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15 Quick Summer Getaways

Annie Schlechter 15 Quick Summer Getaways

Photo: Annie Schlechter

EUROPE

13. PARIS

Why The up-and-coming Goutte d'Or neighborhood technically may be part of Montmartre, but in spirit it is more about a lively multiethnic street scene than about the charmed life depicted in Amélie, which was filmed in the area. Think: smoky jazz clubs, buzzing African restaurants, and one of the hottest hotels in town.

How to Get There Many major U.S. cities have direct flights to Paris (about seven hours from the East Coast). If you are staying in the Goutte d'Or, get one that lands at Charles de Gaulle; from Terminal 2, you can take the RER suburban train to the Gare du Nord.

Where to Stay Kube Rooms & Bars (1–5 Passage Ruelle; 33-1/42-05-20-00; www.kubehotel.com; doubles from $400) has shag-covered sofas and faux-fur throws; an ice bar accommodates 20 people for 30 minutes at a time.

Where to Eat L'Olympic Café (20 Rue Léon; 33-1/42-52-29-93; dinner for two $50) is as popular for its salmon poached in mint tea as for its concerts downstairs. Senegalese specialties have earned La Nouvelle Histoire (30 Rue Laghouat; 33-1/42-52-91-32; dinner for two $50) a reputation as the best African restaurant in town. For lunch, locals head to Au Clair de Lune (1 Rue Ramey; 33-1/46-06-93-61; lunch for two $40), a sweet café decorated with vintage movie posters.

Insider Tip The music scene thrives at Le Blue Note (14 Rue Muller; 33-1/42-54-69-76), which showcases Brazilian bands every Friday and Saturday.

14. PARMA, ITALY

Why Famed for its gastronomy, with local specialties like its namesake Parmesan cheese and prosciutto, Parma and nearby Fidenza also appeal to bargain-hungry fashionistas. At Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping (Via San Michele Campagna, Località Chiusa Ferranda, Fidenza; 39-0524/33551; www.fidenzavillage.com), there are discount finds from the likes of Versace, Furla, and Camper.

How to Get There Milan's Malpensa airport and Bologna are both about 90 minutes away by car—though Bologna is slightly more convenient. Eurofly is the only airline that offers direct flights to the latter from New York's JFK—twice weekly until November.

Where to Stay Marquis Vittorio Dalla Rosa Prati welcomes guests to his 14th-century Palazzo Dalla Rosa Prati (7 Strada al Duomo, Parma; 39-0521/386-429; www.palazzodallarosaprati.it; doubles from $191), a period-furnished seven-room guesthouse that overlooks the city's 900-year-old cathedral.

Where to Eat Splurge on dinner at the rustic-chic Michelin-starred Stella d'Oro (8 Via Mazzini; 39-0524/597-122; dinner for two $108), in the ancient town of Soragna.

Insider Tip Soak in thermal baths amid 1920's frescoes, sculptures, and bas-reliefs at the Terme Berzieri spa (Largo Berzieri, Salsomaggiore Terme; 39-0524/582-611; $205 per person per day), an Art Deco masterpiece.

15. BARCELONA

Why Spain's reigning city of style peaks in the summer, when long siestas give way to dining at midnight, dancing until dawn, then sleeping until lunchtime. Once you land, there's no need to shift the body clock.

How to Get There Nonstop flights depart from New York (eight hours), Atlanta (nine hours), and Chicago (11 hours), to name a few.

Where to Stay Those in the know head to the hip El Born district, where centuries-old buildings house all-night bars and edgy shops. El Born's latest addition is the 147-room Grand Hotel Central (30 Via Layetana; 34/93-295-7900; www.grandhotelcentral.com; doubles from $250). Relax by the rooftop pool and take in the city views.

Where to Eat With a fresh take on Catalan dishes—black sesame–crusted langoustines served with corn—Ramón Freixa's Actual Restaurant & Café (3C Pare Gallifa; 34/93-295-7905; dinner for two $130) is creating a stir. El Xampanyet (22 Montcada; 34/93-319-7003; dinner for two $30) serves standout tapas such as patatas bravas.

Insider Tip On the outskirts of El Born, you'll find the newly renovated Santa Caterina market, where locals haggle over jamón serrano. The sparkling mosaic floor, Gaudíesque roof, and stands of skinned poultry make for a surreal shopping experience.

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