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The Most Romantic Things to Do in Paris
It’s no secret why so many couples choose Paris as a destination for their honeymoon or anniversary trip. The French capital is overflowing with opportunities for lovebirds. Obviously, the Eiffel Tower is the place to go take in the city’s aesthetic beauty, but it’s not the only spot for romance. If you’re planning a trip to Paris with your loved one, make sure these activities are on your itinerary. Picnic in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont On a sunny day pick up a fresh baguette, assortment of cheeses, and a bottle of wine and head to Buttes-Chaumont Park for a picnic. This beautiful 61-acre park, in northeastern Paris, offers stunning views of the city. Perched at the top of an artificial lake, the park also boasts caves, waterfalls, and a suspended bridge. The land is sprinkled with exotic trees, such as Himalayan cedars and Siberian elms, and numerous birds like seagulls, moorhens, and mallard ducks. Stroll arm-in-arm along Canal Saint-Martin This lovely canal, which connects the waters of northeast Paris to the Seine via nine locks, is the perfect place for a stroll with your partner. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many quirky cafes that flank the canal’s water and iron footbridges. Then, make your way to the nearby Parc de la Villette, an urban park that houses museums, concert halls, live performance stages, and theaters. Sail down the Seine No trip to Paris is complete without a river cruise down the Seine, which cuts through the heart of the city. We recommend taking a sunset cruise so that you can see the city’s lights glittering on the water as you sail past landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and Pont Neuf. To up the romance, splurge for a lamp-lit dinner cruise. Catch a cabaret show at Moulin Rouge Moulin Rouge is one of the world’s most famous cabaret clubs. After walking under the red windmill that gives the venue its name, you’ll enter the iconic theater, which hosts an outstanding cabaret show that features a troupe of more than 80 dancers donning costumes of feathers, rhinestones and sequins that were handmade in some of the most famous Parisian workshops. Enjoy dinner for two at La Coupole This grand restaurant, which features stunning art deco décor, is the perfect spot for fine dining at a French brasserie. La Coupole’s 450-seat dining room is dotted with 33 majestic pillars. The menu’s lauded lamb curry is served from a rolling cart. An added bonus: the restaurant is located in the historic Montparnasse district, a hub for bohemian painters, sculptors, and other artists. Journey to the Temple of Love Temple de l’Amour, or the “Temple of Love,” is a white-marble dome set on an artificial island in the center of a lake in Versailles. This hidden beauty, commissioned by Queen Marie-Antoinette, is part of the meticulously manicured English Gardens. The temple boasts a sculpture of Cupid cutting his bow from the Club of Hercules. Indulge in decadent Parisian pastries Couples with a sweet tooth should carve out time to visit some of the city’s artisanal chocolate makers. If you’re looking for a rich culinary experience, take a 2.5-hour walking tour (via Viator) of the acclaimed chocolate shops in Saint-Germain where you can sample an array of French delicacies such as chocolate eclairs, truffles, and other delectable sweets. Get lost in the Tuileries Gardens This 55-acre public garden, nestled between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, is the grand dame of Parisian parks – and it’s the perfect place for a long afternoon stroll. Statues of Maillol stand among those of Rodin or Giacometti in this French formal garden, which was meticulously designed by Italian Renaissance architect Bernard de Carnesse in 1564. More than 14 million people visit the Tuileries Gardens every year. Sip your way through a tour of Paris wineries Escape the city and make your way to some of Paris’ finest wineries, where you can taste incredible vinos from locally made wineries. France’s famous champagne region is an easy day trip away from Paris. Make sure to stop at the cellars at G.H. Mumm, a renowned winemaking house that has been producing bubbly for nearly 200 years. Steal a kiss at the I Love You Wall in Montmartre This off-the-beaten-path art installation, found in the northern suburbs of Paris, features the words “I love you” in over 250 languages. It’s the love child of calligraphist Fédéric Baron and mural artist Claire Kito. Fun fact: the wall is constructed out of 612 individual tiles made from enameled lava.
