Tag Archives: France

Why Lido De Paris is the favourite show for Indian tourists!


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Paris thrills here! The pulsating liveliness of the Champs-Élysées exalts the Parisian art de vivre. The capital comes alive on the world’s most beautiful avenue. And, established on the Champs-Elysées for more than 70 years, this iconic cabaret has been the incarnation of Parisian nights since 1946

The Indian Choice

For over two decades now, Lido de Paris has been the most preferred cabaret and entertainment site for Indian tourists and business visitors in Paris. The show’s wholesome entertainment, most modern use of technology and attractive sets in a typical French ambience have been enjoyed by families, groups and individuals visiting from India.

An Exceptional setting

Entering the Lido Parisian cabaret is as awe-inspiring as discovering a treasure. Tassels by the thousands, gilded mosaics… A hall decked in the colours of the night leads towards the recently renovated panoramic theatre that seats over 1,100.

A breathtaking show

Welcome to Paris Merveilles, the acclaimed show from director Franco Dragone, the international figure of live shows. Sensual, intimate, elegant and spectacular, this waking dream will take your breath away and leave you dazzled. Welcome to a fantastic whirlwind of technological wizardry led along by the most beautiful girls in the world.

An Indian Dinner

In addition to our different menu options one will be also able to choose a dedicated menu for Indian with a vegetarian option. A three-course menu prepared with fresh and high quality ingredients. 

“Legendary”, “sumptuous”, “breathtaking”, “magical”, “romantic”……. are just some of the superlatives used by the tourists to describe Paris.The French capital is the whole world’s dream. Every year, almost 40 million visitors come to discover it’s incredible variety of  heritage. Its is Mythical Paris, with the Champs Elysées….. Monumental Paris with the Eiffel Tower…. Cultural Paris with the Louvre, the musée d’Orsay……Paris by night with the Lido, the cabarets, the theatres….Gastronomical Paris with it’s starred restaurants…..Paris Seine with it’s bridges, the Ile Saint-Louis, the Ile de la Cité…. Paris Chic with the Avenue Montaigne and the Place Vendome…..Green Paris, with the Tuileries, the Luxembourg…..

Now, Paris is also “Paris Merveilles” with the new Lido show created and staged by Franco Dragone. So next time you are in Paris, drop your inhibitions and enjoy one of the most extraordinary cabaret performances in the entire world. Won’t you!

Also read: An evening in Paris- with your love!

Have you ever been to Lido at Champs-Élysées and enjoyed the cabaret performance? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

The world’s biggest cruise-liner, Symphony of the Seas, has left the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire in France to embark on its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean. French shipbuilder STX handed over to U.S. giant Royal Caribbean International on Friday. The ship, which weighs 228,000 tonnes, is 362 metres long just 20 metres shy of the length of the Empire State Building. It is marginally bigger than its sister ship, the Harmony of the Seas, which STX France delivered to Royal Caribbean in 2016.

Love cruising? Read: Which are the world’s most popular cruises!

Majestic view of the Symphony of the seas

The Symphony will head to Malaga in Spain and spending its first season in the Mediterranean before heading to its home port of Miami. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean.

Crew celebrating the inauguration

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighbourhood. One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighbourhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn.

Language of the cruise! Read: Cruise Lingo to help travellers talk the talk!

New Culinary Adventures

• Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.

Playmakers bar at the Symphony of the seas

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.

• El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favourites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.

• Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New destinations for cruise! Read: Adventure seekers can now visit Havana on Empress of the seas

A view from balcony of the rooms around central park

New Ways to Play

• Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

• Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Royal suite with a loft

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

  • Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Fly into cruise! Read: Cruisefly for Royal Caribbean cruises

A family suite at the Symphony of the seas

Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.

