bigger and impressive than any photo can ever tell, and it is still a construction site. The church is so big and complicated to build that the work started in 1882, and is planned to finish in 2026. In reality, it will never finish because older parts of the building already need renovation work. Nonetheless, it is one of the most remarkable man-made sights in the whole world.

4. Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

Tourists may queue up to the churches of the Vatican for hours, but the Colosseum is the most photographed sight in Rome. There was space for about 50 000 spectators in Colosseum in the glory days of Rome (who weren’t there for Russell Crowe).

5. Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

The Red Square has been a backdrop in so many movies (especially action films where a hot car chase crosses the square) that it may appear familiar even though you haven’t visited it. Other sights on the sides of the square include St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, and Lenin’s Mausoleum.

6. Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

The remnants of a fortress have been guarding the city of Athens for over 3000 years. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for 30 years.

berlin, branderburger gate

Berlin, Germany: Brandenburger Gate.


7. Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

If the Berlin Wall still existed, it could be one of the most photographed sights in Europe, but it disappeared in 1989. The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin’s center is a majestic sight with beautiful old administrative buildings around it. (Pieces of the Berlin Wall have been retained here and there if you want to have a look how it used to be).

8. Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Charles Bridge is located in a central place in the old town of Prague. Probably every visitor will walk across it. The castle on the other side of the river and the center of the old town on the other side should be on every tourist’s itinerary.

9. Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, UK.

Edinburgh is such a lovely city to explore and to photograph that it is surprising that one subject is in everyone’s frame. The Castle on the Castle Hill is difficult to photograph because of its size and location. Tip: in August, the Tattoo event in Edinburgh is remarkable.

10. Atomium statue in Brussels, Belgium.

Usually, it is true that if millions of people think a place or a monument is worth visiting, there is something truly remarkable in there. Well, maybe this is an exception. The Atomium statue in Brussels was constructed for the 1958 World Fair. What’s wrong with taking a selfie in front of Manneken Pis in the city center?

View travel photograph galleries by travel writers here.

Travel photography gallery for 2013: France, Germany

2014-01-28

Year 2013 and late 2012 was wonderful time in France, primarily in southern parts of the country. Traveling in the region took me to neighbour countries as well. That is why there are a few images from Germany (in addition to France) in the 2013 Travel Photo Gallery.

The result of all the travel in Provence and in Alpes Maritimes, and exploring villages, beaches, mountains, cities and towns was published in late 2013: travel guidebook The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera.

I have been asked a few times which is more fun or more work: writing or photographing? Both are a lot of work. A fraction of all the photos are selected for a final book. Also a fraction of the original text ends up in the final book, because text is edited, re-edited and finetuned many times during the process.

Here you can view the 2013 travel photo gallery:

Nice, Cap d'Antibes and Mediterranean

Riviera (Cote d’Azur), France.