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Vacations from France

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I'm living for 7 months in Perpignan, France next year--a perfect base for many exciting travels, I'm sure!
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Mostar 88000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Thanks to reading recommendations here on Afar.com, I picked up a copy of Sarajevo Marlboro at a bookstore, just as we crossed the famous, historic bridge in Mostar, Bosnia. At the bookstore, a short film played over and over, documenting the...
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N9, Morocco
The distance between Ouarzazate and Marrakech is only 200km (125 miles) but the drive on the N9 through the High Atlas Mountains can take as long as four hours. The winding road, full of switch backs and featuring such scenery as to make one's jaw...
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Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My sister and I ducked into Brussels' Bozar museum to seek refuge from the rain and noticed that the lobby was littered with scattered pieces of hanging blue film. We were intrigued as to the meaning of the unlikely art installation and were...
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Katelijnestraat 5, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
When in Belgium, make sure to try not only the famous chocolates, but also the hot chocolate! During a tour of Bruges, we became so enchanted with the medieval city that we decided to sneak away from our tour group and explore on our own—and I'm...
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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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Faux de Verzy, 51380 Verzy, France
Thrill-seeking visitors can soar high in the forest canopy on zip lines and ropes courses in this adventure park near Reims. For a different kind of heart-racing experience, cross the suspended footbridge to access the Perching Bar, a modern...
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Budapest, Kossuth Lajos tér 12, 1055 Hungary
We never made it inside, but this wild neo-classical building stood practically as a counterpart to the Parliament building right across the street.
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Budapest, Kazinczy u. 14, 1075 Hungary
An edgy crowd gathers at Szimpla Kert, a wacky ruin pub in the old Jewish Quarter. On entering, you’ll be overwhelmed by the maze of rooms, where you might find recycled computer monitors, towering piles of books, hookah pipes, or live...
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23 Rue Jean Larrivé, 69003 Lyon, France
Best frites (aka French fries) EVER. They were hand-cut by the 87-year old owner, Madame Giraud. I wrote about her in my AFAR article about Lyon's bouchons. These frites were pure heaven paired with Madame's steak with brown butter. (Yes, I did...
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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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Provença, 261-265, 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...
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Diabat, Morocco
I couldn’t get it out of my mind…like the time I heard that the Russian Cat Circus was performing in my city…I HAD to go and see those crazy Russian housecats perform tricks! Once I had heard that goats in Morocco climbed high up in trees, I was...
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Dervişali Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:8, 34087 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
According to Islamic tradition, only God can create images of holy beings, including angels and prophets. Therefore, when the Ottomans converted Chora Church into a mosque in the 16th century, they covered the 14th-century Byzantine mosaics and...
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Ul. Ćirila Ivekovića 4, 23000, Zadar, Croatia
With Sea Organ and Sun Salutation, architect Nikola Bašić has created two spectacles that harness the beauty of Zadar’s famous sunsets. Sea Organ is a musical instrument fashioned from pipes and holes drilled through stone stairs that...
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Istanbul, Turkey
One morning outside Sultanahmet I saw what I believe to be a suffi. He looked somewhat like a Turkish version of Santa Claus (which was odd because it was late December), but I don't really know what else he would be with that beard.
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Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Adorned with more than 20,000 blue handcrafted İznik tiles, stained-glass windows, and the golden brushstrokes of a 17th-century calligrapher, the Blue Mosque is the legacy of Sultan Ahmet I (1590–1617). The young sultan audaciously wished...
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Crijevićeva ul. 9, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Climb the grand baroque staircase and pass the Jesuit church, cross Gundulić Square, and follow the COLD DRINKS WITH THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEW signs. Then, yes, walk through the walls. Buža translates to “a hole-in-the-wall,” and a...
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Ulica kralja Petra Krešimira IV, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
In a swift four minutes, the Dubrovnik cable car will deliver you to the top of Mount Srdi for awe-inspiring views of the Old Town and Elaphite Islands. On clear days, you can even see Italy far out on the horizon. Next to the cable-car station is...
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Rovinj, Croatia
Rovinj was our first stop in Croatia after two weeks in Italy. It felt like forever getting there. Altogether, an almost 5-hour journey from our hotel in Venice, combining vaporetto, trains and bus, and two border crossings into Slovenia and...
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Ul. od Sigurate 7, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
A city of red-tiled rooftops, pine- and cypress-shaded hills, and sparking turquoise waters, the Old Town of Dubrovnik stuns with both its architecture and scenery. Its surrounding stone walls, built between the 11th and 13th centuries to protect...
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37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Located at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, a stone’s throw from the Seine and draped in the shadow of Notre Dame, is what should be proclaimed one of France’s national treasures: the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This is...
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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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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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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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39 Rue Descartes, 75005 Paris, France
Walking through Paris is joy but, on the last trip I did my best to walk the steps of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and others of the "Lost Generation". La Maison de Verlaine is now an upscale eatery in the Latin Quarter but just above is Paul Verlaine's...