Celebrating New Year’s Eve in another country is a fantastic experience, and welcoming the new decade in such a beautiful city as Valencia was truly unforgettable. Whatever 2020 may bring, the start of the new year was a good one.
To make our holiday even more exciting, we decided to make it a road trip, stopping twice in France on the way to and back from Valencia.
We left on 27 December and made our first pitstop in Bourges, a charming city in central France. After a nice lunch, we took a walk in the Prés Fichaux, a lovely art deco garden.
Afterwards we did a little sightseeing in the centre of the city, where you will find historic and beautiful buildings. Some of the houses looked like they came right out of a fairytale. Really picturesque!
Our second short trip was in Perpignan, a small town in Southwest France. We were getting closer to Spain, so it got warmer and there were palm trees everywhere. The town, generally, felt more Spanish than French.
One of the things I loved most about Perpignan were its narrow and charming streets, where you could get a drink or eat something. The highlight of our day was the Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) on Quai Vauban. The place looked amazing and we had a lot of fun.
On 29 December, we finally arrived at our final destination: Valencia! Beautiful city, great weather, palm trees and orange trees everywhere. I could hardly believe it was December.
The first thing I did, of course, was getting some authentic, Spanish paella and a glass of sangria, pure deliciousness! It was something I was looking forward to the entire road, and my day just couldn’t get ruined anymore. Truly, it’s the small things that make me happy.
Valencia is a really fun, beautiful and interesting city. And as many southern destinations, it’s as amazing and vibrant by night as it is by day, which is one of the reasons why I prefer southern cities to the northern ones. I loved its narrow and authentic streets, and the street art is amazing.
On New Year’s Eve, we dined at Los Gómez Taberna, a restaurant close to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square), where everyone gathers for the countdown and the New Year’s party. The menu was quite pricey, €85.5 per person, but it was pretty good, and the drinks were limitless, which is always a plus.
They also gave us some party items, like masks and party horns, and the 12 lucky grapes. It’s a Spanish New Year’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight for good luck.
So after the dessert, we headed to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento for the countdown. The Christmas tree wasn’t real, of course, but it was still a real beauty. And the atmosphere was amazing. The Town Hall balcony served as a stage for DJs and everyone was dancing and celebrating together.
At the strokes of midnight we ate the 12 lucky grapes and welcomed the new decade with fantastic fireworks, great music and a huge group of happy people. It was quite an experience!
The morning after is always a lazy one, so we decided to go to the beach. Because in Spain you can visit the beach even in January. We went to the Playa del Puerto de Sagunto, a beautiful beach with palm trees, fresh ocean air and a pleasant breeze. It was very relaxing.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to find a place to eat there without a reservation, especially on 1 January, so we had to head back to the city for dinner. There I enjoyed my last paella and sangria of the trip, a bittersweet but delicious meal.
The next morning, we headed back home, but not without making our farewell pitstops. The first one was in Narbonne, a small town in southern France. We stayed in a cute, little convent that was turned into sort of a hotel, Chambre Familiale du Couvent. The room was really nice and clean.
Narbonne is cosy place with beautiful, historic architecture and lovely, narrow streets. We didn’t do much there, but just walking around and sightseeing is more than enough.
Before going back home, we made one last stop in Bourges. By then, we were too exhausted to explore the city any further, so we just had a nice little brunch in Holly’s Diner, an adorable, American-style restaurant.
It was a really fun place, the interior looked awesome, I just loved it! And the best thing is, you can pick any burger and ask to make it vegetarian. I had myself a delicious, classic burger with a quinoa patty. A perfect way to finish a great road trip!