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Spain France 2016

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11 Place du Forum, 13200 Arles, France
Once known as the Cafe Terrace, this is the place captured so colorfully in Van Gogh's painting of Place du Forum in Arles, in September of 1888. Still in operation today and now named Cafe Van Gogh, it's a lovely little spot to have your espresso...
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Chapitre, 13001 Marseille, France
While living in Paris as an undergrad, I bought a train ticket to Marseille on a whim. It was a weekend trip, and I didn’t take anyone with me, nor meet anyone there -- no plans at all. The countryside passed in sweet silence on the 3-hour TGV...
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Le Moulin de Madame, 47300 Bias, France
Order the four-course meal at L’Écluse, Le Moulin de Madame's restaurant, for an edible tour of the surrounding pastures. This appeared in the August/September 2014 issue.
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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...
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Route des Châteaux, 33250 Pauillac, France
Tucked away in the pastoral Médoc region, this elegant château houses one of the biggest stars in the French culinary galaxy: chef Jean-Luc Rocha. The celebrated chef was named a Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2007—the honor is only bestowed every...
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10 Place de la Bourse, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Given its UNESCO world heritage status, there's no mistaking the grandeur of this 18th-century property. But the food at Le Gabriel is as modern as the walls are ancient: expect chef-selected meals with foams, gelées, and plenty of style. Looking...
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Calle Torrea Kalea, 1, 01340 Elciego, Álava, Spain
The metal-and-glass ribbon structure of this Frank Gehry−designed hotel—not too far from Bilbao—creates an ethereal silhouette that contrasts dramatically with Elciego’s medieval landscape. Opt for a guided tour to learn...
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Bilbao, Biscay, Spain
The drive along the Northern coast from San Sebastian to Bilbao was amazing, filled with windy roads through the mountainous passes overlooking the gorgeous cliffs leading to the ocean. The main reason for going to Bilbao was to see the Guggenheim...
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10 Route de Giscours, 33460 Labarde, France
An original…Giscours can be traced back to the fourteenth century. The first vines were planted back in 1552 by a wealthy Bordeaux draper name Pierre de Lhomme. The vineyards have been in the hands of multiple owners since the beginning, however...
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Zurriola Ibilbidea, s/n, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Zurriola beach is slightly off the radar, or at least as much off the radar as one of a city's three beaches can be. The only tourists that typically venture over are of the surfing persuasion, and sitting to watch the sunset on the wall that...
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108 Quai du Port, 13002 Marseille, France
It isn’t wine or cocktails that mark happy hour for locals in Marseille but Pastis, the anise-flavored drink of choice first commercialized by Paul Ricard during the prohibition of absinthe. Ricard’s recipe and formula– star anise, licorice root;...
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64250 Espelette, France
Like most of the quaint towns in the Basque country, Espelette is brimming with cultural and culinary riches. Just twenty minutes from the coast and hugged by mountains, this town of 2,000 is best known for the pepper of the same known grown...
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64500 Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
A short drive from the somewhat more crowded beaches and pinxto stands of San Sebastian, Spain, the twin towns of St Jean de Luz and Biarritz in France are worth the drive (and the $20 Euros in highway tolls!). The water is too rough for children,...
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Arles, France
Looking down the rooftops of Arles from the Arles Amphitheatre.
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Bordeaux, France
Grab a map and draw your own path, starting in the town of Bordeaux. See that area to the right, between the parallel Dordogne and Lot rivers? Stay within the borders of this area where authentic food reigns. Tips from the pros: The driving can be...
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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...
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Santa Korda Kalea, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
At La Cuchara de San Telmo, on the corner of the plaza Valle Lersundi in San Sebastian, the specialties were hot pintxos, quickly prepared to order--from the menu or the specials board, or by pointing to what your neighbor was eating. This was one...
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Mount Ulia, 20013, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Most visitors never cross the river from the Old Part, and the vast majority overlook what has to be one of the most beautiful hikes from here to California. At the edge of Gros, a trail heads up some stairs (at the end of Calle San Francisco) and...
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Plaza Zuloaga, 1, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Museo San Telmo is a must-see for any art or culture-phile during a visit to San Sebastián. The newly renovated museum's architecture alone makes for fascinating viewing, and there are sections on Basque anthropology as well as revolving...
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Kalea Isla de Santa Clara, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
From May to August, a ferry runs from the port of San Sebastián to the island that sits serenely in the middle of the Concha Bay. The island is quiet, isolated, and empty. There is a café on the island with a mysterious timetable, and a lighthouse...
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Bretxa Plaza, 3, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
La Bretxa shopping center houses the usual trappings of a modern-day shopping mall, but below ground one can find the city's largest and best market for the fruits of the sea. Cold, wet and crowded, this is the spot where you will find both...