Aerial view of the helipad of the Symphony of the seas

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean, including jaw dropping, state-of-the-art entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

Also read: Vagabond at a cruise- Super Star Virgo

On board, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards. The cruise line sails 25 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

Have you been on cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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Uniworld’s S.S. JOIE DE VIVRE sets sail on maiden voyage

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s newest Super Ship, the S.S. Joie de Vivre, set sail on Tuesday, 28th March 2017 on its maiden voyage along the historic Seine River. The inaugural events included a christening ceremony in Paris led by the ship’s Godmother, Dame Joan Collins. Following the event, the S.S. Joie de Vivre embarked on its journey through Northern France along Uniworld’s Paris & Normandy itinerary, with unique programming in celebration of the highly anticipated launch.

Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre Christening Ceremony with Godmother Dame Joan Collins. 27th March 2017. Paris. Photo by Steve Dunlop

“We are delighted to welcome the S.S. Joie de Vivre to our impeccable fleet of floating boutique luxury hotels, as the first of Uniworld’s Super Ships to sail the renowned Seine River,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “Our company has brought travellers to France for more than 70 years and we are thrilled to introduce a new, enticing way to experience the country. Godmother Dame Joan epitomises the same ‘joy of living’ philosophy embodied by the S.S. Joie de Vivre, and we are honoured to have had her christen the ship before its inaugural journey.”

Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre Christening Ceremony with Godmother Dame Joan Collins. 27th March 2017. Paris. Photo by Steve Dunlop 

With a length of 125 metres, rather than the typical 135 metres, the S.S. Joie de Vivre can conveniently dock in the heart of Paris in the shadow of its most beloved landmark, the Eiffel Tower. The ship has two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites, and 54 staterooms for a maximum capacity of 128 guests. Sailings on the S.S. Joie de Vivre in 2017 run from 2 April to 27 December.

The family-run design team from Uniworld’s sister brand, Red Carnation Hotels, has bestowed their creative talents on the S.S. Joie de Vivre with bright, colourful and classic design and décor inspired by 20th Century Parisian influence from the Golden Twenties to the free-spirited Sixties, all blending seamlessly with modern conveniences. The ship features a design influenced by its destination and reminiscent of the finest super yachts across the globe, including highly-polished wood finishes throughout the vessel, each surrounded by luxurious fabrics and carpets in a minimalistic setting.

Farm-to-table cuisine and superb local wines are on display throughout the ship’s culinary venues, including Restaurant Le Pigalle, Salon Toulouse, Le Bistrot. Le Cave des Vins is the S.S Joie de Vivre’s hidden gem – an intimate venue for an exclusive hands-on dining experience. Guests select fresh ingredients and prepare a seven-course meal with the ship’s onboard chefs, with French wine pairings from the sommelier.

Passengers are invited to relax and indulge their senses at Club L’Esprit, the onboard spa and wellness venue.  Club L’Esprit offers a variety of massage therapies and beauty treatments, as well as a fitness center. Yoga sessions and aquatic fitness classes are also offered daily and refreshing smoothies are served in the L’Esprit Bar.

A pool with a hydraulic floor transforms the space from day to night for guest entertainment.  By night the venue becomes Claude’s and offers an authentic French Supper Club experience, serving delicious delights from a tapas menu accompanied by curated cocktails with live music. For a few nights throughout the duration of the journey, Claude’s presents classic French cinema under the stars.

The S.S. Joie De Vivre joins the Uniworld fleet which feature all-inclusive itineraries in Europe, as well as voyages in Russia, China, India, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia – a total of 22 rivers in 26 countries worldwide. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection – the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line – features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 130 guests, exclusive excursions, gourmet cuisine, and one of the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry. Based in Los Angeles, California, Uniworld offers truly all-inclusive itineraries. In 2018, Uniworld will launch U BY UNIWORLD, a new brand for 18 to 40 year old adventure seekers, featuring two renovated ships that will sail to cities such as Amsterdam, Budapest and Paris. Uniworld is a member of CLIA and is highly regarded by discerning travellers, media, and cruise industry experts, having most recently been named the #1 River Cruise Line in the Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2016 readers’ survey.

Tram Experience Season 4 with Lady Chefs

For its fourth season, visit.brussels is bringing back the Tram Experience from 21 August 2015 to 17 July 2016. Throughout the season foodie passengers will embark on a maiden voyage through the heart of cuisine offered by the best lady chefs.