4 Charming Bavarian Towns You’ll Love
To ring in 2019, we made an affordable escape to Europe and visited several small towns in Bavaria, the iconic southern region of Germany. The history, architecture, and culture of medieval and Renaissance Bavaria are preserved in several impossibly cute town centers, and it was a wonderful place to welcome the new year. And of course, the beer everywhere was wunderbar. Bavarian food, in particular, is perfect for cold weather - hot and hearty and delicious. Most travelers visit Europe in the summer; but those who venture to visit somewhere like Bavaria in the off-season are rewarded with picturesque vistas, lower prices and, best of all, far fewer crowds. Here, four towns we fell for—and you will too. 1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Irakite/Dreamstime) Rothenburg is remarkable for (among other unique features) the 13th-century wall that surrounds much of the town’s medieval center. Visitors can walk the two miles of covered ramparts, looking down over the roofs and streets or through the “archers’ slits” to the countryside. Seventy watchtowers appear along the wall, some of which overlook the lovely expanse of the Tauber river valley far below. Steps lead down from the wall every hundred yards or so, enabling visitors to stroll along the fairy-tale streets and visit beer gardens, churches, shops, and museums, including the cheery Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum and the grim Museum of Medieval Crime and Punishment. Most of the current wall dates from the 13th century, but a sizeable portion of it (and the part of the town within the wall) was destroyed in World War II. Allied soldiers then convinced a German commander to surrender the town, defying Hitler’s orders but saving the rest of the town from destruction. The town square sports a 17th-century clock with a mechanized drinker that commemorates the time during the 30 Years War when the town was saved from being destroyed by an attacking army because its mayor, essentially on a dare from the conquering general, quaffed a tankard of wine - almost a gallon! - in a matter of minutes. 2. Bamberg (Jan Kranendonk/Dreamstime) The historic center of Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, due to its well-preserved medieval architecture and city layout. Its many old bridges crossing the Regnitz River add to its charm. The city grew up over centuries around seven hills, like Rome, leading to the nickname "the Bavarian Rome." Bavarians, though, like to reverse this, instead wryly referring to Rome as the "Italian Bamberg." Bamberg is also known as one of the prime sources for the much-sought-after Rauchbier ("smoked beer"), made with beechwood-smoked malts. This type of beer is an acquired taste - be sure to acquire some! 3. Regensburg (Snicol24/Dreamstime) Regensburg sits where the River Regen joins the Danube, and as such arose as a center of commerce and culture since Roman times. The old town was fortunate to avoid bombing in the Second World War; consequently, its medieval center earns it a place on UNESCO's World Heritage list. Among its many river crossings is an iconic 12th-century stone bridge with 16 arches. At one end of the bridge is the equally old Historic Sausage Kitchen, a restaurant founded in the mid 1100s and operated by the same family since the early 1800s. Grilled sausages are their specialty of course, and they’re delicious. The cathedral here is monumental, displaying the vast wealth and influence that the town enjoyed since the 13th century. The exterior face contains countless ornate sculptures depicting fantastic beasts and biblical figures as well as actual monarchs and church leaders throughout the centuries. The interior is a yawning vault of towering stained glass windows, titanic stone columns, and walls full of carved statuary. Down an unremarkable alley a block away, a modest marker (on a house now owned by a local architect) commemorates the industrialist Oskar Schindler, whose subversive efforts saved the lives of more than a thousand Jews during the Holocaust. After the war, Schindler lived in Regensburg for a time. 4. Landshut (Luisa Vallon Fumi/Dreamstime)Though close to the sprawling metropolis of Munich, the bustling town of Landshut retains a medieval charm. Its cobbled center street is a vast car-free zone, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy many blocks of shops and historic sights without concern for motor traffic. Just up the hill overlooking the town, the walls and towers of Trausnitz Castle have flexed the muscles of Bavarian aristocracy since the 1200s. Amid the charming pastel-colored houses on Landshut's streets, the massive brick spire of Saint Martin's Cathedral looms large. Completed in 1500, it is the tallest church in Bavaria, and it is the largest brick church in the world. Inside, a 16-foot-tall Gothic crucifix hangs high from the vaulted roof in front of the altar, and the colorful stained glass windows in the nave depict figures from the Bible and lively scenes of real life in Bavaria. Landshut is worth visiting under any circumstance, but it is especially convenient as a last stop before leaving Germany from Munich’s airport, an easy half-hour drive away.
