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Get up early to avoid the crowds and catch some beautiful, soft light while experiencing a quiet Florence devoid of its midday chaos.
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Lungarno degli Archibusieri, 8, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy

On the Ponte Vecchio with two of my bother and our close friend.

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Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
While in Florence this May, my husband and I decided not to walk to the top of the dome of the Duomo but, instead, to make the climb to the top of the tower next to the Duomo to get a great view of the dome itself. I shot this from the stairwell...
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Albert Cuypstraat 53, 1072 CM Amsterdam, Netherlands
On our way to the Concertgebouw, we couldn't resist entering this tempting bakery. Inside? The moistest lemon cake I've ever tasted, along with unique muffins, cakes, and other sweet delights. Savory breads and sandwiches are available as well,...
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Herengracht 427, 1017 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
I love the lighting and dignity of this cat, just standing near the Rijksmuseum.
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Leidsestraat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
A rainy Christmas in Amsterdam this year. The holiday lights are reflected by the rain and the canals.
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55 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris, France
No phone, no reservations. Things might seem strict and serious at Top Chef finalist Pierre Sang's first restaurant in Paris but it's all creative flavor pairings and playful presentations in the kitchen.

On the inside: warm, exposed stone walls,...
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142 Rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris, France
Past the bouncer and down a black staircase 32 feet below ground is Paris's most buzzed-about semi-private club, Le Silencio. Housed where Molière was allegedly buried and Zola printed "J'accuse", it's of little surprise that the enigmatic...
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172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
And of course I am referring to having a coffee in Paris. The Cafe de Flore is located on Blvd Saint Germain, in the area where the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and so on used to hang out and write American classical literature. If you're on a...
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173 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris, France
Astier de Villatte is well known for its light weight white porcelain plates and dishes, all shown in a big wooden closet at the entrance hall of the store, alongside home perfumes, candles and other colored decorative dishes. It serves as a...
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7 Rue de Prague, 75012 Paris, France
Petit Pan is a kid-wonder brand. It has a few stores in Paris (in fact, in other locations all over Europe) but the one I’ve visited was at a tiny store in the heart of the Latin Quarter at rue du Bac. The brand Petit Pan is known by its colorful...
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80 Quai de l'Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris, France
Who doesn't want to know how to cook French cuisine? Even I, lacking any sense of cooking, would love to learn how to make a delicious chocolate mousse, for myself and my guests. For this matter, Paris is filled with cooking schools that offer...
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5 Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 Paris, France
A few steps away from Merci store, you can find its kids version at the colorful concept store Bon Ton, which sells kids clothes, shoes and toys. The brand has more stores in the city but this one is a three level high, filled with Kids...
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25 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, France
Most locals point to Breizh Café in the Marais for the city's best crêpes but my loyalties lie with Chez Imogène, a tiny, no-frills restaurant in the 11th arrondissement. Traditional buckwheat galettes and sweet dessert crêpes take pride of place...
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52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris, France
A boon to taco-starved expats when it opened five years ago, this taqueria-meets-cocktail lounge has been consistently good since day one. Tuck into tacos, tostadas and deliciously chunky guacamole in the narrow taqueria, then head past the...
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261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris, France
Little needs to be said about Paris's peerless art scene and the iconic museums that greet throngs of visitors each day but we hear very little about spaces like the non profit Fondation Cartier for Contemporary Art nestled in the 1'4th...
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Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris, France
While "haughty" may be be a little extreme, this imposing building, Paris's City Hall, stands very proudly, indeed, in the heart of the 4th arrondissement's Marais district. Not only does Hotel de Ville serve as seat of Paris's government, but,...
