The city of Bucharest has been referred to as ‘Little Paris’ since the 1900s, which was a period when the French lifestyle and architecture were very influential to the city. I have been to both Bucharest and Paris, and I did see the similarities with many buildings and monuments.
That was as far as I could stretch it though. I am not in any way knocking Bucharest because I absolutely enjoyed my time there, and I found the city fascinating.
Although I can see how over 100 years ago, Bucharest with its fine French architecture being dubbed ‘Little Paris’; after transforming itself from its Ottoman Empire village structure.
It must have been a magnificent transformation back then, with people wearing the latest Parisian fashions, greeting each other in French, and locals traveling to Paris for holiday or study.
When I had visited Bucharest, I was accompanied throughout the city with a private local guide who showed me ‘Little Paris’, and its fine French architecture. He also brought me to other sites of significance from the last century, including landmarks of its turbulent communist past.
Learning about the mix of both eras that occurred during the 20th century, will give you a more rounded outline of current Bucharest’s architecture and landscape.
Bucharest has seen it share of changes over the last two centuries, and continues to do so and move forward. It was a wonderful thing to see its beautiful remaining hints of the country’s past with its dalliances, and influences of the French culture.
If you are interested in visiting Bucharest, there are several things that I would like to recommend, as well as foods to try. While I was in Romania I did stay in Bucharest, but I took day trips to Peles Castle, Bran Castle, and Brasov. I have added links with additional blogs, if you looking for interesting day trips to do from Bucharest – Enjoy!
Bucharest Architectural Sites of Interest
King Carol Statue and Kin Carol University
Palace of the Parliament
Arcul de Triumf
Monument of the Romanian Heroes WWII
Monument of the Heroes
Academy of Economic Studies
The Cretulescu Orthodox Church
The Memorial of Rebirth – Revolution Square
Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum
When I had visited the Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum in Bucharest, I was told by locals that I was going to see the “Real Romania”. This open-air museum, which is located on the King Michael I Park showcases the traditional village life of Romania. It houses 272 authentic peasant farms, structures, and homes that represents the “Real Romania”
The Village Museum can be a very authentic experience as periodically peasant families from the homestead origins will live inside these homes, some being descendants from the original home owners. The villagers have brought in everything to make it an authentic life experience, including animals and traditional clothing.
The Village Museum makes a great addition to understanding the architecture of Romania.
For more information – Bucharest’s Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum | The Real Romania
The House of Nicolae Ceausescu
When I had first posted my photos on social media of my visit to the House of Ceauşescu, I got mixed reviews after my Romanian-American friend re-posted them. The thoughts of some were upsetting, especially for her friends that had lived through Nicolae Ceauşescu’s dictatorship regime.
My friend had explained that it was more informative for my visit as a tourist, on how he lived in comparison to the rest of the country. I fully understood the bitterness felt because I too was upset, and astonished while visiting. Also to my friend’s point, it was very informative for me to understand Ceauşescu’s lavish lifestyle. It also added to educating myself on this region’s former communistic past, and how Eastern Europe/ the Balkans have evolved over the decades.
The Ceauşescu Mansion was the private residence for Nicolae, his wife Elena and their three children. It was constructed in the mid-1960’s with additions made between 1970 and 1972. At the time this residence in Bucharest was known as the ‘Spring Palace’, as it is located on Primaverii Street (Spring Street).
For more information – The House of Nicolae Ceauşescu | Discovering Romania
Day Trips from Bucharest
Peles Castle was one of the most picturesque palaces that I had visited throughout Eastern Europe. The wood framed exterior reminded me of Bavaria, another European region that I have always enjoyed. It was built between 1873 and 1914, although its inauguration was in 1883. It was constructed in the Neo-Renaissance style for King Carol I. The location of the castle is located in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains, which was an absolute amazing drive.
I truly enjoyed visiting Peles Castle, and it still is one of my most favored throughout Europe. I would definitely recommend a trip to Peles while visiting Romania, as it would be an excellent addition to your holiday.
For more information – The Picturesque Peles Castle | Discovering Romania
“Oh! You also went to Brasov!” My friend who grew up in Romania was excited that I had visited Brasov, and loved the photos that I shared with her. She told me stories of how her family used to take trips to Brasov when she was a child before coming to America. After visiting, I could see how this charming town filled her childhood with fond family memories.
Brasov is popular for its colored Baroque buildings with cobbled streets, and has a lovely old town. There is much to explore including medieval Saxon walls and bastions, an impressive Gothic Black Church, as well as Casa Sfatului, which is the old town hall that is now a local history museum.
For more information – In Beautiful Brasov! | Discovering Romania
Truth be told, Bran Castle in Transylvania is nothing extraordinary in the sense that it has no relation to Dracula, as I had mentioned in a previous blog. From what I have been told, it was a fortress that was chosen for tourism. It is a remarkable fortress in architecture, and had a small tie with Vlad the Impaler, as he was imprisoned here for a bit of time. Although, I have also read in other sources that Vlad, had never been to the fortress but still was allied with Bran and Brasov. There are also no actual ties to Dracula or vampires in Transylvania, only what is written in Bram Stoker’s novel.
Today, Bran Castle is owned by the family of Queen Marie, who it was gifted to in 1920. This was her royal residence from 1920 to 1948. The castle is now a popular tourist attraction, and museum that is dedicated to Queen Marie. Although, there are many Dracula inspired events that happen here including a Halloween event. It does seem that the locals have adopted our stories for the tourists! Do remember though that this is a castle dedicated to the former Romanian Queen Marie.
For more information – Transylvania’s Bran Castle – Truth and Myth | Exploring Romania
I was not sure what to expect with the cuisine in Romania, Bulgaria, and Movdava. I did a little research but not much as I would have wanted to. I had to quickly change my plans from Turkey to Romania, which is another story in itself. Anyways, what I did find with this region’s food was something amazing. I believe Romanians and their neighboring countries may take for granted how wonderful their simple and natural cuisine truly is.
All I can say is that most of the food I ate was fresh, natural, and organic. I learned a lot about how we eat in other parts of the world (including America) from these three countries. The flavors we have lost due to mass production and unnatural ingredients has blanded our taste buds. Now surely I did eat some foods that were not so healthy and deep fried but it was a good deep fried- haha!
For my Romania food blog – What I ate in ROMANIA, MOLDAVA and BULGARIA – A Food Journal
The journey of a thousand begins of a single step…
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📸 All photos are taken by me (unless noted) and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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