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News Update: Royal Caribbean, Up for Auction in Italy, and John Muir Way

Our latest video travel round-up includes Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas; an Italian island goes up for auction; and honoring naturalist John Muir with his own walking trail, in Scotland.

Campaign for William Shakespeare Day Takes Flight on easyJet

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There’s much ado about Shakespeare at Gatwick Airport, and the United Kingdom’s largest airline, easyJet, is leading the fanfare.  With record-breaking “onbard” entertainment and a special edition Shakespeare aircraft, the 450thbirthday of the greatest English writer in history did not go unnoticed.

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San Francisco's Painted Ladies Have New Competition in Santa Clara

A Victorian residence painted to look like the house in the Pixar movie "Up" is angering neighbors, but perhaps it'll be a new attraction for the city of Santa Clara, California, best known for its university and the 1777 Mission Santa Clara de Asis.

Travel with Pets Twitter Chat on Tuesday, April 29

Social media has gone to the dogs! Some of the biggest celebrities out in the social-sphere are also favorite travel companions: your pets. We’re discussing how to travel with pets this Tuesday, April 29th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EDT. Whether you need tips on flying with animals, details on great pet travel resources, or if you're just looking for fun pictures and videos of jet-set pets, join our chat.

The Host:

Assistant Editor and Trip Doctor team member, Nikki Ekstein, @nikkiekstein

The Panelists:

BarkBox, @barkbox

The Points Guy, @thepointsguy

Wendy Diamond, Chief Pet Officer, Animalfair.com, @wendydiamond. Joining Wendy will be Guiness World Record-holding dog, Baby Hope Diamond, @luckydiamond

Dog Vacay, @DogVacay

Melanie Brandman, @travelcurator, with bulldog, @adelaidetheenglishbulldog

Soho Grand Hotel, @SohoGrandHotel

Kimpton Hotels, @Kimpton

Kelly E. Carter, Founder of TheJetSetPets.com and author of The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel, @thekellyecarter with her petsetter @Lucy2Lucia 

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2pm ET and be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure.

2. Head over to http://twitter.com. Enter the hashtag #TL_Chat into the search bar and select the "All" search option to follow the chat in real time.

3. Remember to always add the hashtag #TL_Chat to your tweets.

4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own responses. Or ask questions of your own! 

All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial. See full social media terms and conditions.

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Le Fooding Releases an English App

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Given the rate of their output, if Le Fooding, the indispensable French restaurant guide, has been taking long French-style vacations, well, they’re obviously burning the midnight oil during the rest of the year. Since launching in 2000 as an insert, the annual publication has rolled out traveling food festivals and star chef pop-ups, which have steadily picked up steam, especially in the past three years. 

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London's Peruvian Food Craze

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Scallops, Chia Seeds, Tumbo Passion.

The list of Peruvian restaurants in London seems to grow longer each month as Chotto Matte, Ceviche, Andina, Coya, and Lima (the first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star) are playing with ancient culinary traditions and introducing them to eager foodies. While each spot decidedly offers their own style, it's the blend of Japanese and Peruvian techniques and flavors, called Nikkei cuisine, that offers some of the most innovative, exciting dishes I’ve tasted.

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Three American Express Cards Do Away With Foreign Transaction Fees

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Starting May 1, three American Express cards are doing away with foreign transaction fees, joining the ranks of cards like the Orbitz Rewards Visa, which we introduced last week. The current rate of 2.7 percent will no longer apply to the Consumer and Business Delta SkyMiles Platinum, Gold, and Reserve cards. According to Melanie Backs, Director of Public Affairs at American Express, “We know that these Card Members travel internationally, and we are always looking for ways to add more value to our cards.”

