The summer weather has finally arrived, and you know what that means – it’s time for a visit to the local market to stock up on the essential French picnic supplies: fresh bread, cheese, charcuterie, a couple of sun-kissed veggies and a bottle of wine.
Choose a destination from the list below, and don’t forget the candles, some sort of musical instrument, and a blanket.
Heading to Paris? Explore the city like a real Parisian with these new audio walking tours for your iTouch, iPhone or mp3 player. The app includes five neighborhood tours (Latin Quarter, St-Germain-des-Prés, Bastille, Marais, Montmartre), each with over 45 minutes of insightful audio content, an expert guide and audio soundscapes and excerpts from the BBC Archives.
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Before The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol, the most famous literary thriller involving coded manuscripts, secret societies, and a gruesome sacrifice was Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. An investigation into conspiracy theories and the Templar Knights, a meditation on symbols and language, a serious poststructuralist joke, there’s no doubt that Eco beat Dan Brown to the punch.
But what does any of this have to do with the Musée des Arts et Métiers?
Ah, the joys of Paris on a budget. Yes, you read that right. Paris may be an expensive place and the five-star indulgences are many, but it’s still possible to enjoy its unique pleasures without draining the kids’ college funds. Stop number one? Notre Dame, the spiritual and symbolic heart of France.
It’s gigantic, incredibly crowded, and overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean that a trip to the Louvre has to end in tears of frustration – for you or your children. It’s all in the planning.
Pass through La Pinacothèque during the weekday lunch hour, and you will soon realise that if there is one thing that rivals a Parisian’s obsession with food, it’s art. Although French lunches can be famously long, many of the daytime visitors to La Pinacothèque had apparently sacrificed their midday meal in order to find a different type of satiation.
This passion for art, and culture in general, is reflected in the vast number of museums in Paris.
The French countryside has an appeal that is almost primordial in nature: beautiful land, temperate weather and fertile soil – what more could a society want? The subject of both envy and inspiration, it has been fought over, divvied up, bequeathed, painted and written about for centuries. But if life for French farmers has never been the paradise that the landscape seems to promise, the country’s beauty and lore still casts a powerful spell – from Provence to Britanny, people continue to fall in love with la campagne.
Want to spend a few nights on a French farm?
It may be really, really touristy, but it’s hard not to love Montmartre anyway. Adding to its list of charms is an incomparable Sicilian restaurant that, despite being just off the main steps up to Sacré Cœur, is figuratively off the map.
Today I got stuck in an elevator. And not just any elevator, but a Louis Vuitton elevator on the Champs Elysées. An LVMH elevator that was entirely black inside, without any lights or buttons. At first I thought it was some sort of art thing. But after thirty seconds, I noticed that the elevator had not yet done anything, except trap me inside.