Your guide to Chillin’ For Free

You see a board hanging up with the word “Free” and get drawn to it, don’t ya? Well, who doesn’t love free stuff, right? In today’s time when price hikes and surges are a daily thing, finding a place that gives you free stuff is such a bonus. Well, you can’t expect getting a coffee on the house everyday but the closest thing to receiving that kind of satisfaction is ‘free wifi’. Isn’t that the epitome of happiness when you notice that the hotel you’re staying in, the restaurant you’re eating in, the coffee shop you’re studying in, or even the mall you’re shopping in has Free Wi-Fi? If you’re new to Singapore, you’ll find it interesting or rather bizarre that kids are studying in McDonalds and Starbucks. The first thought I had when I saw this, I said to myself, ‘since when did a coffee and burger joint become a study spot? Isn’t it where people should be hanging out, chilling and enjoying eating and drinking?’ But apparently this is only partially true! In Singapore, you’re going to find every coffee shop filled with students studying hard, making scarily neat notes and working so dedicatedly amidst the chaos. All you gotta do is order your favorite frappe, put those headphones on and work for as long as you want with free access to Wi-Fi and washrooms. This article is all about free spots to study, work and may be even chill. Don’t mind the travel to these places though. Read on to find out more.

Image Courtsy : Starbucks Singapore

Starbucks

One of the most famous coffee shops worldwide, Starbucks is home to many students all across Singapore. With a number of stores across the island, every store has its own vibe and comfort. During my second year, I used to study in the one in Holland Village along with my friends. It so happens that you just get attached to the place and now, every time I pass by, I remember those good old days (though we were struggling while prepping for the exams). Once you’re there, the chilly environment and the brewing coffee smell makes you want to order something. After you order they let you stay for however long you want, that too with Free Wi-Fi (can’t stop stressing over this fact). The staff is pretty friendly in almost every outlet and Starbucks is definitely Student Friendly (who cares about being budget/pet friendly anymore, right?).


Image Courtsey – Marina Bay

McDonalds

I’m quite literally hesitating while mentioning this. I mean isn’t it supposed to be all about comfort food (reference to fries), value meals and ice creams? This is pretty much McDonalds in my head. But the students here seem to say different. You can spot a lot of hard-working school and college goers. Free Wi-Fi and good aircon isn’t a bad deal after all. Umm also top it up with good food at low prices.


Image courtsey : KTP Hospital

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital

Hold on! Don’t be shocked seeing the word ‘hospital’. Even I was surprised when I discovered this place. Well, who wouldn’t be, right? Hospitals are the last place anyone would want to be and going all the way for some kind of concentration seems to be hard to digest. But the greenery, open spaces and fresh air seems to be attracting a lot of people to crash there and have a peaceful study session. Located in Yishun, the place also has a NTUC Food fare where you can grab something to eat while escaping the heat outside.

Image Courtsey : Wikipedia

Changi Airport

I know what you’re exactly thinking! You’re like, why is this list getting weirder? First a coffee shop, then a fast food chain, next a hospital and now the airport? This is as fascinating to me as it is to you. Singaporeans are probably the only people who go to the airport to study. Don’t get them wrong, it’s not them studying before flying out, it’s them heading down to the airport JUST to study. If you think about it, it’s not a bad option. Unlimited Wi-Fi, water, washroom facilities, aircon, open spaces, multiple food options, shops to take a stroll in during breaks and even those comfy sitting areas. All. You need to carry is your study material, rest everything is sorted!


Photo Courtesy : Hypequiva

JCube

Yes, you’re thinking right! We’re moving into a mall now. If you’re the kind of person who wants some kind of noise in the background and doesn’t get distracted with it, you should definitely check out the study area in JCube. It’s equipped with vending machines for you to grab a snack in the midst of a stressful session. Conveniently located in Jurong East, the mall is surrounded by various other malls where you can go for a walk too and refresh yourself if needed.

Image courtsey : Lasalle

Lowercase

Located in LaSalle College, Lowercase, a café during the day and bar in the night, lets you sit, chill and work for as long as you want. Along with space to study and free Wi-Fi, the food offered is so tasty that you will feel at home. After working hard all day long, if you want to chill and hangout with your friends with some music, this is the perfect place again too. Every evening there are bands performing, so order some food, get a good spot and enjoy the music in this home like environment. 

Image Courtsey : Blossom World Society

MUG@ Blossom Youth Centre  

This one deserves a special mention. Located in Bukit Timah, it is conveniently and pleasantly nested in a youth community center. It does have free Wi-Fi, a few study tables and sofas. But what stands out in MUG is their other services provided. To start with, complimentary snacks! Yes, you heard it right. They provide little bites for you to munch between the study sessions and recharge. While you also decide to take a break, head down to their recreation corners. It’s nicely equipped with a piano and guitar, board games, few game consoles and even books for you to hold on to.

Do you also have presentations coming up? No rooms available at your uni? Struggling to find a place to practice with your groupmates? All this to ensure good grades in your class. Well, be relieved because MUG is here with another big news. You can book for a group discussion room which is equipped with a white-board and a TV. Don’t you think this is the perfect setting for a trial presentation?