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Moynat Paris Comes To NYC

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Francophiles and luxury aficionados take note. The Parisian maker of the finely crafted handbags, Moynat, has a pop up shop at the Dover Street Market in NYC. Founder, Pauline Moynat, is said to be the only woman trunk-maker in history and began in the Paris theater district as a supplier to the Comedie Franciase in 1849. She created a handbag for Rejane, an actress of the Belle Époque, which has been reinvented by the current artistic director, Ramesh Nair in colors like robin’s egg blue and canary yellow.

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Lyft Leaps to 24 New Cities

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The rideshare service Lyft—which debuted last year exclusively in San Francisco—recently launched in 24 new markets. Now, the app connects the world’s largest network of on-demand rides with people who need a lift.

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Donate Miles for a Cause: Make-A-Wish Reveals Kids' Top Destinations

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The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions, has released its list of the world's top destinations for Wish Kids. Tomorrow, April 29th, is World Wish Day, and the organization is calling on frequent fliers to donate unused miles before summer, Make-A-Wish's busiest travel season. 

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Affordable (and Stylish) European Hotel Chains

European Hotel Chains: Radisson Blu in Stockholm

Though they’re less known to American travelers, these design-conscious brands have surprisingly well-priced rooms. Plus: A few of our favorite up-and-comers.

Room Mate

Presence in Europe: 15 hotels (11 in Spain)

Rates From: $95 (Madrid, Istanbul); $136 (Amsterdam, Florence)

This Spanish company, cofounded by former Olympic horseback rider Enrique Sarasola, is known for its futuristic-looking hotels (origami-like furniture; neon lights). It recently opened outposts in Istanbul’s chic Beyoğlu district and on a man-made island in Amsterdam; Milan and Rotterdam debut in 2015.

Scandic

Presence in Europe: 154 hotels (76 in Sweden)

Rates from $114 (Oslo); $177 (Stockholm)

Based in northern Europe, Scandic blends contemporary design and cutting-edge technology; it recently became the world’s first hotel chain to offer brand-wide online checkout (through smartphone or computer). British star chef Jamie Oliver creates menus for each property and is bringing his own restaurant to Stockholm’s Scandic Anglais this fall.

Radisson Blu

Presence in Europe: 182 hotels (25 in Germany)

Rates From: $147 (Madrid); $319 (Paris)

Radisson Blu’s pedigree can be traced to its first European hotel: Danish architect Arne Jacobsen’s 1960 Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The company continues to attract homegrown talent, including François Champsaur, who worked on Paris’s Le Metropolitan. Look out for new locations in Belgrade and Oslo.

Novotel

Presence in Europe: 248 hotels (113 in France)

Rates From: $85 (Athens); $110 (Berlin); $124 (Barcelona)

Though established in 1967, France’s Novotel brand stays current with redesigned rooms and a virtual concierge service via on-site kiosks and a smartphone app. Among the latest arrivals are a location near London’s Wembley Stadium and a 360-room property in Moscow that’s a short drive from the Kremlin. Next up: Rotterdam.

Meliá

Presence in Europe: 65 hotels (45 in Spain)

Rates From: $205 (Vienna); $286 (Capri)

Expect well-located, city-center hotels that embrace local design from Majorca-based Meliá. Consider its two most recent openings: Meliá Vienna sits in the city’s tallest building (a glass tower by Dominique Perrault), while the 19 rooms at the Villa Capri are outfitted with Murano chandeliers and Poltrona Frau and Cappellini furniture.

Ones to Watch

This month, Scandic Hotels debuts the stripped-down brand HTL ($) in Stockholm; 20 more are planned by 2019. The Millennial-focused Citizen M ($)—with free movie streaming and self check-in—opens in Paris later this year. 25Hours Hotels ($) recently headed to Berlin for its seventh property. The arty, edgy company Nhow ($) has launched in the culture-rich cities of Berlin, Milan, and Rotterdam.