Affordable Paris: French cuisine on sale now
Paris may be feeling the economic pinch right now, but the outward signs are subtle. Unlike New York, where you'll find "recession specials" frequently advertised, Paris has yet to slap many sale stickers on its rooms and restaurants. That said, there are two promotions running now that have significantly lowered the cost of eating well in Paris. The first comes from Guy Savoy, whose eponymous restaurant is often cited as one of the best in the city (18 Rue Troyon, 17th arrondissement, +011-33/8-26-10-13-07). He’s offering to let any teenager aged 15–17 years eat for free when accompanied by two paying adults. This is limited to one freebie per visit, but it could still save you hundreds of euros on a special-occasion meal. For those who can't splurge on the set menu (the cheapest is €275/$360), the chef is offering a similar deal at his other three Paris eateries. Le Chiberta (3 rue Arsène Houssaye, 8th arrondissement, +011-33/1-53-53-42-00) is a swish modern-design restaurant, Les Bouquinistes (53 quai des Grands Augustins, 6th arrondissement, +011-33/1-43-25-45-94) is a crowd-pleasing bistro, and L'Atelier Maître Albert (1 rue Maître Albert, 5th arrondissement, +011-33/1-56-81-30-01) specializes in rotisserie meats. At these three (much cheaper) eateries, Savoy has also lowered the age limit: Any teenager from 12–17 years eats free when accompanied by two paying adults. The second promotion comes from Châteaux and Hôtel Collections, a group that manages more than 500 swank hotel and restaurant properties in France. From now until May 15, their La France Re[Cuisinée] promotion lets you eat lunch for only €28 at a selection of restaurants across the country. In Paris, that applies to two very good restaurants from acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse: Aux Lyonnais (32 rue Saint-Marc, 2nd arrondissement, +011-33/1-42-96-65-04) and Benoît (20, rue Saint Martin, 4th arrondissement +011-33/1-42-72-25-76). It also includes L'Assiette (181 rue du Château, 14th arrondissement, +011-33/1-43-22-64-86), a bistro that has the local foodie crowd raving. I haven’t yet been to "the plate," but a promotion like this is sure to get me moving. MORE Our Affordable Paris series of blog posts
Paris pizza buzz: Pink Flamingo
My love for this quirky outfit lies dormant during the cold months, then gushes anew when the weather is warm enough to eat outside. There is a dining room at the Pink Flamingo to serve you during the dark months, but the real draw is their delivery along the banks of the Canal Saint Martin. On summer evenings, both sides of this curving canal are lined with lively picnic parties. I used to bring my own basket, but haven't done that once since discovering "the Pink." And judging by the number of balloons that are dotting the banks these days, I'm not alone. So what's with the balloon? Well, they give you one in exchange for your order, then use it to locate your group for delivery. There's something very cheery about walking in the footsteps of Amélie with a helium balloon tied to your wrist. While devouring a pizza, stand next to the footbridge from which the heroine of Amélie skipped her stones. The Menu Kooky names and inventive combos are part of the program at the Pink. "La Basquiat" is topped with gorgonzola, fig, and cured ham from the Auvergne. "Le Che" features marinated Cuban pork and fried plantains. "La Dante" is surprisingly tame with fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella. Whatever the topping, you can be assured of a thin crust made with organic flour and sel de Guérande (fancy salt). The Bill Prices range from €10.50–16 ($14–22) and each pizza can easily feed two. Bottles of wine (with plastic cups for takeaway) range from about €13–20 ($18–25), but you could save money with a cheaper bottle from the Franprix grocery along the Canal (108 quai de Jemmapes). The Buzz The artists of IVY Paris have long been hosting their "hipnics" with Pink Flamingo pizza. French guide Le Fooding loves it, too, even though they think the name sounds like a strip parlor. Food blogger Adrian Moore is a fan of the "Ho Chi Ming" pizza (chicken, shrimp, coconut, lemongrass, and crushed peanuts) and the organic beer. And the cutesy My Little Paris site has even rendered the "flying pizzas" in watercolor. The Coordinates 67 rue Bichat, 10th arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-02-31-70, Métro Jacques Bonsergent. Closed Monday. A second Paris location has just opened in the Marais at 105, rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-71-28-20, Métro Saint-Sébastian-Froissart. Closed Monday. CLICKABLES Slimming down the lunch bill at Paris restaurants 10 top Paris food blogs Paris bistro buzz: Frenchie
Great Paris 'hoods: The Canal Saint-Martin
