Collected by Donna Patterson
50170 Mont Saint-Michel, France
It's safe to say there’s nothing in the world quite like this magical island, topped by a medieval monastery that rises out of the bay like a heavenly apparition. It’s said that, early in the 8th century, a bishop in nearby Avranches...
46200 Souillac, France
Trade the car for a kayak in Souillac and float down the Dordogne. Then get ready to eat. We still fantasize about the foie gras from Château de la Treyne, a Michelin-starred castle where, if you get too buzzed on regional Cabernet, you can rent a...
3 Rue Raymond Roger Trencavel, 11000 Carcassonne, France
With its medieval walls, the Cité de Carcassonne is among the most picturesque, and most crowded, sights in all of Europe. But when the sun sets and the tour buses leave, the stone-paved streets actually grow quiet; mid-week—even during the summer...
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...
Les Jardins de Marqueyssac, 24220 Vezac, France
The Marqueyssac Gardens in the Périgord region of France are not only the most visited in the region but among the most reminiscent of a fairytale landscape. Perched on a hill overlooking the Dordogne valley, Julien de Cerval's topiary masterpiece...
46500 Rocamadour, France
Gorge yourself some more, this time in Rocamadour, a medieval city built into the face of an actual gorge. The town is famous for its chèvre cheese, and every little shop on Rue Roland le Preux will be eager to sell you some. Heads up! This is the...
46000 Cahors, France
In the limestone gorge country of SW France, this bridge is a medieval monument to a legendary pact: a man wagered his soul to the Devil, and the Devil lost. While living in Paris, a friend of mine asked if I would like to visit his childhood home...
08199 Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain
We took the train out of Barcelona, heading north to the Monastery of Montserrat. After exiting the funicular railway, we found the light to be shining through the portico walkway, leading us to a wonderful church with heavenly music from the boys...
Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain
Visit Pavellons Güell, a somewhat lesser-known Gaudi masterpiece in Barcelona's posh Pedralbes neighborhood. Especially spectacular is the property's wrought-iron dragon gate, it's writing serpentine form strongly resembling a cross between a bat...
Carrer de Marlet, 5, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Head to the Gothic Quarter—once home to Barcelona's storied Jewish neighborhood, ElCall—and look for theSinagoga Major (Major Synagogue). The museum, built on the site of the city's oldest temple, is only two rooms, but it contains a stadium's...
Cumbre del Tibidabo, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
Tibidabo is worth the somewhat complicated trip to the top even if just to enjoy sweeping panoramas of Barcelona. Apart from the amazing views, there's Sagrat Cor a beautiful neo-gothic church where the faithful can pray, and photographers can...
Passeig de Picasso, 21, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Soak up the sun and stroll the grounds of this centrally-located Barcelona park. Home to Barcelona's zoo, the Catalan Parliament, this park hosts interesting events (and political demonstrations) throughout the year. During La Mercé (Barcelona's...
Baixada del Monestir, 9, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
This Gothic monastery houses collections from Barcelona's City History Museum, but if you've got only an hour orso, skip the exhibits in favor of a walk around. Founded by King James II of Aragon in 1326, the monastery (or monestir in Catalan) is...
Carrer de Muntaner, 2, 08011 Barcelona, Spain
Check out regional specialties like ensaïmadas, a typical sweet pastry from Mallorca that is often stuffed with cabello de ángel (made from caramelized pumpkin), whipped cream, or chocolate only a short walk from Plaça Catalunya. Throughout...
Plaça Portal de la pau, s/n, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Constructed for the 1888 Universal Exposition, El Mirador de Colom reminds locals and visitors alike that Spain’s Catholic Kings, Isabella and Ferdinand, received Columbus in Barcelona after his first trip to the Americas. A 24-foot statue of the...
Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
While the unfinished Sagrada Familia is perhaps Barcelona’s most famous church, its cathedral is Santa Eulàlia, a Gothic church constructed between the 13th to 15th centuries. Its neo-Gothic facade was built over the original exterior...
Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
The mysterious rooftop of Casa Mila both charms and haunts visitors. The glorious October sky above frames the organic forms, each sculpted face watching as I creep up and down the rolling ramps. Children can't resist playing here, and fortunately...
Carrer del Vidre, 8, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is home to countless tapas joints. They sit on street corners and back alleys all over the city. Many are commercialized and target tourists, while others are homegrown, centuries-old locations. There are plenty to choose from. After...
Plaça de la Vila de Madrid, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
In the middle of a fairly ordinary looking plaza en Cuitat Vella, savvy visitors can spot evidence of Barcelona's Roman history. Once a road with funerary monuments on either side, gradually the road was surrounded by the city. You can see the...
Plaça Comercial, 12, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Inside this 1876 market, you can see the footprint of 18th century Barcelona and read about what life was like before the city’s siege during the War of Spanish Succession. The airy iron and glass market, modeled on Parisian architecture is the...
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