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24 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, 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...
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75009 Paris, France
For a cheap lunch with spectacular panorams of Paris, grab a sandwich-to-go from Cojean on Blvd Haussman and enjoy it atop the roof of Galeries Lafeyette. I was on top of the world with limitless views of the city's skyline that included the...
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113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
birdwatching in Paris at a beautiful November morning...
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17 Rue Montorgueil, 75001 Paris, France
So, you think you know Paris? There are hundreds of memorable streets and boulevards in the City of Lights. But, for my money, Rue Montorgueil is the best. It is compact, only three blocks long, with a metro stop at each end. In between, you have...
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Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
The fountain at the Pompidou Center is a great place to rest your tired feet when exploring Paris. Nearby Marais offers falafel and middle eastern fare for reasonable prices. For a more traditional Parisian cafe meal head to the Place des Vosges...
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35 Boulevard de Courcelles, 75008 Paris, France
After three months in Paris, this was my favorite spot, not just for running in the early morning as the city slowly awoke, but for simply being.
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Passage du Grand Cerf, 75002 Paris, France
It had been years since I last stumbled upon the Passage du Grand Cerf in the 2nd, a long and narrow gallery of creative shops. Though I wasn't the only shopper, part of me felt like I had happened upon an untouched jewel. If I share this spot...
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Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
Wheeled out just over a year ago, Le Camion Qui Fume* is responsible for pioneering the food truck movement in Paris. In a city where burgers of all forms and quality have largely become ubiquitous, it was going to take something special to make...
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72 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France
The great macaron debate may forever wage on but from the first time I tucked into a small box of Pierre Hermé's dimunitive cookies, perfectly crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft on the inside, I knew I'd remain loyal to his...
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11 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, France
Months before it welcomed its first guest, the Jules et Jim Hotel (whose name is a nod to the 1962 Truffaut film) had already positioned itself as a right-bank destination for night owls. Amid the mess of the hotel's construction, locals were...
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With the opening of this salon-de-thé meets pâtisserie in August, the left bank got a lot more interesting. Graduates of Ferrandi cooking school, Charlotte Siles and Guillaume Gil sought to create a contemporary environment where gourmands of...
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Sorbonne, Paris, France
Crossed the Pont de L' Archeveche bridge near Norte Dame in Paris and saw all these love locks. Most of them were fairly run of the mill master locks but saw some very antique locks and shaped like a giant fish.
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46 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
Even if you don’t like taxidermy, you’ll like this store. We had the animals photographed, and we turned the manipulated photos into prints for an Opening Ceremony collection. 33/(0) 1-42-22-3007.
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Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France
When in Paris, of course you must visit the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and L'Orangerie to see the classics and impressionist masters of Europe. But a trip to France’s capital should not be complete without a stop at the inside out Pompidou modern art...
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107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Paris is without question one of the best picnic cities. The only challenge is finding a park or garden that allows you to sit on the grass. To keep the land looking lush and pristine, guards mill about to police picnickers sprawled on off-limits...
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75006 Paris, France
I enjoy visiting Paris anytime of the year. Most often, I stay at one of the many hotels near the Sorbonne in the Latin Quarter. It’s an area well-known for its bohemian culture, and although long gone are the days of la bohème, what still remains...
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2 Galerie de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
There's the picture-perfect Luxembourg Gardens, the vast Tuileries, the intimate Place des Vosges and the Buttes Chaumont, a local hangout. But for a majestic stroll through history, head to the Palais Royal gardens, a quick walk from the Louvre...
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8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris, France