Diner des Vignerons belges - Diner van de Belgische Wijnbouwers (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier
Diner des Vignerons belges – Diner van de Belgische Wijnbouwers (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier

Many of today’s big name chefs were captivated early in life by the pleasant aromas wafting from the kitchens of their mothers and grandmothers, those humble magicians of daily grub. They definitely knew how to get the most out of a simple stew, a frugal handful of vegetables fresh from the garden, or a comforting sweet, which was all the better for all the love they put into it.

This honest family cuisine inspired many of these chefs to embark on their career paths. While the men and women of today both do the cooking at home, too few women are calling the shots in our best restaurants.

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

Women’s cuisine is nonetheless rich in the subtleties and emotions we wish to share through the different menus that will be offered on board the Tram Experience during this 2015-2016 season.

In keeping with the spirit of openness to the world that Brussels is known for, besides the kingdom’s best lady chefs the Délice network of gourmet cities around the world were called upon. The line-up will thus combine the best with the best by bringing in lady chefs from extremely diverse backgrounds.

And, as in every year, the Tram Experience also promises a few (heavenly) surprises. All aboard!

A rich and diverse line-up 

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

As in every year, the season is comprised of a series of menus rotating every four to six weeks. They are commissioned by the lady chefs and cooked on board by chef Denis Roberti who practised the recipes with the appropriate chefs. Each menu is sampled in the studio and validated by a tasting committee sponsored by chef Lionel Rigolet ** (Comme chez Soi, Brussels) prior to being served on board the Tram Experience.

A prestigious ambassador of Belgian cuisine

Arabelle Meirlaen * (Arabelle Meirlaen intuitive cuisine, Marchin) will get the ball rolling this coming 21 August. This almost goes without saying since she is unquestionably Belgium’s foremost lady chef, as evidenced by her Chef of the Year 2014 title awarded by the Gault Millau Guide of Belgium. Her cuisine is extremely personal and largely inspired by the plant kingdom so it seemed logical to open the doors of the Tram Experience to her right away this summer at a time when nature is fully expressing its flavourful richness and palette of many colours.

Local ingredients enhanced by a starred chef

Chef Mariangela Susigan * runs a restaurant called Gardenia, opened by her own mother in the 1970s. Located in Caluso, in the countryside northeast of Turin (Italy), the restaurant has its own garden full of vegetables, herbs, and spices which play an essential role in this chef’s cooking. Her style draws its inspiration from Piedmontese cuisine, while prizing emotion and creativity.

Laurence’s favourites

The holiday season promises to reveal one of the schedule’s big surprises. This woman has away of collecting stars, five in total, and yet she does not cook. Not a single customer of this great Belgian eatery will have escaped her notice, and yet she is hardly ever mentioned. She has spent her life at the side of two of the greatest Belgian chefs, but very few really know her. It’s safe to say that Laurence Rigolet, daughter of Pierre Wynants *** and wife of Lionel Rigolet **, does not like to be in the spotlight. Nevertheless, she is the one who welcomes and takes care of each customer at Comme chez Soi, the famous Brussels institution.

Start-ups of Belgian cuisine

2016 will get off to an auspicious start. Stéphanie Thunus * and Mélanie Englebin, named Discovery of the Year 2014 by the Gault Millau guide Belgium, are well acquainted and even went to school together. One runs Au Gré du Vent out in the country in Seneffe, and the other operates Cécila, a stone’s throw from Grand-Place in Brussels. One draws inspiration from family farm ingredients while the other is decidedly oriented towards the sea. Make no mistake: both run their respective restaurants with an iron fist in a velvet glove. Their cuisine is meticulous, perfectionistic, and inspired. They will author two menus where their dishes will intermingle with harmony and finesse. Two of tomorrow’s greats, the challenge is on!