Orchard Liberary– Image Courtsey Word Revel

Public Liberaries

You might be glad that I have finally mentioned a traditional study place. I wouldn’t have missed out on this one for sure, but I was saving the best for the last. I say this because, Singapore has a lot of libraries but few of them stand out. I’m going to name a few that you can definitely head down to. These libraries have ample space so you can be assured to find your perfect peaceful, silent spot.

  • The recently opened library @Harbourfront (Vivocity) has reclining chairs with views of Sentosa. It even hosts a few places equipped with headphones and computers preloaded with Ted talks and lots more.
  • If you want nothing more than a quiet study place, the library @Esplanade is your place to be. Not only is it less crowded, but it’s also located in the downtown area, with some pretty views.
  • Looking for something more centrally located? Don’t want to travel a lot but want to find your perfect spot? Head down to the one @Bugis. It’s not only conveniently located but also comes with a lot of free space.
  • Looking for appealing libraries? I would totally go for the library @Orchard. You might say the most important criteria would be comfort and silence, but hey! A little aesthetic appeal wouldn’t hurt right. 😉

You might be thinking this is amazing. So many options to choose from for an alternative place to study. Well yes, you can’t sit at home all day or even work in your own school campus every day. It gets boring and it’s always good to do something out of your routine. But do note, these aren’t the only places. There are few other places where you can pay and work. These ones have individual desks or private rooms for you to work. You’ll find quite a few in Singapore but the focus of this article is to make you aware of the places you can go for free. It’s not just all about studying, most of these places (well, everything except the libraries) can be your hangout spots too. Not to mention, there are a lot of good cafes in Singapore. From fancy to affordable and budget friendly ones, from isolated to being centrally located, there are lots of places for you to visit. Even if you think you have been to a lot of cafes, you’ll still be surprised to find out more. Now that the secret is out, stay tuned to us to find out more about cafes in our next article.

 

 

 

 

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Ten Picturesque spots in and around Paris

Paris is surely famous for all the right reasons. Also this digital era of Instagram and Pinterest makes it much more well known for the picturesque locations that it possesses. Paris is filled with scenic beauties, natural heritage, blessed with art, and adorned with greatest human made masterpieces which are hard to miss. 

Ever wondered where you get to see all these beautiful images online when travelers come to visit Paris and your favorite influencer makes you drool over your screens with their aesthetic selection of locations for getting hands down one of the best pictures in the City of Love!

 

 

1.Trocadéro at sunrise:

Enjoy stunning views of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro, an expansive complex of museums, sculptures, gardens and fountains. Anchoring the space is the striking Palais de Chaillot, which houses museums dedicated to maritime history, architecture and anthropology. 

In front of the Palais de Chaillot are the magnificent Trocadéro Gardens. Built for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris, the gardens align perfectly with the base of the Eiffel Tower.

Today this beautiful space plays a role in popular seasonal events throughout the year, including a fireworks show each Bastille Day and an annual Christmas Market with an ice skating rink. Complete with beautiful fountains and an array of sculptures, the postcard-worthy views of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro Gardens are simply not to be missed.

2. Parc des Buttes Chaumont

The Buttes-Chaumont Park, in the north-east of Paris, is one of the biggest and original green spaces in Paris, measuring 25 hectares. Its construction on quarries explains its impressive steepness and change in levels and heights. Visitors can appreciate stunning views of the city from this hilly setting, especially in the Montmartre district. The layout gives it a particular charm: caves and waterfalls, a suspended bridge, and a high viewpoint. It is brightened up with exotic, indigenous trees and numerous birds (seagulls, moorhens, and mallard ducks) share the area and enjoy the artificial lake. Entertainment for children also takes place in the park and there are break areas where you can get something to eat.

3. Colonnes de Buren

The Colonnes de Buren are officially known as Deux PlateauxIn 1986, the Ministry of Culture commissioned the sculptor Daniel Buren with their creation to adorn the Cour d’Honneur of the Palais-Royal. Deux Plateaux (literally 2 levels) originates in the basement of the courtyard in order to symbolize the link between street-level and underground Paris, both so rich in history.This was a way somehow to link past, present and future.

The 260 striped Colonnes de Buren are made of white Carrara marble from Italy and black marble from the French Pyrénées.These columns are truncated and of different heights, but they all have 8.7 cm wide stripes.

Controversial artwork

The Colonnes de Buren are placed in lines and turn the 3000m² Cour d’Honneur into a huge chessboard! No need to say that they were highly controversial at first, and still are! Many detractors argue that their ugliness ruined the beauty of the Palais-Royal. Indeed, the building is a listed Historical Monument. The columns were therefore installed ‘in a hurry’ and their inauguration skipped!

Ten years later only, water leaks and seepage in the basement, contributed to their degradation and they were falling apart. In 2007 Daniel Buren bitterly complained of the state of ‘extreme disrepair’ in which his columns were.

