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You Say 'Je Suis Charlie' But Will You Still Travel to France?

January 9, 2015 at 6:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Yesterday, the Eiffel Tower went dark for the victims at Charlie Hebdo.

Before we take off for the weekend, we wanted to comment on the terrible terrorist attacks that have besieged Paris, and France as a country, this week.

The New York Times has some excellent reporting on the situation as it, sadly, keeps developing, while the New Yorker had a great line in this story from George Packer about standing up to the terrorists-- "So we must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day."

And of course, we completely agree with this powerful image from Lucille Clerc (not Banksy, as people originally thought.)

Break one, thousand will rise #CharlieHebdo #JeSuisCharlie #raiseyourpencil

Et bilde publisert av Lucille Clerc (@lucille_clerc)


Aside from the terrible loss of life in such a violent way, and the scary threat to free speech, we're now hearing that some folks won't travel to Europe because of the terrorist attacks. We've actually heard this several times today.

So far, the U.S. State Department has warned travelers to "remain vigilant" but they haven't restricted travel to Paris, although the French government and Paris police have upped security seemingly everywhere.

While the situation is still unfolding in Paris, boycotting travel to Europe is not the answer. That just letting the terrorists win. And we can't let them do that.

Are you afraid to travel abroad because of the recent attacks? Share your concerns in comments below.

[Photos via Twitter and Instagram]

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3 Hours Flat from Amsterdam to Paris on the Thalys Train

December 23, 2014 at 11:41 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Paris Cracks Down on Cutesy 'Love Locks' Vandalism

Where: Paris, France
November 28, 2014 at 10:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

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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Throwback Thursday: An In-Flight Snack Attack on Air France in 1958

November 13, 2014 at 3:12 PM | by | Comments (0)

Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get 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.

For all we talk about in-flight meals, you might think that praising (or criticizing) what's served onboard where is a new concept. A 1958 Air France postcard we acquired proves that obsession with in-flight food is hardly anything new.

Written by an American onboard a flight from Rome to Paris during a European "Grand Tour," the traveler is surprised, in a good way, by the food offered on the flight. On a similar Air France route today, you might be lucky to receive a complimentary beverage and perhaps a croissant.

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How to Kiss in France

Where: France
October 23, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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Travel Contest Roundup: Four Ways to Visit Paris for Free

Where: Paris, France
September 19, 2014 at 12:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

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:

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The Dates for Fashion Weeks Around the World, Fall 2014

September 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM | by | Comments (0)

Labor Day means more than just the official end of summer and unofficial end of wearing white pants. With the start of September comes the countdown to what fashion insiders dub "Fashion Month," the series of fashion weeks which will introduce the trends and top designs for 2015.

As fashion weeks move to world capitals and new runways, they take with them the top editors, stylists, models, and fashion photographers to create a burst of creative energy and something of a "scene" in these cities. As such, fashion week can be the cooled time to visit these cities, so long as you're prepared to pay a premium for the best hotels and restaurants in which to be seen.

Mark them down, here are the dates to know for upcoming Fashion Weeks around the world:

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What is 'Paris Syndrome' and Who Has It Now?

Where: Paris, France
August 18, 2014 at 7:31 AM | by | Comment (1)

We have all been in that travel situation where things don’t exactly meet—or live up to—expectations. The place wasn’t as good as it looked in pictures, the folks weren’t as friendly, or that imagined utopia just doesn’t exist outside your mind. Apparently this is somewhat common for some visitors to Paris, and that’s why Paris Syndrome is a thing.

We’ve mentioned it before, and it even has is very own Wikipedia page—so you know it has to be true. There’s all kinds of signs and symptoms, but basically it boils down to culture shock and things not being exactly as what was imagined. Japanese tourists seem to be one of the groups that suffers from things the most, but now there are reports that Chinese tourists are getting bummed out as well.

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The Louvre Has a Pest Control Problem

Where: Paris, France
August 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

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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Throwback Thursday: The Very First Air Show Happened in 1909

August 1, 2014 at 1:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get 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.

This week's aviation headlines have thankfully been dominated by happier events, focusing on the aerobatics and airplane technology on display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As over 500,000 people flock to OSH for the flying displays (and nighttime airshow fireworks), it's fun to reflect on the start of this thing we know as an Air Show.

Roll the calendar back to the autumn of 1909, when what was a small aviation display within the Paris Motor Show finally bust out into its own event, the Paris Air Show (Salon de locomotion adrienne). Held within Paris' Grand Palais (which now most notably hosts Chanel fashion shows), the spectacle attracted approximately 100,000 visitors over the span of three weeks, and put forth the crazy idea that airplane travel wasn't just for daredevils and tinkerers.

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New Airline Alert: What The Heck is 'Dreamjet?' Or is It 'La Compagnie?'

June 19, 2014 at 10:45 AM | by | Comments (0)

In short, "Dreamjet" is actually "La Compagnie," yet another all-business class carrier flying posh passengers from Europe to New York.

The details go like this: La Compagnie is a French start-up airline that plans to fly from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Newark using the airline's only 757-200 to do the heavy lifting. The narrow-body will be outfitted with 80 angled lie-flat seats to make sure the 6-hour flight is as comfy as possible. The project is being called Dreamjet, but it's technically La Compagnie. Kinda confusing, huh?

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Expedia Sees a Trip to Paris as the Answer to Life's Problems

Where: Paris, France
June 10, 2014 at 3:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

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 work—it definitely makes us want to travel to France, as France-themed travel advertising ought to do—but it's not exactly designed to generate warm fuzzies. Crushing regret is closer to what this commercial seems to be aiming for.

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