Shops and bakeries are introducing spruced-up versions of classic Parisian foods. Here are the best addresses to try traditional and eclectic takes on three iconic French treats.

1. CROISSANT The Classic: The flaky pastries from Poilane are made...

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226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Yes, Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli (around the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre) is a tourist spot, but it is still one of the best places in Paris for hot chocolate. Their menu of pastries and other small dishes is good, but don't miss out on the...
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Grandes-Carrières, 75018 Paris, France
Hotels in Paris are costly; prohibitively expensive particularly when you're trying to travel on a budget. Renting an apartment often ends up being a more cost effective option, especially if you snag a small kitchen. The Paris experience will be...
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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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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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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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37 Rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris, France
Around every bend in Paris it seems as though there's another picturesque specialty shop to be explored. When planning the trip I had envisioned wandering past quaint little store-fronts, each with their own antique charm, and of course found what...
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Hold forth with the French about coffee and you'll quickly understand its purpose. It's not meant to be consumed leisurely but rather serves to clean the palate after a hearty meal. They think of it as a digestif which they tend to down in one...
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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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The Canal Saint Martin has evolved tremendously since its beginnings as a vehicle for supplying fresh water to the city, as ordered by Napoleon in the early 19th century. Today, it attracts young tastemakers in food, fashion and design who set up...
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96 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010 Paris, France
Since you're already planning on hanging out by the Canal St. Martin during your trip to Paris (yes, you are!), take the extra step and sleep in the neighborhood too. Le Citizen boutique hotel blends minimalist design, modular furniture, and cozy...
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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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Paris-8E-Arrondissement, 16 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
Even after six years in Paris, I still find myself overwhelmed by the heaps of flaky pastries and dainty, multi-layer desserts that line bakery windows. These local joints on each block reel in passersby with the potent scent of butter and...
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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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6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
On top of the famous cathedral our one rainy day gave just right amount of gravitas to the day. I love the feel of the photo as so many people recognize this place but no one has yet told me they got a better shot of it.
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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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Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
In the Louvre my wife was standing near this antique work of art and I suggested she pose near it, a top moment of our trip.
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9 Rue des Martyrs, 75009 Paris, France
The friendly neighborhood of Rue des Martyrs is a favorite destination for buying edible souvenirs of Paris. To get started, head to No. 9, where the beautiful La Chambre aux Confitures stocks endless jars of jam for your...
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12 Rue Perrée, 75003 Paris, France
200m² is a lot of surface area to fill when you're an upstart concept store but the trio behind the popular fashion and lifestyle website De Jeunes Gens Modernes were confident their approach would do the 19th century spot justice. They stock a...
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34 Rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, France
My friend, who lives in Paris, told me about this Boulangerie, Du Pain et des Idees, so in my latest visit to Paris in June, I had to go there and try it for myself. We bought cheese in a local outdoor market and then got some bread and cakes and...
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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 Rue du Forez, 75003 Paris, France
After ‘sans gluten’ found a place in the Parisian lexicon last year thanks to Helmut Newcake and more recently Noglu, vegan is the next buzzword to be embraced by locals in Paris. I still remember when dining out in the city was a daunting...
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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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52 Rue de Richelieu, 75001 Paris, France
With their Paris supper club Hidden Kitchen, Americans Laura Adrian and Braden Perkins regaled guests with a sensational 10-course meal with wine pairings around a communal table in their apartment. The food was nothing short of transcendental;...
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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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1 Rue Jules Vallès, 75011 Paris, France
World famous French chef Alain Ducasse, who has been honored with many Michelin stars for his restaurants around the globe, has just opened the first bean to bar chocolate shop in Paris. Nestled in a courtyard in the Bastille area, the former...
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93 Rue du Bac, 75007 Paris, France
I had my misgivings about La Patisserie des Rêves (literally, the pastry shop of dreams). Widely hyped since its opening in 2009, Philippe Conticini's whimsical space breaks with traditional codes both in decor and dessert. I had seen photos of...
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3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris, France
Forget the Eiffel Tower, the city's modern eyesore - the Montparnasse Tower - offers the most unobstructed view of every Paris landmark of interest. Go straight up to the top viewing deck or stop in to the newly renovated Ciel de Paris restaurant...
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32 Rue Cler, 75007 Paris, France
Cafe L'Eclair is everything you expect when you think of the perfect French cafe: delicious cafe au lait, croissants and tartine and a bonus, this cafe turns into a cocktail bar after dark. Another benefit of this lovely cafe is its location on...
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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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Pont des Arts, 75006 Paris, France
Across the Seine, the Pont des Arts (built 1804, rebuilt 1984), the Pont-Neuf (1607), and the Pont au Change (1860)...Through the ages, the bridges of Paris have always been places to cross, to rendezvous...
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6 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, France
Nestled in a corner of shops off the well-heeled boulevard de la Madeleine, the shop approaches many of their 50 some mustard varieties like beer, offering them fresh and on tap. Flavors range from the ultra classic (course ground à l'ancienne,...
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34 Quai d'Austerlitz, 75013 Paris, France
If ever there were a reason to make a beeline for Paris's 13th arrondissement, it would be to revel in Wanderlust, the space that opened last summer at Les Docks –Cité de la Mode et du Design along the formerly derelict industrial embankment of...
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45 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris, France
When I first moved to the 11th arrondissement, rue Oberkampf hadn't yet shaken off the vestiges of its grungy, working-class past and was lined mostly with dive bars, ethnic take-away joints and merchants (fishmongers, cheese-mongers, florists,...
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34 Rue Duperré, 75009 Paris, France
Among its many, recent claims to fame, the South Pigalle (SoPi in anglophone parlance) neighborhood has become synonymous with cool cocktail bars and creative after-hours hangouts. The quirky spot that seemed to pioneer it all was Le Carmen, a...
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Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Our last night in Paris we surprised our wives with a dinner on the Eiffel Tower. The scenic boat ride was part of the experience. I looked up saw this perfectly composed scene and was just able to capture the moment. One of our favorite of the...