Top 10 Places to Visit in France

by Mel on January 16, 2013

France is a country of celebrity beaches, mighty peaks, fashion and festivals, the Eifel Tower, French wine, and plenty of historic and cultural landmarks. Here is your must-see list while enjoying gourmet dishes, truffles, croissants, and superb chocolate.

1. Paris

Eiffel_TowerThe French capital, Paris, is situated on the Seine River in the Northwestern part of the country. It is considered one of the most romantic places for couples and new weds. The capital city features the famous Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral with its spectacular rose windows, the Gothic monuments St-Chapelle, the Rodin Museum, full of bronze and marble sculptures and shady trees, and Montmartre, with its 19th and 20th century bohemian lifestyle.

2. Versailles

The city of Versailles is famous for the Palace of Versailles, the de facto capital of France until 1789. The Palace of Versailles is also called the Chateau de Versailles and is comprised of four buildings: 580-m long palace building with sumptuous bedchambers, grand halls, and multiple wings; the vast gardens, pools, and channels to the west; and two small palaces. The area is now a wealthy suburb of Paris, visited by about 3 million visitors a year.

3. Nice

Nice_Hotel_NegrescoNice is the largest city at the French Riviera, considered one of the oldest human settlements on the planet, with archeological sites in the Terra Amata showing evidence of ancient life. Among its tourist attractions are beautiful beaches and seaside promenade. The sea front is lined with in-line skaters, strollers, beach-goers, and even businesspeople working on their laptops.

4. Cannes

Cannes_centerCannes is a city in the French Riviera, famous for the Cannes Film Festival. Therefore, it is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the country, boasting top notch restaurants, luxury shops, and hotels.

5. Chateau of Chambord

The Chateau de Chambord, situated in Chambord, France is a recognizable French chateaux,  famous for French Renaissance architecture and medieval forms or Italian architecture. It is also known as the largest castle in the Loire Valley.

6. Normandy,  Mont St. Michel

The Mont St. Michel or Saint Michael’s Mount in Normandy is a tidal island located just at the mouth of the Couesnon River. The mount is famous for its medieval Benedictine Abbey and the church that is nestled in the 1 kilometer diameter of rocks jutting out of the English Channel waters.

7. Bourges (Loire Valley)

The Bourges is a beaten trail in the Loire Valley in France and a historical site featuring a Gothic cathedral and a medieval quarter. Visitors marvel at its bourgeois buildings with rich stained glasses. Bourges is also famous for the marshes of the Voiselle and Yevre Rivers, the Maurice Esteve Museum, and the ruins of Gallo-Roman walls.

8. Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace Region, located close to the border that separates France from Germany. The city is well-known for the Grande Ile or Grand Island, a World Heritage site, listed by UNESCO in 1988.

9. Marseille

MarseilleThis city is the oldest in France and while not as lovely as Paris, Marseille is a good destination for visitors who look for a different atmosphere. The area is filled with colorful markets and natural big cliffs that fall into the sea. It also houses old architectural structures that will satisfy the eyes of the traveler: the Old Port, Palais de la Bourse, the Abbey of Saint-Victor, with catacombs and 5th century crypt, and the parish church of Saint-Laurent.

10. Provence

Provence is a region in the south-east France, featuring old architecture. Although it is not as urban as Paris, Provence has been inhabited since prehistoric times and offers a rich historical experience.


Image of Marseille courtesy of Jddmano.



Top 10 Vacation Destinations in Africa

by Mel on November 12, 2012

Africa is an enigmatic continent for many visitors and if you are one of them, a virtual tour around its top ten places may be worthwhile before you start packaging your suitcases.

Victoria_Falls,_ZimbabweThe first stop on African soil is the spectacular Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. With a total width of 1,708 meters, the Victoria Falls is the largest water curtain in the world. It is a truly breath-taking experience to see this mass of water (about 500,000 cubic meters of it) dropping from 107 meters into the Zambezi gorge every minute. The whole area of the Victoria Falls is remarkably well preserved mostly due to the fact that it has been declared a world cultural heritage. This is the perfect spot for wildlife lovers and adventure seekers, who can feast their eyes on the remarkable flora and fauna of the great Zambezi River. You can fly in from Johannesburg and stay in the nearby town, which lies on the southern bank of the river, only eighteen km away from the airport. Apart from sightseeing, you can also hire a small airplane and take a bird’s eye view of the whole area, with the falls and everything or do some white water rafting or boating up the river.

