Collected by Joseph Cyr, AFAR Local Expert
Still the world's most visited country...
75001 Paris, France
Stand on the the quais beneath the Pont Neuf bridge—the city's oldest crossing of the Seine—and look up. Staring down at you are mascarons, stone faces that resemble gargoyles, but without bodies. No two of these grotesque visages are the same....
79 Rue de Varenne, 75007 Paris, France
We enjoyed a glass of red wine and dessert at the café on the grounds of Le Musée Rodin. The trees, thinned from winter, gave the gardens a gothic air, as if to suggest the possibility of specters and spooks emerging from its graveled paths. That...
79 Rue de la Tour, 75116 Paris, France
Paris is a city of lovers...of dog-lovers. Yes, there are the couples embracing on the Seine--impossibly romantic and timeless...but anyone who's been to the City of Light also knows that Parisians, even within the constraints of their urban...
Rue de l'Hôpital Saint-Louis, 75010 Paris, France
Early spring, Paris can be a moody place. Flowers just beginning to poke up through damp soil under low grey skies, a rainstorm solidifies into sleet...then the clouds lift right at sunset, and the swollen Seine takes on the green of a newly...
Belleville, 75020 Paris, France
In the Belleville neighborhood of Paris, this wall that would otherwise be nondescript brick is covered in unlikely art, with the caveat: "beware of words." A bit of artistic 3-D in the 20th arrondissement, by the artist Benjamin Vautier. (To see...
La Défense, France
On the western edge of Paris, at the end of the grand 'axe historique' that runs from the Louvre down the Champs Élysées and on past the Arc de Triomphe, rises the futuristic skyscraper business district known as "La Défense." Its centerpiece is...
77300 Fontainebleau, France
A quick 40-minute train ride from the Gare de Lyon in central Paris takes you to one of the best day trips out of the city: a forest preserve surrounding a palace that dates back nine centuries. The Forêt de Fontainebleau offers a hundred square...
84250 Le Thor, France
Summer, mid-afternoon in the South of France--there's no better place to be than in the shade, cicadas singing overhead, taking a nap in a hammock hung from a medieval village-wall by a lazy, quiet river... My wife and I were visiting friends in...
102 Rue de Provence, 75009 Paris, France
Avenue de la Grande-Armée, Paris, France
Paris: the view looking west from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Of course, the Eiffel Tower has THE view over the City of Lights, but in the mid-19th century, this monument (commissioned in 1806 by Napoléon I, finished in the 1830's), was one of...
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...
48 Rue de Courcelles, 75008 Paris, France
In the 8th arrondissement of Paris, just down the street from the Parc Monceau, is this unexpected piece of...China? On a corner of the Place du Pérou, this 'pagoda' has been a landmark in this part of the French capital for decades. Ching Tsai...
88 Rue Saint-Denis, 92700 Colombes, France
Just before I left the States to go live in Paris for a year, I met a young woman who played the cello. I had no idea at the time that I would return from France to marry her. We ended up writing each other...frequently. I would walk along the...
41250 Chambord, France
...early summer light filtering through a window in the 16th-century Chateau de Chambord. This Renaissance palace began as a hunting lodge for François I. Leonardo da Vinci may have played a role in designing part of it. Today, it's the largest...
17 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, France
Serendipitous light on a September afternoon--a rainbow arcing over the Eiffel Tower and ending at the gold dome of L'Église des Invalides in central Paris. (Under that dome, emperor worship continues--Napoléon I lies buried in a...
24 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris-8E-Arrondissement, France
Here at the très chic Boulangerie Fauchon, on the Place de la Madeleine in the heart of Paris, the loaves can look almost too good to eat. In French, the idiomatic equivalent for 'window-shopping' is "leche-vitrine," which literally means...
13210 Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
A sundial in the medieval center of St.-Rémy-de-Provence...Its inscription distills the allure of the South of France: "It is always time to do nothing." Relax. Find a hammock, sip a pastis, inhale the lavender-scented air...
72 Rue de la Paroisse, 78000 Versailles, France
Tobacco and dogs in restaurants--what could be more Gallic? A few blocks away from the gilded history of the château, this street-corner sign in Versailles caught my eye. "Au chien qui fume" has been around since 1839.
27370 Saint-Germain-de-Pasquier, France
In Normandy, driving back to Paris from a day at the coast, we passed through St.-Germain-de-Pasquier. This village of about 150 inhabitants has the distinction of having the smallest 'mairie' (town hall) in France--definitely 'petite,' at only...
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...
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,...
4th arrondissement, 75004 Paris, France
Wandering among the Renaissance buildings in the Marais district in Paris, this courtyard in the 15th-c. Hôtel de Sens gave me one of my favorite visual memories of the city--this corner balcony. You just have to love the irreverance of the...
Miramas le Vieux, 13140 Miramas, France
My first day in the South of France, I spent the June afternoon on a borrowed bike, coursing through olive trees around hilltop villages... Although Provence is just a few hours' train-ride south of Paris, when you step off the TGV, you encounter...
Place des Abbesses, 75018 Paris, France
When staying in Paris a few weeks ago, my wife and I happened upon this public piano in the leafy Place Des Abbesses in Montmartre. With our hotel just a few yards away, we ended up enjoying a variety of serendipitous recitals--Chopin, jazz,...
32bis Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris, France
For years now, the neighborhood between the Palais-Royal and the Opéra Garnier has been a hangout for Japanese and Korean ex-pats and visitors in Paris, with the Rue Sainte Anne as its culinary epicenter. Lined with Japanese restaurants and Korean...
86 Rue Lepic, 75018 Paris, France
Even with its formidable summer crowds, Montmartre's charms are undeniable--the village-atmosphere, the hilltop-views over Paris...But when it comes to dinnertime, finding a 'Parisian' restaurant can be a challenge here. No one wants to have a...
Les Bardoulets, 33220 Port-Sainte-Foy-et-Ponchapt, France
Here's a spot to take a break from vineyard-hopping and chateau-exploring: the "plage des Bardoulets" across the Dordogne from the 13th-century "bastide" (fortified 'new'-town) of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande. After coursing through limestone gorges, the...
18 Place des Abbesses, 75018 Paris, France
No matter how often the Parisian cityscape is praised and photographed, it's never a let-down to behold it in person...especially if you get to claim it as "yours" from your very own room-with-a-view. With narrow streets and dense population, it's...
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...
3651 Omaopio Rd, Kula, HI 96790, USA
Cute baby goats, hay rides, cheese - what's not to like? The Surfing Goat Dairy in the Kula region of Maui has something for everyone. The foodie will absolutely love everything on their menu with most of the goat cheese products prepared from...
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