4.Musée de l’Orangerie

 Home to numerous impressionist and post-impressionist painters over the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Orangerie museum can be found in the ‘jardin des Tuileries’, right next to the place de la Concorde. It displays the famous masterpieces of Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Armedeo Modigliani, as well as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and many other artists of this period.

From Orangery to Museum

The name is not deceiving, the beautiful ‘musee de l’Orangerie’ is installed in an old orangery, built in 1852 to shelter the acidic citrus fruits from the ‘jardin des Tuileries’ in winter. Like all orangeries, the stone building was built in length, and was constructed in glass on the side of the Seine (to the south) and in bricks on the garden side (to the north) in order to conserve as much heat as possible. Its rather classic and simple decoration fits in perfectly with the area that surrounds it.

Converted throughout the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th into a warehouse, military accommodation, and then a site for diverse demonstrations (sports, musical, and even patriotic), the former orangery finally fell into the hands of the administration des Beaux-arts in 1921. This organisation had big plans for the orangery since they wanted to use it to hold a part of the ‘musee du Luxembourg’ which is now the National Museum of Modern Art.

5. Paris Pantheon

The Panthéon was the first major monument in Paris. It was built before the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, and was the first building that offered a panoramic view over France’s capital. It is located in the Latin Quarter, very close to the Jardin du Luxembourg.

The Panthéon was built between 1764 and 1790, firstly designed by Jacques Germain Soufflot and later by Jean Baptiste Rondelet. The Panthéon was created with the intention of combining the simplicity of the gothic architecture with the stateliness of the Greek architecture.

History

During the nineteenth century and depending on the political regime, the Panthéon was either used as a religious or as a patriotic building.

In the time of the Third Republic and coinciding with Victor Hugo’s funeral, the Panthéon’s necropolis was used to bury famous French citizens.

Visiting the Panthéon

The visit of this landmark can be divided into two. Firstly, the interior of the mausoleum, where visitors will be rendered speechless by its sheer size and decoration, and secondly the crypt, that contains the tombs of illustrious French citizens such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Louis Braille, Jean Monnet and Alejandro Dumas.

6. Rue Cremieux

At one time this enchanting little cobbled street, hidden away in the 12th arrondissement, was a “secret place” few people knew about. These days, however, Rue Crémieux is an increasingly sought out haunt for fashion photographers, filmmakers, and people looking for something uniquely suited the color-saturated world of Instagram.

In many respects, this quaint throughway between Rue de Lyon and Rue de Bercy doesn’t really feel like Paris at all and is perhaps more reminiscent of Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill, or Burano in Venice. 

Amid the colorful façades, trompes l’œil paintings, and shuttered windows, are window boxes and terracotta pots filled with lush plants that add to the feeling you have somehow escaped Paris for a moment. 

This is a residential street, albeit a very short one, but the homes are not large. In fact, on one side of the street, the building is little more than one room in depth.

7. Square Marcel Bleustein Blanchet

Once called Park Turlure after a former windmill on site, the square is terraced and provides some of the best (and perhaps most unique) views of the Sacré-Coeur. After all, fewer people wander around the back of the basilica, preferring to stop and photograph the ecclesiastical building face on.

But if you were to visit Montmartre, then remaining in the touristic spots would be your first mistake! The area has plenty of hidden gems to explore (not just the Sacré-Coeur and Place du Tertre) and its cobbled lanes are best explored on foot.

In the spring, Square Marcel-Bleustein-Blanchet is filled with blossoming wisteria, while in the summer months, the little park is the perfect place to enjoy a Parisian picnic, as well as a great place to stop and rest in the middle of a Montmartre walking tour.

Come the Autumnal season, the leaves turn golden hues and look magical against the backdrop of a sparkling Sacré-Coeur. So I guess, what I’m trying to say is that the Square is pretty photogenic all year ’round!

8. The Arc de Triomphe terrace

HISTORY OF THE MONUMENT

A unique viewpoint. From the top of the panoramic terrace, your eyes sweep over the whole of Paris.

 The revisited Antiquity. Architect Jean-François Chalgrin was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus in a single arch, but went beyond it by exceptional dimensions (about 50 m high, 45 m long and 22 m wide) and abandoning columns. 

 A key place of major national events. Wanted by Napoleon in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in 1836 by French king, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. The Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is rekindled every day at 18:30.

9. Butte Bergeyre

Perched on a little hill, 100m up, to the West of Buttes Chaumont, this micro-arrondissement in the 19e has all the charm of Parisian life without the people. If you’re looking for a place with peace and quiet, then this is it. All in all, there are only around 1200 residents, making this the kind of place that retains its village vibe in the heart of a modern metropolis

Named after Robert Bergeyre, a 19th-century French rugby player who died in 1914, the mount offers amazing views over the city AND one of the last remaining vineyards in the city of lights. It’s the perfect place to get a little bit lost on a lazy afternoon and forget that you’re in one of the busiest capital cities in the world.

10.Pont Alexandre III

The Pont Alexandre III is a deck arch bridge that spans the Seine in Paris. It connects the Champs-Élysées quarter with those of the Invalides and Eiffel Tower. The bridge is widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city. It has been classified as a French monument historique since 1975.

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