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Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of... more
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Paris
Everyone who visits Paris for the first time probably has the same punchlist of major attractions to hit: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Just make sure you leave some time to wander the city’s grand boulevards and eat in as many cafes, bistros and brasseries as possible. And don’t forget the shopping—whether your tastes run to Louis Vuitton or Les Puces (the flea market), you can find it here.
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Nice has a cosmpolitan Riviera vibe, and you'll enjoy exploring its fashionable... more
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Nice
Nice has a cosmpolitan Riviera vibe, and you'll enjoy exploring its fashionable boutiques and restaurants and sunning yourself on its popular beaches. (Just don't expect soft sand—these beaches have pebbles.) Walk up to Castle Hill for a beautiful view of the city, the Bay of Angels and of course, the bright blue water that gave the Cote d'Azur its name.
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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lyon has 2,000 years of history imprinted on its... more
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Lyon
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lyon has 2,000 years of history imprinted on its streets (yes, the cobblestone kind). Explore this history in Vieux Lyon (one of Europe's most extensive Renaissance neighbourhoods) and Lyon's two Roman amphitheatres, which still stage rock concerts today. It's no wonder Lyon is a popular area for travellers, with its dynamic university, first-class shopping, antique markets, vibrant theatre and music festivals, and a range of interesting museums, such as the International Puppet Museum and the Museum of Miniatures and Film Sets. (When we say "interesting," we mean it.)
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Controlled by the British for 300 years, Bordeaux is one of the most un-French... more
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Bordeaux
Controlled by the British for 300 years, Bordeaux is one of the most un-French cities in France (a good or bad thing, depending on your tastes). What was once a sleepy city (literally nicknamed "Sleeping Beauty" in French) is now a thriving tourist destination and mecca for wine enthusiasts. The city's boundless energy is supplemented by the spirited university population. Unless you've been wine-tasting all day... then you'll probably sleep quite well.
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The northern French town of Bayeux is best known for the eponymous tapestry that... more
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Bayeux
The northern French town of Bayeux is best known for the eponymous tapestry that depicts the 11th-century Norman Conquest. You can see it, of course, on display at the Bayeux Tapestry Museum. The cloth’s original home was the Bayeux Cathedral, which still towers over the area, looking a bit like a Gothic wedding cake. Inside you’ll find beautifully detailed murals and haunting crypts. Bayeux makes an excellent jumping off point to tour nearby historic WWII sites.
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As the French would say, Lourdes, c’est magnifique. Nestled in the southwestern... more
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Lourdes
As the French would say, Lourdes, c’est magnifique. Nestled in the southwestern Pyrénees, its status as a pilgrimage center was largely cemented by the sighting of the Virgin Mary at the The Grotto of Massabielle. The city abounds with religious activity, with opportunities to attend mass, say the Rosary as part of the daily Candlelight Procession, or visit holy sites like the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The Cirque de Gavarnie offers opportunities to experience breathtaking mountain beauty, such as the tiered Gavarnie Falls.
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Galas, regattas, the Film Festival and an outrageously attractive and affluent... more
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Cannes
Galas, regattas, the Film Festival and an outrageously attractive and affluent set characterize Cannes. Vast yachts obscure the view and the town lives up to its motto, "Life is a festival." People-watching is the activity that brings most visitors to Cannes, and hotel-lined La Croisette provides a fine promenade. First popularized by Coco Chanel, Cannes beaches are a huge draw. Get expensive seaside food and drinks service on hotel sand or opt for the free public beaches, Plages du Midi and de la Boca.
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As host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix will always have a place... more
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Chamonix
As host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix will always have a place in the history books. Its main attractions are Mont-Blanc (Western Europe's tallest mountain) and the many ski areas that face the Chamonix Valley. Steep slopes and extreme weather conditions suit advanced skiers best, but there are also runs for beginners. Just make sure everyone in your party knows a green circle from a black diamond. Oh, and another note for the history books—Pierce Brosnan was here (filming a James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough).
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Hugging the Swiss border, this stylish resort gets over 26 feet of snow each... more
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Morzine
Hugging the Swiss border, this stylish resort gets over 26 feet of snow each winter. Villages des Enfants, for kids and young teens, is the perfect place for learning. Softski is for adult newcomers or those who’ve been away for a while, while The Stash is Europe’s first giant ecological snowboard park.
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Aix, a graceful, lively city, is known for its thermal hot springs, art schools... more
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Aix-en-Provence
Aix, a graceful, lively city, is known for its thermal hot springs, art schools and universities. Wander the Cours, old town and Quartier Mazarin on foot, stopping at cafés, bookstores and markets. Kids whining? Have them count fountains… Aix reportedly has 1,000 of them.
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