Back in the day (the early 1800s) the Canal Saint-Martin was dug for the express purpose of relieving dysentery. How romantic! Connecting two big rivers—the Ourcq and the Seine—the canal provided fresh water and freight by boat. Two hundred years later, its primary purpose is pure leisure. Winding gracefully through the 10th arrondissement from a point near République, the "open" portion of the Canal (some parts are underground) is perpetually lined with picnic baskets. Parisians of all ages, and an increasing number of visitors, come here to sip rosé, stroll hand in hand along the water's edge, and reenact the stone-skipping scene from Amélie. They also come here to shop. The west side of the canal has become a destination in recent years, with fashionistas flocking to The Kooples (32 rue Beaurepaire), Médicine Douce (10 rue Marseille), Antoine et Lili (95 quai de Valmy) and Stella Cadente (93 quai de Valmy) and Agnès B (13 rue Marseille for women, and 1 rue Dieu for men). I also love the design bookstore Artazart (83 quai de Valmy) for glossy coffee-table tomes and a range of Moleskin notebooks. After shopping, it's nice to kick back with a drink at hipster central Chez Prune (36 rue Beaurepaire). This café is a neighborhood institution, along with its rival across the water, Le Jemmapes (82 quai de Jemmapes). The latter specializes in Belgian beer, sold in takeaway cups for sipping along the water. When appetite strikes, there are plenty of cheap and cheerful options near the canal. My absolute favorite, which is open only for lunch, is the Cantine de Quentin (52 rue Bichat, 011-33/1-42-01-40-32). They offer a two-course menu on weekdays for €14 ($19.50), with updated classics like smoked duck breast with carmelized apple. Another haunt is Le Verre Volé. This shoebox-sized bar à vins specializes in natural wine and serves a small but delicious selection of charcuterie, cheese, and hot dishes. They're always packed, so be sure to reserve (67 rue Lancry, 011-33/1-48-03-17-34). If you're ready to take a break from French food, Maria Luisa and Pink Flamingo both make great pizza, with the latter delivering by bike anywhere along the canal. For delicious and cheap Cambodian, the locals line up nightly at 8:00 p.m. to give their name at Le Cambodge. They then head to wait by the water's edge until the restaurant calls with a ready table. Brand-new on the scene is Rosalito (52 rue René Boulanger, 011-33/1-77-35-92-11), a tapas bar from the same owner as (foodie fave) Da Rosa. Small plates range from €2–9 ($2.80–$12.50), with homemade sangria for €5 ($7). And finally, as I wrote about in my earlier blog post "Paris Bakery Buzz", no trip to the canal is complete without a stop at Du Pain et des Idées. Christophe Vasseur was named the city's best boulanger and sells his wares at a beautifully restored hundred year-old bakery. Try the chausson à la pomme fraîche—it's unlike any apple turnover you've ever had (34 rue Yves Toudic). EARLIER Great Paris 'hoods: Around the rue de Belleville More from our Affordable Paris series
Paris bakery buzz: Du Pain et des Idees
A few steps from the Canal Saint-Martin, the handsome hundred year-old bakery Du Pain et des Idées has been revived by the passion of Christophe Vasseur. A late-blooming baker, Vasseur hung up his corporate suit at age 30 and dedicated himself to becoming the best in the city. His wish came true—after only six years in business, Vasseur was recognized by the gourmet magazine Gault & Millaut as the city's best baker "Meilleur Boulanger de Paris." The menu Vasseur insists on time-consuming methods and fresh ingredients. His chausson à la pomme fraîche is simply bursting with juicy apples and unlike any turnover you've ever had. Pair it with a pain chocolat banane, and grab a sack of niflettes (puff pastry tartlets filled with pastry cream, photo here) for the road. These little pastry squares are dotted with orange scented cream and perfect for nibbling along the banks of the nearby Canal Saint-Martin. For something savory, try one of the mini-pavés—small breads stuffed with combinations like spinach-chèvre or tomato-feta. His wildly popular pain des amis (friendship bread) makes me want to move to the neighborhood. Light but chewy, with a nutty fragrance and deliciously charred bottom—it's one of the best I've ever tried. The bill Most pastries, like the chausson and the pain chocolat cost around €1.80 ($2.50). A sack of ten niflettes is €3.30 ($4.60). A 250 gram hunk of the outstanding pain des amis is €2 ($2.80). The mini-pavés are only €1.30 ($1.80)—grab two of these plus a pastry and you've got a sweet little lunch for under €5. The buzz Who doesn't love this place? Pastry chef and author David Lebovitz has raved about the whole grain loaf. French magazine L'Express wrote that Vasseur makes "one of the best chaussons in the city." And three-star chef Alain Passard told the (London) Times last year that the pain des amis is "the best he had ever eaten." TimeOut Paris named it as a "Critic's Choice" and cooed about the artisanal croissants. The coordinates 34 rue Yves Toudic, 10th arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-40-44-52. Métros Jacques Bonsergent, République. Closed Saturday and Sunday, dupainetdesidees.com.
