France Under the direction of twin chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, Le Jardin des Sens wins raves for its Mediterranean flavors and its enchanting garden. On the $64 seasonal menu (available Thursdays and Fridays): an appetizer plate of miniature shrimp brochettes, crusted skate brandade, and seared tuna rolled in herbs; and entrées such as rabbit fillet stuffed with wild mushrooms, hot foie gras jelly, and grated apple. After seven years as a three-star, the Languedoc favorite lost a star in 2005. Only Michelin judges know why. 11 avenue Saint-Lazare, Montpellier; 011-33/4-99-58-38-48, jardindessens.com.
When the world really is a stage
The natural mix of hills and rock can provide the perfect acoustics and seating arrangement--and there's little for humans to do but set up a stage and start charging for tickets. At these arenas, it honestly doesn't matter who's performing.
Australia See ballet, jazz, theater, dance--you name it--in what was originally a limestone quarry (hence the name, Quarry Amphitheatre). The seating is on grass tiers, and you can bring your own picnic. The lights of Perth are visible in the distance. 011-62/8-9355-7144, quarryamphitheatre.com.au; open year-round, performances from November to March. Most tickets available through bocsticketing.com.au.
Colorado Just outside Denver, Red Rocks is an amphitheater flanked by jagged 300-foot-high sandstone monoliths. From Easter services to rock and roll. 303/295-4444, redrocksonline.com.
Sicily The Teatro Greco-Romano is a 2,300-year-old amphitheater dug into the hillsides of Taormina, with a view of Mount Etna and the sea. Greek drama, dance, and classical and pop music concerts at the annual Taormina Arte festival, from June through August (taormina-arte.com, from $19.50). The weeklong BNL FilmFest also takes place there every June (taorminafilmfest.it/2005, screening tickets about $9). 011-39/0942-21142.
Washington State Attracting popular music acts and festivals, The Gorge Amphitheatre holds 20,000 people on a grass-covered terrace among basalt cliffs overlooking the Columbia River in central Washington. hob.com/venues; tickets through Ticketmaster, 509/735-0500, ticketmaster.com.
New York shopping
Everyone loves browsing at upscale shops; paying is a whole different matter. Even the highest-end boutiques, however, usually have something that's not too splurgy (and as a bonus, you get a chichi shopping bag).
Tiffany & Co. America's most famous jewelry store. What we bought: sterling-silver key ring engraved with a registration number in case it goes missing ($90). 727 Fifth Ave., 212/755-8000.
Takashimaya A luxurious Japanese emporium of fashion, cosmetics, housewares, and more, with a little tea salon in the basement. What we bought: green butterfly tea in a silver canister ($25), mini copper teapot with brass handle ($65), bamboo mini strainer ($5). 693 Fifth Ave., 212/350-0100.
Jeffrey His and hers fashion excess in the Meatpacking District. What we bought: Stella McCartney's Greek-inspired flip-flops, in turquoise ($90). 449 W. 14th St., 212/206-1272.
Moss A museum-quality gallery of design. What we bought: the 12-sided World Time desk clock. It adapts to one of 24 global time zones, depending on which side you stand it on ($75). 146 Greene St., 212/204-7100.
Pucci The Italian label known for its signature retro patterns. What we bought: silk bandanna ($100). 701 Fifth Ave., 212/230-1135.
Sometimes you need extra amusement
If your trip to the amusement park just isn't special enough, there are ways to liven it up.
Los Angeles Buy used clothing fresh off a Hollywood set at Universal Studios' Wardrobe Dept. store. You might find a Seven for All Mankind jean skirt from Will & Grace ($25) or a Prada T-shirt from Passions ($50). Nothing is more than $150. 800/864-8377, universalstudioshollywood.com.
Orlando Ten guests a day are able to rent Segways for a two-hour tour of Epcot Center's World Showcase Lagoon--better yet, it happens before the area opens to the public at 11 a.m. ($80 per person). 407/939-8687, disneyworld.com.
There is absolutely nothing like Dubai in the world, but you don't have to be rich and famous to enjoy this amazing destination for yourself. In true Friendly Planet style, your 5-night vacation package to Dubai includes airfare, 4-star deluxe hotel accommodations, daily buffet breakfast and round-trip airport transfers. Optional sightseeing excursions available.