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AFAR Guide to France

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Wherever you find yourself in France– looking up the intricate facade of Notre Dame or wandering around the coastline of Nice –it's hard not to be charmed. On every trip embrace the romantic, indulge in the luxurious and chat with a local. If you do, you'll find rainy days are more picturesque, tastes are richer (due to a large dose of butter) and the French are friendlier than you'd imagine.
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Place de la Cathédrale, 76000 Rouen, France
Beneath the Gothic stone lacework of the south façade of Rouen's cathedral, a fruit-market sets up for business on a rainy autumn day. (for the 'markets' theme, 22-28 March)
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Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville, Monaco
Monte Carlo is an awesome place where luxury and beauty coexist harmoniously. Traveling to Nice is the way of getting to the capital of Monaco. The buildings are beautiful and the people living there are so hospitable ! Places like the Palace, the...
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38 Rue Jean Mermoz, 14804 Deauville, France
A stay at the Hotel Royal Barriere is a treat in itself. Staying there during racing season is a real highlight! Early each morning, horses are brought to the beach for workouts in the surf of the English Channel.
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Honfleur, France
No trip to France's Normandy coast is complete without a visit to the charming port of Honfleur. Here you will find Impressionist art, tasty cuisine, and warm hospitality.
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Without a doubt Versailles is the most luxurious palace in Europe, built to astound visitors and impress the king's subjects into awed submission with crystal chandeliers, gilt, and fine art. This opulent monument is also attractive...
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1 Quai Lamennais, 35000 Rennes, France
At first glance, Rennes’ cobblestoned streets and half-timbered homes evoke medieval France. But in the last decade, Brittany’s beautifully preserved capital has evolved into a contemporary cultural center with a packed festival calendar. To...
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Rue du Barri, 06360 Èze, France
A breathtaking view of dramatic cliffs diving into the sparkling azure seas sets the scene for a spectacular meal of seasonal specialties by Michelin two-star chef Ronan Kervarrec that may be perfectly paired with any one of 15,000 bottles of wine...
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71 Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, 06230 Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France
Sitting at the tip of the peninsula of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, which juts out into the Mediterranean, the iconic Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, is now under the management of the Four Seasons brand. Located halfway between Nice and Monaco in the...
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Nice, France
I loved this delicate church nestled among tropical palm trees - the epitome of Nice! French, man-made beauty rubbing shoulders with tropical playground surroundings.
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159 Avenue du Pylône, 06600 Antibes, France
Undoubtedly one of the most popular vacation spots in France, Nice attracts people from all over the world, and although the beaches tend to get especially crowded during the summer, the scenery is absolutely gorgeous anytime of the year. What I...
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8 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75011 Paris, France
Fashion designer Stella Cadente has a wild imagination, one which she explored full tilt when she was asked to design the rooms in the right bank's recently renovated Hotel Original. Upon entering the 19th century building, situated between...
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10 Avenue d'Iéna, 75116 Paris, France
The former residence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, on a hill leading down to the Seine next to the Trocadéro, has been converted into this striking palace hotel whose airy, light-filled spaces by Pierre-Yves Rochon showcase...
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96 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France
Perfect for exploring the trendy 10th arrondissement, Le Citizen Hotel overlooks the Canal Saint-Martin, footsteps from where Amélie skipped stones in the French movie of the same name. The location is convenient for walking or using public...
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75003 Paris, France
Manicured hedges in a hidden garden off of Rue Francs-Bourgeois in the Marais district
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44 Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris, France
Flora Mikula, one of France’s rare female top chefs, has given up her gastronomic restaurant Les Saveurs de Flora to open her dream Paris place, a small urban auberge in the 11th arrondissement where travelers can mingle with les citoyens...
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8 Rue de Bellechasse, 75007 Paris, France
A fairy-tale-like property near the Musée d’Orsay is one of three Paris hotels designed by Christian Lacroix. Dragonflies, astrological sym- bols, and fantastical creatures flew from Lacroix’s imagination onto the walls. From $364. 33/(0)...
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Sainte-Avoye, Paris, France
Just down the street from the charming Carreau du Temple, an open-air market square in the Haut Marais that recently reopened after heavy renovations, sits OFR: a bookshop-cum-gallery that houses an extensive collection of multilingual art and...
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75009 Paris, France
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is worth a visit if only to stand under its magnificent glass dome. The family business has survived as a one-stop-shopping hub for five generations, thanks to steady innovation and an emphasis on high fashion and...
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29 Rue de Poitou, 75003 Paris, France
The area around the rue de Bretagne in the north part of the Marais continues to be a big draw with locals and visitors for a number of reasons: the Marché des Enfants Rouges covered market with food stalls, the wincingly bobo-chic Café Charlot...
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132-140 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France
Marché aux Puces de St.-Ouen, aka Clignancourt, is Europe’s largest flea market and the city’s favorite place to find a bargain. Exiting the metro at Porte de Clignancourt, those in the know pass by the counterfeit...
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111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France
It isn't uncommon to see large tour buses idling in front of Merci, one of the city's most popular home and design shops, as visitors alight, armed with canvas shopping totes and credit cards at the ready. The store's philanthropic mission brings...
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116 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008 Paris, France
Paris wine shops routinely host free tastings, often led by the growers who make the wine. Paris by Mouth publishes a calendar of tastings, but two shops can be depended upon to have something interesting on the weekends: Les Caves Augé and La...
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47 Rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris, France