A culinary icon still relevant today

Another new foray abroad with a legend of world gourmet history. However, nothing foreshadowed that Eugénie Brazier, daughter of modest farmers born in Bresse just before the dawn of the 20th century, would become such a legend. Opening her restaurant in Lyon in 1921, Mother Brazier would be the first woman to earn the highly sought-after three rosettes from the Michelin Guide in 1933. She would also be the first two-time three-star winner with her restaurants in Lyon and neighbouring Col de la Luère. It would take more than a half-century for such a feat to be repeated by the great Alain Ducasse.

Again it would be with her that a young Paul Bocuse, just back from the war, would learn the fundamentals of his trade while minding the cows, doing the washing up, and tending the vegetable garden. Mother Brazier is no longer with us but her image lives on under the leadership of one of France’s most talented chefs: Mathieu Viannay **. Chef Viannay, with his two stars and membership in the Grandes Tables du Monde, bought the La Mère Brazier restaurant in 2008 in Lyon, and modernized it without forsaking its roots. The famous spring chicken in half-mourning, Eugénie Brazier’s signature dish, is still there but now shares the stage with chef Viannay’s more modern offerings.

The Swedish-Mexican menu, a contrast of flavours

The menu – Puebla (Mexico) and Göteborg (Sweden)- will be one of great contrasts. Two cities that seem to have nothing in common, two chefs from very different backgrounds, terroirs combining land and sea, the Mexican sun and the harsh climate of Scandinavia.

Yet now cuisine is universal and these regions some of the most interesting chefs of our foodie world. Menus that will certainly be full of high-flying discoveries with Liz Galicia (El Mural de los Poblanos) for Puebla and Karin Andersson (Toso) for Göteborg.

North and South, an unprecedented collision of gourmet worlds

Next up is a new North-South culinary collision. Dishes coming from radically different places whose only common thread is the gourmet excellence that the Tram Experience requires.

On one side, the Cape Winelands (South Africa) are a cluster of villages located in the heart of South Africa’s most beautiful wine growing region and one of the most beautiful areas in all of Africa, just a few kilometres from the Cape. The village of Franschhoek, once founded by Huguenots who fled France, has kept the French way of life close to its heart. There you can find many vineyards bearing French names and some of the country’s best restaurants. Chef Michelle Theron runs a restaurant in one of these wine-growing areas : La Motte. It is one of the country’s ten best eateries, and for many it will be an opportunity to discover South African cuisine largely unknown to the general public.

On the other side, another woman of excellence, Svetlana Riškova, chef of Elements restaurant in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Svetlana has made her presence felt as one of the shining lights of Baltic cuisine, which is expressive and very close to nature and is full of surprises. Beyond the geographical contrasts, these two menus will offer above all a contrast of terroirs to be discovered right away.

An unparalleled culinary stage designer

To close out the season on a beautiful note, the Tram Experience has called upon a somewhat unexpected individual: the Belgian Bénédicte Bantuelle is not, strictly speaking, a chef. She defines herself more as an Artistic Director, a stage designer whose purview extends well beyond the kitchen. Bénédicte considers cooking to be an entirely separate artistic discipline. Only recently has she started to apply her multifaceted gourmet talent for the benefit of Agence La Bouche, which creates culinary concepts.

She is also Damien Bouchery’s partner. Together they cofounded the Bouchéry restaurant that has without a doubt become one of the most desirable places to dine in Brussels today. At Bouchéry, the approach is reflected in even the most minor of details: house breads and cheeses, natural wines, cuisine that is totally in step with meticulously selected seasonal products.  Bénédicte had carte blanche to write the season’s last menu.

It’s highly likely she’ll be inspired by Damien’s cuisine but also that she’ll surprise with her inspired and unbounded vision of tabletop delights in a 360° approach.

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

A few key figures

  • 10,000 to 12,000 meals are served on board each year;
  • Nearly 300 tours per year;
  • More than 25,000 km covered since the project was launched;
  • Service is offered year round from August to July, six days a week;
  • Six people on board: 1 driver, 2 individuals in the kitchen, 3 in the dining room;
  • Already more than € 8,000 paid to Samusocial to date.

