France Travel Guide

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For Paris Cyclists, Green Means 'Go' And Red Means 'Eh, Whatever'

Where: Paris, France
July 17, 2015 at 7:41 AM | by | ()

Cyclists may find that their next ride through Paris is a bit faster (though hopefully not more dangerous) because there are some new rules of the road for pedal-powered vehicles.

This certainly should make your next Vélib' bicycle rental that much more interesting: BBC News is reporting that Paris will now allow cyclists to ride through red lights when traveling about the city. Apparently studies and analyses have shown that riding right through the red lights probably won’t cause an increase in accidents. (Just make sure that you can see the traffic up ahead over that baguette in your bicycle’s basket.)

Now, this isn't to say that bike travel will suddenly become lawless in Paris. You see, separate traffic signals for bikes will be installed right under those for cars, and these lights will indicate when cyclists can turn right or just keep moving forward — even though the traditional traffic signals require cars to stop. The roll-out is beginning this month and should be complete in September, and it’s all in the effort to encourage more green-friendly traffic to flow around the city —and maybe cut down on some of that smog along the way.

[Photo: malias]

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Where to Find a Little Bit of America in Paris

Where: Paris, France
July 10, 2015 at 4:54 PM | by | ()

The other week in Paris while crossing over the Seine, we snapped this shot of the Tour Eiffel. But if you look closely, you'll also see a pint-sized version of the Statue of Liberty. #nofilter

This tiny version of Lady Liberty stands on the end of Île aux Cygnes (Isle of Swans.) It was gifted to Paris in 1889 by the Parisian community of America to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution. This was three years after the French gave America the original Statue of Liberty. According to Wikipedia, the statue used to face the Eiffel Tower but now faces West. Another fun fact? The tablet in the statue's hand is inscribed with both the dates of the American Independence and Bastille Day. #nowyouknow

But sorry, you can't go up inside this statue. It's too small. However, if you want to see the real Statue of Liberty, you can reserve your tickets online here. Pedestal access starts at $18 for adults and $9 for children while going up into the crown is $21 for adults and $12 for children.

[Photo: Juliana Shallcross/Jaunted]

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France to the French: 'Don't Be Too French in America'

Where: France
July 2, 2015 at 10:46 AM | by | ()

With summer holidays in full swing, ‘tis the season for tourist advisories. But the latest to catch our eye didn't have much to do with international safety — rather, it had to do with social mores. One country is warning its own to be on their best Americanized behavior.

"The French shouldn't be too French when they visit the U.S.," writes Bloomberg Business, summarizing advisories on travel to America that were posted on the website of the French foreign ministry. Some of the stereotype-pushing points of guidance deal with sex-related matters: “It’s recommended to adopt a reserved attitude toward those of the opposite sex,” says the site. “Comments, behavior, and jokes, which might be harmless in Latin countries, can lead to criminal cases.” (Read: Americans will totally accuse you of sexual harassment. Those in the nifty fifty just aren't as footloose and fancy-free as those from France.)

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How A Selfie Stick Saved Some Shots At Chateau de Versailles

June 29, 2015 at 5:27 PM | by | ()

The furor over selfie sticks continues after a Disneyland guest whipped one out during California Screamin’, one of the park's fastest and thrilling roller coasters, forcing the ride to shut down for an hour. (The coaster has only one vertical but it’s still pretty scary thrilling. We’re not even sure when you’d have the time to whip out a selfie stick. #idiots)

Meanwhile in Paris, not Disneyland Paris, but Paris proper, the selfie sticks are being hawked by illegal vendors at all the major tourist attractions — just like we saw in Rome.

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Germanwings Flight 4U9525 Plummets in French Alps, All Aboard Feared Dead

Where: France
March 24, 2015 at 12:03 PM | by | ()

A flight operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airlines crashed into a remote area of the French Alps at 10:53am this morning, killing all 144 passengers including several schoolchildren and 6 crew members.

The Airbus 320 (A320) was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it suddenly dropped out of the sky. So far, there have been no reports of bad weather nor mechanical issues. However, there is some conflict over a distress call with Germanwings not sure if one had been made but France's aviation regulator said the plane lost radio contact and descended for eight minutes without explanation, thus prompting the controller to issue its own distress call.

Right now recovery efforts are underway in a fairly unmanageable section of the Alps. Making the process harder is that bad weather is expected for the area with rain and snow.

For now, Germanwings has changed their logo on social media from its usual happy orange and red to a somber black and gray.

They've also posted this statement on its site about the crash:

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Très Chic: Air France Debuts Their New Airline Safety Video

Where: France
March 23, 2015 at 12:58 PM | by | ()

We’ve seen our share of airline safety videos, and from the silly to the sexy most are usually worth a watch even on the ground.