The Paris café scene has always been compelling, but the actual café (coffee) is often forgettable. That's all changing, thanks to places like Coutume, Kookaboora and Telescope, where obsessive (and often mustachioed) baristas are redefining the...
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22 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris, France
After glowing stints at Fauchon and Le Bon Marché, pastry chef and author Sébastien Gaudard opened his own pâtisserie on rue des Martyrs, just south of Pigalle, 9 months ago; the speed of his ascent into the annals of traditional pastry-making...
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1er étage, Tour Eiffel, Champ de Mars, 75007 Paris, France
There is a relatively unknown restaurant on the first platform of the Eiffel Tower. This used to be a private conference room area closed to the public. But it's was re-done into a restaurant called 58 Eiffel Tower. It sits at 58 meters above the...
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80 Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010 Paris, France
The streets radiating from rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis are booming with destination restaurants and bars. This isn't postcard Paris, but it's a lively (chaotic but safe) reflection of the diversity found in France today. Mixed in among the African...
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134 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, France
Tasting the city's best baguettes is one thing, but wouldn't it also be great to learn how to make them? Award-winning baker Benjamin Turquier, shown, runs the bakery 134 RdT and placed in the top 10 in this year's annual Best Baguette in Paris...
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6 Rue Victor Cousin, 75005 Paris, France
Context Travel offers history, architecture and culinary tours in various European cities. I went on the " foodie" tour that began on a beautiful fall Paris morning in the toney neighborhood of St. Germain- de- Pres by meeting our friendly English...
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5 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, France
Frenchie (the restaurant) is nearly impossible to get into, but the wine bar across the street provides a taste of chef Gregory Marchand’s housemade charcuterie and pasta, as well as small plates such as homemade smoked trout and burrata cheese...
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43 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris, France
Now you can sample the cuisine of celebrated local chefs by visiting their walk-in wine bars. Braden Perkins eases his elegant culinary style at Verjus’s downstairs bar (47 Rue de Montpensier), where groups share small plates of succulent pork...
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You'd think that having a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (a prestigious crafstman title) at the helm of a restaurant would imply steep prices, but at Semilla, you're in for both a great meal and a great deal. The international influence is strong...
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37 Rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris, France
The historic Androuet fromagerie has been sourcing and maturing exceptional cheeses since 1909. Their shop on rue Mouffetard is staffed by friendly English-speakers who will be happy to explain and vacuum-seal your selections, including the...
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9 Carrefour de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris, France
Booking a room at Le Relais Saint-Germain, managed by the beloved chef Yves Camdeborde, is the only surefire way to score a table at his bistro next door, Le Comptoir. Each hotel room is dedicated to a prominent author who was inspired by Paris,...
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Giverny, France
The sun was warm and had a different illumination that came through this photograph of Monet's gardens. This father and child felt like a moment in time captured that could be 1811 or 2011.
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Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Nothing is a more powerful symbol of the City of Light than the Eiffel Tower. Designed by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 Paris Exposition, it's one of the world's most-visited monuments, with nearly 7 million people ascending the 1,062-foot...
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35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
At the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city, you'll find the Basilica de Sacré-Cœur. Contrasting with the Gothic churches like Notre-Dame, the Romano-Byzantine architecture is both beautiful inside and out. While...
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69 Rue de Lyon, 75012 Paris, France
Paris boasts an unusual elevated park, La Promenade Plantée, built atop an abandoned elevated railway viaduct in the 12th arrondissement. It starts a block east of the Place de la Bastille and stretches for 2.9 elevated miles. Landscape architect...
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Père-Lachaise, 75020 Paris, France
Pere Lachaise has got to be the coolest cemetery in the world. Although that claim is subject to personal opinion it is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris and one of it's oldest (Note that I have also visited Lafayette in New Orleans and...
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1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
In the 14th district of Paris are the Catacombs, also known as the underground ossuary (or l'Ossuaire Municipal) where 6 million skeletons are stacked in an orderly fashion and date back several centuries ago. This was done because Paris...
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6 Rue de la Grange Batelière, 75009 Paris, France
Passages were designed in the 19th century to give Parisians protection from muddy streets and horse-drawn vehicles. Some 20 of these covered walkways remain today, including the Passage Verdeau; they are an excellent way to journey back into...
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Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
This former royal palace is one of the largest museums in the world, and its art collection is considered one of the most comprehensive. It contains around 400,000 works, although—mercifully, perhaps—not all are on display at any one...
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10 Place de l'Opéra, 75009 Paris, France
In 1963 artist Marc Chagall was commissioned by the French Minister of Culture to repaint the Paris Opera House ceiling. The artist choice was controversial because, although a French nationalized citizen, Chagall was a Russian Jew, and a modern...
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Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
Located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe was inspired by Rome's Arch of Titus and commissioned by Napoleon in 1806. It was inaugurated in 1836 by King Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the revolution...
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1 Parvis de la Défense, 92800 Puteaux, France
Built directly in line with its famous counterpart, Le Arc de Triomphe, La Grande Arche in La Defense, the Parisian business district is a sight to be seen. I still can't get my head around how enormous it is! There are 2 flights of stairs leading...
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6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
For a first-time visitor to Notre Dame, investing in the audio guide is essential to immerse in and understand this overwhelmingly significant Paris icon. There's a lot to see and absorb—history, architecture, artifacts,...
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28 Rue de l'Abbé Grégoire, 75006 Paris, France