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Calle de Nagusia, 96, 20115 Astigarraga, Guipúzcoa, Spain
December to May is cider season in the Basque Country. Basque cider is quite different (drier, more bitter) than its American and English counterparts. The real magic in Basque cider, however, happens when it is consumed. Groups of friends head in...
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Zabaleta Kalea, 6, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
La Gintonería, in the less-traversed neighborhood of Gros, could very well be the best gin-tonic in San Sebastián. With two shelves laden with premium and hard-to-find gins, it's a gintonaholic's dream. They have a selection of premium tonics and...
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Malkorbe Kalea, 5, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Arriving to Getaria can be done by bus, but one of the most unforgettable parts of visiting this village is approaching (or exiting) it by the sidewalk that winds along the sea. Depending on the time of year, you will have endless views of a calm...
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Iberia
We walked to the end of the La Concha beach in San Sebastian and stumbled upon these "Wind Combs" by Eduardo Chillida. Not only are they placed in an amazing setting, but their installation was truly a feat of engineering.
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Rodil Zeharkalea, 79, 20013 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
One of my favorite sit-down dining experiences in the city, Zelai Txiki has a couple things going for it. One is a gigantic terrace that overlooks the entire city. On a summer evening there are only a few places I would rather be. Call ahead to...
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Okendo Kalea, 1, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Let's say you only have a day or two in San Sebastián and no time to research your trip. Who you gonna call? Jon Warren and his team at San Sebastián Food. They offer shortcuts to the heart of the San Sebastián food scene, and the truth is, they...
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Edificio Astillero, Puerto 3, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
It's scientifically proven: even if you think you don't like anchovies, when you try the Maisor anchovies from Itsas Mendi store, you are 92% likely to change your mind. Getaria is anchovy central, and this store is located right on its port. In...
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Carretera San Prudencio, 0 S/N, 20808 Getaria, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Aroa farm, a 10-minute walk from the middle of Getaria, is a farm unlike any other in the entire country of Spain. Jaime Burgaña and his team cultivate exotic vegetables, fruits, and herbs on this 12-acre farm. But their focus is on perfecting and...
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Potzuaga Kalea, 8, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Txakoli. It's not as hard to say as it looks, and it's really easy to drink. This slightly fizzy white wine is unique to the Basque Country and is made (officially, at least) from the local Hondarribi varietal. Many of the bodegas in the D.O....
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Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
A unique feature of Getaria's city streets are the grills, built into the side of buildings. The outside observer can glean that the general purpose is cooking, but seeing them in action is a different story. Fish are brought fresh from the port,...
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Aldamar Parkea Parkea, 6, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Few names in fashion have the caché of Balenciaga. That's why it may come as a surprise that he is from the tiny village of Getaria. After years of contention and fighting over precious pieces, the Balenciaga Museum finally became a reality. It's...
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Elkano, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Elkano is world-famous for its grilled seafood. From clams to tuna, this spot grills it all and sells it by the kilo. They specialize, like Kai Kaipe, in grilled fish. Locals who prefer Elkano, and even those who prefer Kai Kaipe, say that the...
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Calle de Fermín Calbetón, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
$$$$
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Miguel Imaz Kalea, 1, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Xarma restaurant lives and dies by their mission to take the best Basque produce and execute avant-garde techniques to create new, exciting plates. Chefs Aizpea and Xabi are regulars on the conference circuit and on lists of 'Best Young Basque...
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c/ pescadería, 5, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
When Christopher Hall reported his "57 Small Bites of Spain" story about tapas in four Spanish cities, he visited Bar Txepetxa in San Sebastian's old quarter. We brought the December/January 2010 issue of AFAR with us and shared it with the pintxo...
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Calle Mayor, 18, 20013 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Everyone knows a pintxo hop is a must-do in San Sebastián. What everyone doesn't know is that Atari Gastroteka, located in the shadows of the old town's beautiful Santa Maria church, is the perfect last stop on the tour. Their artisan foie is...
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Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 12, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
"Aquí, Se Guisa" is the motto at Borda Berri, one of the Old Town's best pintxo bars. The star of every pintxo is a braised critter: beef, octopus, rabbit, you name it. There's no pintxos on the bar at this spot, but don't let that keep you from...
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Calle Pescaderia, 10, 20003 Donostia, Bizkaia, Spain
Expect creative riffs on the classic pintxo at this ultra-modern spot. Everything from the colors to the flavor combinations are unique and draw in crowds from the street. Not everyone is a fan of their style—for instance, the old guard who remain...
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San Jeronimo Kalea, 19, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Ganbara has two big cons. One, it's expensive. Raciones of mushrooms, for example, run you around 20 euros. Two, it's been discovered (twice over) and is on even the under-informed tourist's pintxo list. That said, and considering that perhaps...