Now Air France has revealed a new look to their pre-flight entertainment, and it is definitely a good distraction worth your time on a Monday.

There’s plenty of blue, white, and red, as we learn from some fashionable French folks that the seatbelt will do more than just protect us from bumps and turbulence—it will also elegantly highlight our waistline.

The jokes are subtle and stylish along with the whole video, and we’re thinking that Air France has a hit on their hands with this one. They even remind us what is chic (not smoking) and what is trendy (turning your electronic devices to airplane mode).

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Get Schooled, in Wine, in Bordeaux

Where: 3, cours du XXX juillet , Bordeaux, France, 33000
January 5, 2015 at 3:30 PM | by | ()

We have to admit: when we planned a trip to Bordeaux last year we expected a fairly conservative, overly touristy wine city. What we found, however, was a hip and happening sort of place where even the wine trade plays it cool at school.

Determined to get right into the wine scene, we booked a two-hour wine workshop at L’Ecole du Vin, run by Bordeaux’s official wine association, the Conseil Interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux (from now on known as the CIVB because we don’t want to have to type that out again). We walked into a high-tech, all-white and walnut laboratory of which Louis Pasteur would be proud.

(Check out the pics in the photo gallery below!)

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3 Hours Flat from Amsterdam to Paris on the Thalys Train

December 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM | by | ()

The Eurostar and the French TGV may take up most of the spotlight of Europe’s high-speed rail network, but there are other options for zooming through the continent’s patchwork of countries, depending on where you go. There is the sleek, white, and German ICE and, if you’re looking to travel between Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris, the shiny, red Thalys.

Thalys reduces Amsterdam to Paris, a 316-mile, 5-hour drive, to almost three hours flat (ok, 3 hours and 14 minutes) of high-speed comfort. It runs between Amsterdam Central Station and Paris Gare du Nord, giving you the advantage of city center to city center travel too. Stops along the way include Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Brussels.

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Buy Steve Martin's Island Home for the Luxury, Stay for the Runway Views

December 15, 2014 at 3:05 PM | by | ()

With the holidays approaching, Saint-Barthélemy is about to become a hotbed of celebrity activity, with one exception. St. Barth regular Steve Martin will likely be vacationing somewhere else this winter.

The funny man listed his island home, Villa Au Soleil, for the second time in two years (his first try was last summer, but he was also open to $28,000 per week rentals.

The asking price is $9,015,012 and you'll find the house located in the hills of the exclusive Lurin neighborhood. Inside is a gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, a large living room with a media area, multiple terraces, and en suite bathrooms off of each bedroom.

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Paris Cracks Down on Cutesy 'Love Locks' Vandalism

Where: Paris, France
November 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM | by | ()

Travelers to Paris this winter (and from now on) will enjoy improved views as a popular form of tourist graffiti has been cleared from bridges over the Seine River.

The "No Love Locks" movement of earlier this year, which protested the practice of attaching a heavy-duty lock to a bridge rail to "secure" a relationship, has been successful. While gaining signatures for the petition, No Love Locks estimated that the Pont de Arts Bridge alone was covered with 93 metric tons of extraneous metal. Aside from their being unsightly, the heavy use of these locks is a problem for the structural integrity of the historic bridges.

Are they art? No. Are they romantic? Maybe for the fleeting minute you attach a lock and then leave the bridge, making its clean-up Paris' problem. "It's vandalism, and it's taken the ambiance away from the bridges."

City officials began a mass removal of the locks in September, replacing them with plastic panels over the bridge architecture to prevent tourists from attaching more. And the difference is definitely noticeable.

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How to Kiss in France

Where: France
October 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

Even tombstones get multiple kisses in France.

Every country, and culture, has its customs. The Japanese consider tipping after meals an insult. And in Germany, you should never—ever!—jaywalk, even if it’s 4:00 a.m. and there’s no traffic.

Meanwhile, in France, the cheek—or cheek-to-cheek or cheek-to-cheek-to-cheek—kiss is a sort of cultural delicacy, like fine wine. For example, you wouldn't order a Lyon wine in the heart of Burgundy, just in the same way you might want to be cautious when you kiss only two cheeks in Burgundy, when, typically, you should kiss four.

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Autumn is Europe Shopping Spree Season for Robert Pattinson and Oprah Winfrey

Where: Paris, France
October 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM | by | ()

Oprah Winfrey and Robert Pattinson embarked on two very different European shopping sprees this week.

On Tuesday, Pattinson and his girlfriend FKA Twigs perused the clothing racks at Harmony in Paris, a retail store that carries mostly casual clothing for men and women. The couple, who were traveling through the city alone, was spotted laughing and trying on clothes before they moved onto a few other shops in the trendy Marais district.

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