Delicate macarons are the badge of French confectionery prowess. Master the intricacies of creating billowy baked meringue, creamy fillings, and the perfect crunchy texture at Ferrandi culinary school. Some of France’s top pastry chefs teach a...

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6 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris, France
One part tourist trap, one part beloved café, Les Deux Magots is a legendary spot that everyone should visit at least once when in Paris. Most famous as the place where the likes of Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway...
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22 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France

There are seven of us gathered in an airy second-floor salon of an 18th-century palace on Place Vendome in central Paris. Sunlight streaming through the tall French windows bounces off a long lab table strewn with clusters of jewels of every color...

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Île Saint-Louis, 75004 Paris, France
Just east of the magnificent buttresses of the Cathédrale Notre Dame, across the Pont Saint-Louis, lies an island sanctuary in the middle of this chic, bustling city: Île Saint-Louis. The one-way streets are narrow, with views of the Seine River...
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Jardin Tuileries, 75001 Paris, France
Flanked by three Rodin statues, the glass and stone Musee de l'Orangerie is home to paintings by the greatest modernists - Picasso, Monet, Cezanne... There are only two floors in this white-walled museum. The second floor consists of two oval...
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Pont des Arts, 75006 Paris, France
Strolling over the Pont des Arts, in spite of the tourists, and the cliché, bereted accordian player busquing for a Euro... even with the lovers buying locks to place on the fencing, and the nasal wail of the Bateaux Mouches loudspeakers floating...
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Paris, France
My wife and two friends were tired of "museums" so they mistakenly decided to go shopping while I went to the Rodin Museum alone. It was breathtaking, the flowers were all in full bloom, the art on display inside was rare and beautiful, but the...
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53 Quai des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris, France
If you've ever walked along the banks of the river Seine, you've probably seen long green boxes and their vendors plying souvenirs, postcards and a variety of other knick-knacks. But did you know that these Bouquinistes - all 240+ of them - are...
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75001 Paris, France
Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris, contrary to it's name. (Literally, it translates to New Bridge. Neuf in modern French means nine, but in older French it also means new. Nouveau is the translation for new today). During the day, my...
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34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
Situated a block from the Canal St.-Martin in the 10th arrondissement, Du Pain et des Idées is your favorite corner bakery—only better. The owner, Christophe Vasseur, was named best boulanger in Paris in 2008, and for good reason....