EgyptHuman life is too short to see all the beautiful places on the planet, but the pyramids in Egypt are a place that everyone must visit. The first European archaeologists who came to Egypt were stunned on realizing that the monumental structures, true architectural miracles, were thousands of years old, serving to accommodate the dead body of one man – the Pharaoh. He, ancients believed, transformed into the king of the dead after death. It will take you a good deal of several weeks to visit all pyramids, tombs, and temples scattered across the Nile Valley and, unless you are a professional archaeologist, you will understand little of what you will see. So, it is recommended that you take one of the standard tours around Egypt. These usually include visiting the pyramids, boating on the Nile River, and a tour around Cairo’s numerous marketplaces.

Marrakech, the Red city, is one of Morocco’s imperial cities, just like Fes and Rabat. The city is more than ten centuries old, combining the mysticism of the Orient and the dynamism of modern times. While you are in Marrakech, you must visit the famous Jemma el Fna square, which is bustling with activity when night falls. Here you can find snake charmers, tattooists and even dentists, all eager to attract the tourists’ attention and most of all, their money.

Windhoek is a good starting point of your visit to Namibia, as this is the country’s administrative and business center. You can stay in some of the big hotels in the town. Alternatively, you can find some perfect bead-and-breakfast spot, if you are more of a traveller than a tourist. From Windhoek you can take a trekking trip in the sands of Sossuvlei or a hiking tour in the mountains of Damaraland. If you are seeking a seaside holiday, Swakopmund is you place. The city’s palm-lined streets are clean and calm, and its architecture is in the colonial German style. The town is also proud of its large colony of Cape fur Seals, spreading to the north Swakopmund, which is on of its main attractions.

SeychelleThe Seychelle Islands are the perfect spot for those seeking a romantic seaside holiday with crystal clear warm waters, white sand beaches, coconut palms, and a lot of sun. Accommodation should not be a problem since tourists can choose from a constantly growing number of hotels and cosy retreats, all promising an unforgettable stay. The Seychelles offer to their visitors all kinds of summer seaside holiday activities such as scuba diving, windsurfing, horse-riding trips, fishing, hiking etc.

If you want to visit Tunisia, you can stay in one of the recommended hotels such as Villa Didon, Hotel Dar Said, Dar El Medina, or Dar Bibine. Tunisia is famous for its vast cork forests, amazing Roman ruins, and very beautiful mountains.  While in Tunisia, you must visit the Bardo Museum in Tunis, which has one of the best-preserved collections of Roman mosaics. If you are a fan of Star Wars, you can go to the places where some of the episodes were shot.

Cape_TownVuvuzela horns and football – this has been the most popular stuff in Cape Town and Johannesburg, as South Africa was the host of the Football World Cup. Needless to say, one of the most attractive destinations in Johannesburg is the Soccer City Stadium.

Of course, your trip to Africa will be somehow incomplete if you do not go on a safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, climb Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest snow-capped peak – or visit the amazing Toamasina port in Madagaskar.



Images Courtesy of Charles Raywriter, Tobias Alt



Is Visiting Greece a Good Idea Now?

September 10, 2012

Greece has a mild, Mediterranean climate, and tourists enjoy comfortable weather most of the year. The political climate and current economic crisis, however, make many people wonder whether visiting Greece is a good idea. Prospects for Greece as bankruptcy looms The country faces huge debt repayments and has been paralyzed by riots, protests, and strikes […]

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Britain’s Most Eccentric Attractions

May 23, 2012

Britain is a place of dignified rituals, pastoral pleasures, rich architectural heritage, and a sense of decency and fair play. Here classical beauty walks hand in hand with diverse sub-cultural attractions and styles that range from unusual to downright bizarre. Britain cannot be explored one way, especially if you want to see life and get […]

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Top 10 Vacation Cities in Europe

April 15, 2012

Europe stands for diversity: you can find yourself in a cobbled Saxon town, rave in the clubbing hubs of Spain, indulge in beachcombing along the Med, enjoy guided hikes in Tyrol, or stroll around the Tate Modern in the English capital. If you are tempted to pack away right now, here are the top 10 […]

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Top 10 Places to Visit in Spain

March 12, 2012

Spain is famous for bullfighting, sunny beaches, good wine, and many unusual but involving carnivals. If you plan to visit the country, take your bathing suit and sun glasses but do not spend the whole vacation sunbathing.  There are plenty of fascinating places that are worth seeing. Barcelona, the capital city of the Catalonia province, […]

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Top 10 Vacation Destinations in the Caribbean

February 15, 2012

Famous for its fertile soil, verdant mountains, and bountiful sea waters, the Caribbean consists of the Caribbean Sea, the surrounding coastline, and the islands inside the Caribbean Sea. Pulsating with music, lapped by crystal clean waters, blown by hurricanes, the Caribbean is constantly rocked by change. Tourists have plenty of things to do and see […]

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