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Holiday Travel / Christmas Travel / Christkindlmarkt / Weihnachtsmarkt / Germany Travel / Austria Travel / Switzerland Travel / France Travel / Italy Travel / Winter Travel / Shopping Travel / → All Tags
Above: Heidelberg castle, with the market and ice skating rink in a Platz below
Christkindlmarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt or Marché de Noëlwhatever the name, the game's the same. European Christmas Markets are several weeks of seeing cities at their best, festively decorated and with tasty seasonal specialties on offer. Travelers used to seeing Europe in summer are in for a shock, and perhaps a change of season preference, once the charm of winter takes hold of the historic city centers and the hot mulled wine is poured.
With so much magic in store across the continent, it can be difficult to chose just one or two cities for your winter market visit. Luckily we've narrowed it down, highlighting the most beloved markets for the 2014 holiday season, in the countries with the most tradition behind the events:
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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.
Travel Contests / Paris Travel / France Travel / Free Stuff / Lists / Travel Contest Roundup / → All Tags
We realize travel budgets may be limited, but it’s free to dream. This is where contests come into the picture, and there's always the chance that you could be the big winner—just don't forget to tell us if you are!
Here are 4 Paris contests to enter right now:
First it was pickpockets, and now there’s another kind of pest hanging out around the Louvre over in Paris.
It seems like the inside of the museum is safe, but the gardens that surround the place are kind of infested with rats—gross. Apparently visitors and tourists enjoy leaving bits and pieces of trash and picnic debris behind, and that encourages the rats to come out and snack. Unfortunately a real life version of Ratatouille it is not.
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The parks over at Disneyland Paris don’t seem to get the new rides and attractions as often as we do here in the states, but that’s not the case this week as a fresh bit of Disney magic is headed overseas.
The new attraction is showing off a little fun from the movie Ratatouille, and it's scheduled to debut July 10. It’s the very first ride based on this film, and of course it only makes sense for Ratatouille to make a first amusement park showing in Paris, seeing as how the animated film was based there.
Videos / Travel Ads / Travel Advertising / Expedia / Google / Paris Travel / France Travel / → All Tags
A few years ago Google published an ad about finding love in Paris, which ended with a guy...well, finding love in Paris. The purpose of the spot was to highlight all of the different things you can find by using the search engine (information, flights, locations) and it was widely acknowledged as a successful bit of advertising that left everybody with a nice, pleasant feeling.
This new video that just came out from Expedia Mexico is the opposite of that. We're not saying that it doesn't workit definitely makes us want to travel to France, as France-themed travel advertising ought to dobut it's not exactly designed to generate warm fuzzies. Crushing regret is closer to what this commercial seems to be aiming for.
Throwback Thursday / Retro Travel / Air France / Airlines / France Travel / Airline Ads / Airline Meals / Food Travel / → All Tags
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
We can only imagine what it would have been like in the mid-1960s, planning a trip to France on one of the new Boeing 707s. Dreaming of nibbling croissants on the street, sampling fine French cuisine, and sipping French vintages would be part of the agenda and Air France knew it. That's why it's no surprise their advertisements highlighted the elaborate meals onboard their jet service from New York, Chicago and LA.
This poster above exhibits the nine essential parts of the service, about which Air France was so proud. Not only would De Luxe Class (business class) passengers be treated to the reduced flying time and comfort of jet service across the Atlantic, but also onboard meals worthy of the Paris route. Taking consistency into consideration, all of these beautiful meals will be served depending on mileage from origin city.
In response to a number of muggings and attacks against Chinese tourists, it was announced today that the French government has called upon the Chinese police force to help patrol the streets of Paris this summer. According to reports, at least ten Chinese police officers will help strengthen the security at popular tourist spots and public transportation hubs. They will also help translate between Chinese tourists and local police offers.
We cover a lot within the travel industry, but this has to be one of the most significant stories we've seen in a long time. The implications and fallout of this industry first are absolutely huge, and it goes to show how far countries are willing to go in order to get a piece of the world's largest tourism market. Reading between the lines, it seems like this is a move by France to appease China and keep the tour buses coming. Last year, 1.5 million Chinese tourists visited France, and that number is expected to increase by 40% this year after France relaxed its visa process.
Tax day is here, and you're probably excited...but not because you love sifting through receipts and credit card statements. You're excited because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" tripa Tax Refund Vacation.
If you haven't yet had the opportunity to fall in love with the Paris, know that spending some extra cash on a trip to the City of Light is worth it. If you have been to the French capital, then you know what we're talking about and it's high time for a return trip.
Not only does the city have a laundry list of landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysees to the Louvre and Latin Quarter, but both new and return visitors don't have to be told that the culinary delights alone are tempting enough to deserve a trip.
There are many traditions and tidbits over in Paris, and one of the most famous might just be attaching a padlock to a bridge and throwing the key into the river to symbolize everlasting love. Locking your love in a city known for affection and romance is all fine and dandy, but apparently the act might do a little bit of damage to the bridge and environment. Things are safe for now but there’s a group looking to unlock—if you will—this type of thing, as they aim to protect the Seine and the bridges that span it.
No Love Locks was born to save the bridges, as two women desire to protect and to prolong the city’s beauty—free from locks. At first we kind of thought this was a little unnecessary, but as we read their story—and their description of the locks as a creeping fungus—we kind of see their side of things.
We’re not here to cause panic and have you choke on your macaron, baguette, or cotton candy, but Paris had a problem a little under two weeks ago when an usual amount of smog rolled in and blanketed the city.
Concerned officials went as far as to throw open the turnstiles to public transportation, offering free rides on subways and buses for three days in hopes of improving air quality and easing congestion throughout the region. It wasn't just the pollution, though. According to the BBC, some unique weather patterns made things that much worse, resulting in an Air Quality Index of 185 that put Paris on par with Beijing.
In celebration of the most needed happy hour of the week, we're launching a new column called “Monday, Five Thirty” that will take a look at different vices from around the world, specifically boozes and beers unique to a destination. Last week, we told you why you should always drink vodka on St. Paddy's Day. This week, we head to France for a taste of South America.
After we had our first taste of Passoa on St. Thomas in the Caribbean, we thought it was a natural fit as far as tropical drinks go, its passion-fruit flavor mixing well with different juices as a rum-punch alternative. When we asked the bartender what island it was made on, he surprised us and said, "France."