New for 2015-2016

The “Tram” and “Experience” menus

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

The major innovation for the next season is the menu which will now be broken down into two plans. The “Tram” menu corresponds to the current version, that is, six courses (three appetizers, first course, main course, dessert, bubbly, water and wine as desired). This menu will however be capped off with after dinner drinks following the meal.

The “Experience” menu addresses a comment made by some customers who would have preferred a longer gourmet experience exceeding the 2–2.25 hours currently offered. As a result, a longer session will be scheduled each Friday from now on. This one will include an additional dish for a total of seven courses (three appetizers, two entrées, a main course, and a dessert), still accompanied with water and wine and served over the course of more than half an hour. The “Experience” set menu will follow a somewhat different route to Dumon Square in Stockel. Here, too, an after dinner drink will complete the set menu.

It is the chef of the Tram Experience, Denis Roberti, who will author this additional dish, allowing everyone to discover the uncommon talent of this chef who has been preparing all of the recipes from the numerous starred chefs represented on board for three seasons.

Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

The guest table

Another innovation has already been tested on a small scale last season and will be fully implemented this year. This is the guest table. This four-person table with host two couples who do not know one another at a discount price. Each seat sells for € 10 less per person than the regular price. Given the success of this configuration, it will be extended throughout the new season.

Rates

  • Six course “Tram” menu € 95 (VAT included) per person excluding booking fees
  • Seven course “Experience” menu 115€ (VAT included) per person excluding booking fees (Fridays)
  • Guest table sold with at discount of € 10 per person
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

What’s included in the price?

“Tram” menu:

  • Six courses (three appetizers and three dishes (first course, main course, dessert)
  • Bubbly, wine, still and sparkling water
  • An after dinner drink

“Experience” menu:

  • Seven courses (three appetizers and four dishes (two entrées, main course, dessert)
  • Bubbly, wine, still and sparkling water
  • An after dinner drink
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier
Tram Experience Visitbrussels _ E.Danhier

Tour duration 

  • Tram menu: approximately 2 hours – 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Experience menu: approximately 2 hours 45 minutes

Menu variations

At the time of reservation, it is possible to select a vegetarian menu.

Tram capacity : 34 seats (7 tables of 2, and 5 tables of 4)

On board personnel

One host, two servers, a chef and assistant, and, of course, the driver. All Tram Experience drivers are volunteers and have been selected based on their great skill at driving appropriately in all circumstances.

On board WC

One WC is available during the tour

Taj Mahal is 3rd among top 25 landmarks

Panoramic view of the Taj Mahal from Mahtab Bagh
Panoramic view of the Taj Mahal from Mahtab Bagh

Simply the greatest architectural achievement on earth, not to mention a testament to love- Taj Mahal is among the Travellers’ Choice Top 25 Landmarks in the World for 2015, selected by TripAdvisor users around the globe. For its sheer beauty made out of white marble, Taj Mahal has always been considered as one of the wonders of the world. It is indeed among the most recognisable buildings on this globe.

angkor-watNot surprisingly though, the top place in the list goes to Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia’s Siem Reap. Another of man-made wonders Machu-Picchu in South American country of Peru is at 2nd position. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre at Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates is at 4th position and Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Spanish city of Barcelona completes the top five landmarks.

corcovado-cristo-redentorNext two positions are held by two other cathedrals in Italy, St. Peter’s Basilica at Vatican City and Milan Cathedral (Duomo) at Milan. Alcatraz in San Franciso, California is 8th, Corcovado – Cristo Redentor at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is 9th and another of San Francisco’s landmark- Golden Gate Bridge is at 10th. Two of world’s most famous landmarks are surprisingly out of top 10- Eiffel Tower in Paris is at 11th and Church of the Savior on Blood at St. Petersburg in Russia at 12th. Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is at 13th and The Alhambra at Granada in Spain is at 14th. Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) at Istanbul in Turkey completes the top 15 list.

