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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

L’Écosse, notamment Édimbourg (Edinburgh...further travels with Patrick)

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

Quand j’était à New York pour le Noël, j’ai démandé à Patrick où il voudrait voyager en mars quand il me rendrait visite à Paris. J’étais un peu surpris que son réponse était Édimbourg en l’Écosse. Mais on a trouvé un vol économique et j’ai lui dit « on y va ! »

Donc la semaine dernière, Patrick et moi avons passés trois jours dans Édimbourg. C’était la première visite à l’Écosse pour les deux. Une amie écossiase m’a prévenu qu'il pourrait faire très froid en mars et que j’aurais besoin d’un bon manteau. Mais on a eu la bonne chance et il faisait pas trop froid avec peu de pluie.

When I was in New York for Christmas, I asked Patrick where he wanted to go when he visited me this month in Paris. I was a bit surprised that his response was Edinburgh. But when we found an inexpensive AF flight, I said "Let's go!"

So last week, we spent 3 days in Edinburgh, the hilly capital of Scotland. It was the first visit for both of us. A Scottish friend had warned us that it could be quite cold there at this time of year, but we had good luck with the weather which was just a few degrees colder than Paris.

Looking up at the Royal Mile from Princes Street Gardens

Édimbourg est plus connue pour ses fêtes, notamment le mois d’août pour Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, et Edinburgh International Book Festival. Toutefois, en mars il n’y a pas de fêtes. Ce n’était pas une problème pour nous, car nous étions là pour découvrir la ville d’Édimbourg, qui est la capitale de l’Écosse.

La ville a deux quartiers, la vieille ville médiévale et la ville nouvelle géorgienne avec le château d’Édimbourg énorme en haut au centre. La première après-midi, on a exploré la ville nouvelle.

Edinburgh is most known for it's festivals (at least to me), and in particular the festivals during the month of August....the International, Fringe and International Book festivals. I have friends who go every year for 2 weeks and I can only imagine what it must be like, with hundreds of theatre, music and art offerings to choose from.... but also the crowds to go with it. In March, however, there aren't any festivals which was fine with us as we were there primarily to discover the city itself.

The city is divided into two parts: the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town, with the majestic Edinburgh Castle rising high above it in the center. We started by exploring the New Town, a fairly small grid-like area lined with architecturally homogenous buildings. I loved the narrow alleyways behind the streets lined with garages many of which have been transformed into small carriage houses.

Coates Crescent in Haymarket

Prince Albert Memorial in Charlotte Square

Scottish National Gallery

Pub: The Voyage of Buck

Carriage house

Pub: Shakespeare's

St Cuthbert's and its "kirkyard" or cemetery---that's the castle in the background and up the hill

Old grave marker in the kirkyard ... earliest burial records date from 1595

St Cuthbert's

Early 19th century Church of St John, designed by Scottish architect William Burn

Ceiling derived from Henry VII Chapel Westminster Abbey

St John's

Le deuxième jour, on est marché à pied au château, qui a eu un centre royale depuis 1093. Le château est dans la vieille ville, où on a passé la fin de la séance.

The second day, we climbed up to the castle, which has been the center of Scottish royal life since the 11th century. You can read about the castle here.

The castle and Royal Mile are in the Old Town and for the rest of our stay, we were in the Old Town.

Edinburgh Castle from St Cuthbert's kirkyard

Patrick on the esplanade in front of the castle where the impressive (or so I am told as I've not seen it) Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place in August

Scottish National War Memorial built to honor those who died in WWI

View of New Town....dome is West Register House, where the National Records of Scotland are housed, on Charlotte Square

Start of the Royal Mile as seen from the castle. Steeple is that of former Tron Kirk, now home to a book store!

Lang Stairs, main route to the summit in medieval times

On a fait une promenade dans « The Royal Mile » du château au palais Holyrood.

We walked the Royal Mile, a grand street (with several name changes) that runs from the castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Top of the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile

One of numerous "closes" (a close is a narrow alleyway) that run off the Royal Mile

St Giles Cathedral, aka High Kirk of Scotland...Saint Giles is the patron saint of Scotland

Distinctive crown dome of St Giles

On était trop tard pour visiter le Palais, donc on a monté un chemin dans le parc Holyrood. Ce n’était pas Arthur’s Seat, mais c’était assai haut pour voir bien la ville et la mer.

