Too often with travel we focus on the good things. Nobody wants to admit to a failed trip, a disappointing visit or a holiday that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. As such, it can sometimes feel as though there is a certain amount of pressure to have enjoyed every minute. If you didn’t find everything wonderful, were you really travelling properly? Well actually, yes. Like all things in life, travel has ups and downs, highs and lows, and sometimes there are places that turn out to be disappointing to visit. I usually try to focus on the highlights of a trip, the bits I would recommend to other people, but sometimes it’s good to share the places that weren’t so great. If anything, it might reassure someone else that it is ok to have a sub-par travel experience.

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Cologne was a city I never imagined returning to. I first went for a short city break to the Cologne Christmas markets one December which I really enjoyed, but thought I’d seen the city. More recently, I’ve been on a summer city break to Cologne and had a completely different, but just as enjoyable experience. There are certain sites which will be enjoyable regardless of the time of year, but this guide will also focus on the two different seasons as they have a completely different atmosphere.

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You’ll probably see that there is a common thread in my posts about the South of France… each of the places I have blogged about so far (Toulon and Nice) I’d like to return to, and Aix-en-Provence is no exception. We headed to Aix as soon as we arrived at Marseille airport so were slightly tired, definitely acclimatising to the heat and I was trying to get my brain in gear to speak French, but despite these less than ideal conditions I really enjoyed our brief time in Aix for several reasons.

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24 hours isn’t a particularly long time to stay anywhere, let alone a city that you’ve wanted to visit for a significant amount of time. In a way I’m quite pleased I didn’t do too much research before we arrived as it meant that we chose to do things as they came and took the time to enjoy it rather than marching our way through a list of pre-planned activity. That said, there is clearly plenty more which can be done than we fitted into our 24 hours so hopefully another trip to Nice will be on the cards for the future…

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When you talk about visiting the South of France most people will instantly think of the glamorous French Riviera, or the Provençal countryside filled with lavender fields or vineyards. Despite being described as the sunniest city in France by some of the people we met, the city of Toulon is unlikely to be anyone’s first guess of where you might be headed. A port city which was largely destroyed during the Second World War due to its large naval base, Toulon isn’t as pretty or as famous as the towns and cities further down the coast. However the sea is just as blue and the area is still interesting to explore – and with fewer tourists doing so!

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