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Breaux Bridge (; French: Pont-Breaux; Cajun French: Pont-(de)-Breaux pronounced [pɔ̃ndbʁo]) is a small city in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population is 8,139 as of the 2010 census, up from 7,281 in 2000. It is part of the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. Originally dubbed "La Capitale Mondiale de l’Écrevisse," Breaux Bridge was officially designated the Crawfish Capital of the World by former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Bob Angelle. Breaux Bridge hosts an annual Crawfish Festival, and is regionally noted for listing nicknames in its telephone directory.
Lafayette (, French: [lafajɛt]) is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The city is the most populous and parish seat of Lafayette Parish, and is located along the Vermilion River. It is Louisiana's fourth largest incorporated municipality by population and the 234th-most populous in the United States, with a 2020 census population of 121,374; the consolidated city–parish's population was 244,390 in 2019. The Lafayette metropolitan area was Louisiana's third largest metropolitan statistical area with a population of 489,759 at the 2020 population estimates program, overtaking the Shreveport–Bossier City metropolitan area in 2015.Originally established as Vermilionville in the 1820s and incorporated in 1836, Lafayette developed as an agricultural community until the discovery of oil in the area in the 1940s; since the discovery of oil, the city and parish have had the highest number of workers in the oil and natural gas industry in Louisiana as of 2018. With the establishment of the University of Louisiana System's Lafayette campus, and the diversification of its economy, Lafayette and its metropolitan area have experienced population growth and became nicknamed "The Hub City". Culturally, the city and parish of Lafayette are also known as the "Heart of Acadiana".The city, metropolitan area and Acadiana region are major centers for the technology industry, and home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the second largest public research university in Louisiana. Lafayette is also a major center for health care and social services, aerospace, banking and retail. Notable corporations with headquarters or a large presence in the Lafayette area include the Ochsner Health System, IberiaBank, Rouses Market, Petroleum Helicopters International, Amazon, Brookshire Grocery Company, JP Morgan Chase, Albertsons, Perficient, and CGI. The Lafayette area is home to a diverse population from Louisiana Creole and Cajun backgrounds, and was named the "Happiest City in America" in 2014.
West Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge ( BAT-ən ROOZH; from French Bâton-Rouge 'red stick') is the capital city of the U.S. state of Louisiana. On the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, it is the parish seat of East Baton Rouge Parish, the most-populous parish in Louisiana. Since 2020, the city of Baton Rouge has been the 99th-most-populous city in the United States, and second-largest city in Louisiana after New Orleans. It is also the 18th-most-populous state capital. At the U.S. Census Bureau's 2020 tabulation, Baton Rouge had a population of 227,470; the consolidated population of Baton Rouge was 456,781 in 2020 The city of Baton Rouge is the center of the Greater Baton Rouge area, the second-largest metropolitan area in Louisiana, with a population of 870,569 as of 2020, up from 802,484 in 2010.The Baton Rouge area owes its historical importance to its strategic site upon the Istrouma Bluff, the first natural bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. This allowed development of a business quarter safe from seasonal flooding. In addition, the city built a levee system stretching from the bluff southward to protect the riverfront and low-lying agricultural areas. The city is a culturally rich center, with settlement by immigrants from numerous European nations and African peoples brought to North America as slaves or indentured servants. It was ruled by seven different governments: French, British, and Spanish in the colonial era; the Republic of West Florida, as a United States territory and state, Confederate, and United States again since the end of the American Civil War. The city of Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture, and growing technology center of the American South. It is the location of Louisiana State University, the LSU System's flagship university and the largest institution of higher education in the state. It is also the location of Southern University, the flagship institution of the Southern University System, the only historically black college system in the United States. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the 10th-largest in the U.S. in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships. Major corporations participating in the economy of Baton Rouge and its metropolitan statistical area include Lamar Advertising Company, BBQGuys, Marucci Sports, Piccadilly Restaurants, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical Company.
St. Landry Parish
St. Landry Parish (French: Paroisse de Saint-Landry) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 83,384. The parish seat is Opelousas. The parish was created in 1807.St. Landry Parish comprises the Opelousas, LA Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City, LA Combined Statistical Area. It is at the heart of Creole and Cajun culture and heritage in Louisiana.