We weren't able to visit the Palace, so instead walked/climbed a bit in Holyrood Park, a royal park next to the palace in the center of the city, probably best known for Arthur's Seat, a promontory from which one can see spectacular views of the city and sea. It was quite blustery on the hill and the climb to Arthur's Seat would have taken about an hour, so we opted instead for a much shorter climb on the other side and were nonetheless rewarded with quite stunning views.

Holyrood Park looking in direction of Arthur's Seat

Holyrood Park

Panoramic view of the city, North Sea and Arthur's Seat

Patrick descending.....

Le dernier jour, on a fait le « Scotch Whiskey Experience » et, sans Patrick qui a du acheter plus whiskey pour ses amis, j’ai visité le Palais de Holyrood. C'est la résidence officielle de la reine d'Angleterre. Depuis le 16e siècle, c'était la résidence principale des rois et des reines d'Écosse, notamment Mary, qui a vécu là de 1561 vers 1567.

On our last day, we did the Scotch Whiskey Experience, described in its brochure as "a sensational journey through a replica distillery and The World's Largest Whiskey Collection.....a truly breathtaking experience for everyone." Don't know that it was sensational and breathtaking (though there was a surround video of the 5 Scotch whiskey producing regions that WAS pretty breathtaking!), but it was surprisingly well-done and informative. And Patrick fulfilled his assignment to purchase a nice bottle of whiskey not sold in the States for a friend.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, notably Mary who returned there from France in 1561, after the death of her first husband François, a short-lived King of France.

The Holyrood or Holy Rood is a Christian relic alleged to be part of the True Cross on which Jesus died. The word derives from the Old English rood, meaning a pole and the cross, or the Scots haly ruid ("holy cross").

Patrick checking the "legs" of his whiskey

Largest collection of scotch whiskey in the world....3384 bottles!

One of several gates to the Palace of Holyroodhouse

A Victorian fountain in the forecourt

Inner quadrangle

Palace gardens

À côté du palais sont les ruines de l'abbaye augustinienne Holyrood, construit au 12e siècle. Pour moi, c'était ce que j'ai voulu vraiment voir. J'ai trouvé les ruines magnifiques et spirituelles.

Next to the palace are the ruins of the Augustinian Holyrood Abbey, built in the 12th century. I was most eager to see this and found the site to be truly magnificent and spiritual. I was reminded of the ruins of

Miscellaneous images of the Old Town:

Victoria Street (leading to Grassmarket) which some say is the inspiration for Harry Potter's Daigon Alley

Victoria Street

Kiltmakers on Victoria Street

Royal Mile wizard....not sure how she does it!

If only they sold burgers, they'd have it all covered....

Victoria Street on a rainy night....

Couldn't resist this unusually colorful building near the bottom of the Royal Mile

Tasty Buns boozy bakes would pair well with Melissa Tavss' Tipsy Scoop boozy ice cream....

On the corner of Cowgate and Whiskey Row....

Dirty Dick's clock....

Just because....l love doors!

.....and flowers

....and lamposts and rooftops


Man with owl on the Royal Mile

St Giles' wedding party

Wedding guests

Patrick at Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen...excellent pub lunch

We ate incredibly well.....who knew Scotland was such a hotbed of inventive and tasty cuisine? Though I will admit neither one of us indulged in haggis or neeps and tatties. In case you need a reminder (I did), Scotland’s iconic national dish (haggis) is made of sheep’s pluck (liver, lungs, and heart) minced with spices, salt, oatmeal, suet and onion inside a lining of the animal’s stomach. "Neeps" are parsnips and "tatties" are potatoes frequently served with haggis...more conventional but the nomenclature was totally new to me.


41 West Nicolson Street

0131 667 7010

Excellent farm to table...intimate and low key recommended by our friends who have been going to the Festival every August for years...

Owner and front of house: Rachel

2 George IV Bridge

0131 226 1888

Excellent seafood....a bit pricey but worth it

9 Advocate’s Close

0131 225 4465

Delicious lunch....reasonable and innovative dishes

Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen 81-83 Lothian Road 0131 228 6392

Good pub lunch

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