charles-bridge-karluvContinuing human fascination for bridges Charles Bridge (Karluv Most) at Prague, Czech Republic has earned 16th position. Very surprisingly, one of the landmarks that we study about since our childhoods- The Great Wall of China is only at 17th spot. Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool at Washington DC, District of Columbia in USA is 18th. Next two are probably the most newest structures in the list- Burj Khalifa at Dubai is at 19th and The National September 11 Memorial & Museum New York City, New York at 20th. Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) at Bangkok, Thailand is 21st and Chichen Itza at Mexico is at 22nd position. Sydney Opera House at Sydney is Australia’s only entry to the list. Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur are at 24th and the 100-year old crossroad for world commerce and a feat of human ingenuity- Panama Canal at Panama City completes the most fascinating list.

Hidden Journeys – An entirely New Trip Style for 2015

european-wine-regionHaving identified a gap in the market for intimate travel in less visited destinations, Trafalgar, the Insider of guided vacations is offering guests even more choice with the addition of Hidden Journeys to its 2015 program. Unique properties and places are showcased through 11 Hidden Journeys of Europe and Ireland, Canada, Panama and Asia that cater to a maximum of 26 guests and feature in each destination programme for 2015.

With almost 70 years of experience in taking guests on memorable holidays around the world, Trafalgar understands the importance of choice and that one size doesn’t fit all. We have therefore expanded our trip styles to 10 with the inclusion of Hidden Journeys from next year.

rocamadour-black-madonnaFrom sampling wines at boutique estates to staying in distinct Ryokan accommodation, these Hidden Journeys visit amazing destinations in harder to reach places that are often best suited to smaller sized groups. With this in mind, Trafalgar has designed these itineraries primarily for those guests who like to travel in a more intimate setting, whilst still enjoying the peace of mind in travelling with an expert Travel Director and discovering exclusive Insider Experiences.

Kambly biscuit factoryFeatured in Trafalgar’s 2015 Europe & Britain brochure are six Secrets of Italy, Ireland, France, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey Hidden Journeys. Guests will be treated to many Insider Experiences including being welcomed onto the grounds of an Italian family-run winery for a tour of the property and sumptuous meal with accompany local wines. They’ll also meet many Local Specialists and discover places like the Black Madonna in the French cliff-face town of Rocamadour, and uncover Cultural Insights such as learning about the production of Greek wine and visiting Switzerland’s famed Kambly biscuit factory. When in Turkey, guests will explore the country’s scenic coastline aboard a traditional gullet cruise yacht, and later stay in an Authentic Accommodation Cappadocia Dilek Kaya cave hotel.

Turkey gulet cruise yachtTrafalgar has also added Hidden Journeys to its 2015 USA & Canada, South America and Asia brochures which include unique Insider Moments like tasting berry wines at Canada’s only Kosher winery, and dressing in a traditional ‘yukata’ for dinner at a Japanese monastery inn in Mt Koya before bathing in onsen water and sleeping on a tatami mats.

To celebrate the launch of the new product line, Trafalgar is offering an Early Payment Discount on 2015 Hidden Journeys guided vacations when booked and paid by Feb 12th, 2015!

Trafalgar is the world’s leading guided vacation company offering exceptional quality and value itineraries to a range of exciting destinations. With some 68 years of experience and unrivaled local expertise, Trafalgar provides an authentic insider’s view to create truly unique travel experiences in Europe, Britain and Eastern Mediterranean, South Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, China, Mexico, Central and South America, USA and Canada.

An evening in Paris- with your love!

Paris Week By TrafalgarEnchanting, inspiring, dazzling – Valentines’ Day in Paris is all these things and more! From the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower to the glittering Champs Élysées the city exudes romance and sparkling glory. This Valentine’s Day Trafalgar, the world’s leading guided holiday company is offering you a chance to whisk your lady love for seven unforgettable nights to the city of lights – Paris.

Your fantastic journey starts with a guided sightseeing tour featuring unmatched views of the Champs Élysées, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower. Get abroad a romantic cruise on the Seine River as you serenade your lady or visit the famous Fragonard Perfumery and Museum.

Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris

For a royal experience visit the Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles, renowned for its stunning interior and spectacular ornamental gardens. The leisurely Paris Week Tour with Trafalgar gives you the opportunity to explore Paris in your own time and at your own pace. You will never tire of the city’s attractions and there is always something new to discover. Ideal for culture lovers, Paris offers an array of famous museums and galleries including the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre and the Pompidou centre. Shop in chic boutiques and elegant department stores or simply relax at an outdoor café and watch the world go by. When the sun goes down, the city is still bursting with life. Wander through the Latin Quarter and dine in Bohemian Montmartre. Don’t miss a spectacular cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge or Nouvelle Eve. You can also make the most of your stay with a selection of optional excursions, including the home and gardens of the Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, at Giverny.

So this Valentine’s Day get ready for an unforgettable weeklong romantic escape to Paris!

Where Santa comes from: Enjoy Christmas in Upper Rhine Valley

Christmas in Alsace
Christmas in Alsace

Wintertime in the Upper Rhine Valley is the season for traditional Christmas markets. The beginning of Advent marks the opening of colorful and richly decorated stands that charmingly nestle in the town lanes. Visitors are tempted by hot mulled wine, gingerbread, and regional treats but also by the possibility of buying Christmas presents from the many artisans, potters, and goldsmiths. Music, singing, and nativity scenes spread the Christmas spirit. At special medieval markets, jugglers invite their audience to marvel and suckling pigs on original spit-roast grills promise hearty enjoyment.

Even Santa Claus comes from the Upper Rhine Valley: Caricaturist Thomas Nast made the figure famous. The man from Landau, who later immigrated to the USA, drew the classic Father Christmas in red-and-white clothing for the first time. His drawings were later the model for an advertising campaign that made Santa Claus in his red clothes famous around the world.

With snow-covered fir trees, frozen lakes and rivers, and powdery snow on the Alpine peaks, the Upper Rhine Valley also transforms itself into a gorgeous winter landscape during the cold season. On endless ski-runs and cross-country ski tracks, winter athletes find the ideal conditions for skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowboarding. With elevations of up to about 1,500 meters, the mountains of the tri-border area of Germany, France, and Switzerland ensure white slopes.

If you prefer a slower pace, you can enjoy a romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the wintery panorama or book a hiking tour in the snow. Whether beginners or experts, the right offers are available for every age group and all skill levels.

Discover Christmas, winter romance, and the typical regional recipes in the Upper Rhine Valley.

Winter in Freiburg
Winter in Freiburg

Magical Christmas time and winter romance in the Upper Rhine Valley

  • Gormandize and shop at charming Advent markets
  • A dream of skiing in an idyllic winter landscape
  • Romantic enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and dog sledding

Winter Tips

  • magical Advent season is guaranteed by the Dornröschen (Sleeping Beauty) Christmas market in Dörrbach. Rustic wooden huts offer colorful handicrafts and culinary delicacies in a medieval setting.
  • The ice age under the open sky starts at the end of November in Karlsruhe: The Stadtwerke Eiszeit, one of the largest artificial ice rinks in Southern Germany, offers the perfect conditions for ice-skating and curling on about 1,000 square meters.

    Skiing in Jura
    Skiing in Jura
  • The history of skiing as a sport is presented by the Ski Museum in Hinterzarten. In a 300 year-old farmhouse, the rare and lovingly collected exhibits document not only the development of the sport but also the career of Olympic champions such as Georg Thoma.
  • Reflective moments are shared by the Advent Impulses at the St. Martin Church in Freiburg. The services start every day at 5:30 p.m. during the pre-Christmas period.
  • The tallest Christmas tree of Europe is presented by the Aargau. The giant Christmas tree in Oberrohrdorf is sponsored solely by a private initiative and has a height of 44 meters.
  • Giant woodpiles burn at the Christmas torching in Altensteig. The historical custom celebrates the birth of Christ on Christmas Eve.
  • As an extra for the Advent season, the Upper Rhine Valley offers individual Christmas packages that include accommodations and specials such as wine-tasting or a boat trip.