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Kolon Pasealekua, 15, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Bar Hidalgo 56 is probably one of my top three pintxo bars in the entire city. With a bar stacked full of equally delicious pintxos, a menu of hot pintxos that is incredibly varied and delicious, and an attention to product that you simply don't...
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Peña y Goñi Kalea, 13, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
This bar in Gros is one, as the locals say, 'de toda la vida'. A lifelong place to stop and enjoy one of their spectacular anchovy and tuna pintxos (I recommend the one that looks like a mountain of mayonnaise) or a pintxo moruno, a hanging kebab...
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Karkizano Kalea, 9, 20001 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
I've eaten possibly more pintxos than any American ever. And in all my small plates adventures, I have not found this dish anywhere except for Bidea Berri. I am a passionate omnivore, and vegetables get me more excited than anything. These...
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San Francisco Javier Kalea, 32, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Casa Senra is a staple of the pintxo scene in the San Sebastián neighborhood of Gros. They have an ample menu, with an interesting selection of croquetas (one that is clams in salsa verde) and some great raciones (fried txopitos, or baby squid)....
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Zabaleta Kalea, 17, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Bar Diz is nothing more and nothing less than a great neighborhood pintxo bar. Open at just the right times, with friendly service and a range of hot pintxos as well as larger portions and sandwiches, it hits the spot. They also have one of Gros's...
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Zabaleta Kalea, 42, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Andra Mari is hot right now. For twenty years, it's been a staple of the Gros pintxo scene. However, recent changes in the kitchen mean they are bringing their A game to the pintxos. Try their elaborate, beautifully presented salmorejo, or their...
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Platja Portlligat, 17488 Cadaqués, Girona, Spain
After falling in love with Salvador Dali at his museum in Figueres, we caught one of three buses out to the cliffside town of Cadaques where you can get to know Dali a bit more intimately by touring his house. Full of odds and ends, including mini...
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Carrer de la Força, 4, 17004 Girona, Spain
Walk along the ramparts of Girona's Força Vella, or "Old Fortress." The crumbling 1st century B.C. Roman walls are even more impressive after sunset, when they seem to suddenly appear around a corner, shrouded in shadows and mist.
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Carrer de l'Albereda, 7, 17004 Girona, Spain
A deconstructed Spanish tortilla. A fried aubergine. A selection of cured meats that would please any palate. Olives whose essence fill up the whole room. And not to forget the wine pairings. That is the kind of experience you'll have at Divinum,...
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Carrer de les Ballesteries, 29, 17004 Girona, Spain
I was recently in Girona for just a night to visit a friend, and we stumbled upon a free exhibition of photographer Steve McCurry's work in the city's Casa de Cultura. I'm a huge McCurry fan, so we decided to pop in quickly despite being late for...
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Av. de Sant Francesc, 6, 17001 Girona, Spain
A short distance north of Barcelona is one of the most magical places we've found. Walking through the streets of Girona makes you feel like you've stepped back in to medieval times. The rough, uneven stone walls tower above you. You can feel as...
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Carrer Bonastruc de Porta, 4, 17001 Girona, Spain
Costa Brava has no shortage of great eats, but I kept returning to Txalaka because it not only offered a reasonable 3-course lunch (for 11 euros) but also a sprawling offering of tapas at night, at 1 eur 60 each. With cheerful staff who took great...
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Grup Torre Gironella, 102, 17004 Girona, Spain
It is best to take this route from the northern-most tip of the wall. This way you've had the time to enjoy the old Jewish quarters already, and would have enough time to hike the 2-km stretch back to the center. Make sure to take all circular...
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Carrer de Santa Clara, 50, 17001 Girona, Spain
It all started when Jordi Roca decided to bring back the traditional dessert trolley of El Celler de Can Roca, which was dispensed with when he took over the sweet part of the menu. When they saw the new petit‑four trolley designed by Andreu...
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Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5, 17600 Figueres, Girona, Spain
One can't visit Costa Brava, Spain, without taking into account one of its most influential artists - the surrealist Salvador Dali. His Theatre-Museum in Figueres is the largest surrealistic object in the world. Among many paintings, sculptures...
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Coastal views, beaches, and hidden coves await you on the Camino Ronda, a 220 km hiking trail in Costa Brava Spain. It runs from Blanes to the northern city of Collioure near the border of France. This extensive and well marked trail goes by many...
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17320 Tossa de Mar, Girona, Spain
The Old Town of Tossa de Mar is simply breathtaking. Walking along the narrow streets is some of my fondest memories of Spain. This is one of the views from the many stairways that dot the village. Simply unforgettable!