Hotels
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Restaurants
$ Less than $25
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Related Links:
Europe's Best Affordable Hotels
Guide to Hotel Loyalty Programs
Trend: Boutique Hotels from Big Hotel Chains

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

How to Save Money on Your European Vacation

cheap European vacation

A perennial favorite for American travelers, Europe can also be one of the most expensive places to travel. First and foremost, you need to find a good transatlantic ticket, which can be challenging, since taxes, fees, and carrier charges can easily tack an additional $600 onto the average fare. In “How to Find the Best Fares on European Flights,” I outline strategies for landing the best flights. Here are some other ways to find value in Europe.

Pick the right destination.

Your dollar goes further depending on where you are—and what currency you’re using. The best values usually lie outside the euro zone. According to Hotels.com’s annual Hotel Price Index, Warsaw had the most-affordable luxury hotels in Europe in 2013, with an average room rate of just $124 a night. Budapest, Istanbul, and Prague also all had top rooms for less than $250 a night. (By contrast, Paris’s luxury rooms went for $504, on average, and London’s for $430.) This squares with the Economist’s Big Mac Index, which offers a quick (and playful) look at the relative cost of countries by charting the price of the ubiquitous McDonald’s burger around the world. According to this metric, the Polish zloty is undervalued by a full 35 percent against the U.S. dollar; the Czech koruna (undervalued by 25 percent), Turkish lira (19 percent), and Hungarian forint (17 percent) also offer bargains for Americans.

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Google Adds Time Machine to Maps

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Here's how I'll be spending much of this upcoming weekend: enjoying some quality armchair (time) travel courtesy of Google Maps' new Time Machine feature. Launched this week, it captures the evolution of places as they have been documented by Google's street view team—now celebrating their seventh year in action.

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Strongest Sandstorm in Decades Hits Northern China

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Travelers beware! On Wednesday, a massive sandstorm swept through parts of northwest China’s Gansu province, turning the air a yellow-orange hue and reducing visibility to 60 feet in places. Cars, buildings and residents were coated with the gritty dust.

According to the province’s meteorological center, this was the strongest sandstorm since 1996. (The photograph above depicts a heavy sandstorm that swept through China's Tiananmen Square in 2002.)

Watch footage from the massive storm here

Rebecca Hiscott is Travel + Leisure's digital intern. Follow her on Twitter at @rebeccahiscott.

Photo by Alamy

Modern Germans Reclaim Heimat

Heimat

Berlin resident Gisela Williams explores the proud new zeitgeist taking hold in her adopted homeland.

Like so many German words, Heimat is impossible to translate. Some describe it as a “homeland” or sense of belonging—your roots, so to speak. The French might liken it to terroir. But after the Nazis hijacked it, Heimat became a loaded term—all but erased from the German lexicon. Until a few years ago, I’d barely heard it uttered. Today, however, the concept is making a comeback, thanks to a cadre of artists, chefs, and thinkers who are trying to rescue Heimat from its nationalistic undertones and bring it up-to-date.

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Q&A: Archaeologist and "The Parthenon Enigma" Author Joan Breton Connelly

Joan Breton Connelly

The New York City–based scholar, whose new book, The Parthenon Enigma (Knopf), is rewriting ancient history, spills the dirt on a few of her favorite spots.

Q: Are there any great sites in Europe that are lesser-known?
A: At his villa in Sperlonga (39-0771/548-028), 75 miles south of Rome, Emperor Tiberius created a fantasy world based on Homer’s Odyssey, filling a seaside cave with marble sculptures depicting the exploits of the Greek hero. The Neolithic outer ring of stones at Avebury, in Wiltshire, England, is the largest megalithic circle in the world—bigger than Stonehenge.

Q: Tell us about your dig on Yeronisos Island, off the coast of Cyprus.
A: Our excavations have shed light on the period of Cleopatra’s Cyprus rule (47–30 B.C.). We’ve found amulets, potsherds inscribed with Ptolemaic Egyptian script, a stone lion’s head, and more.

Q: Can anyone dig with you?
A:
I’m proud of our Exec-U-Dig program, which allows one or two donors to come out for a week of exploration each season. Bill Murray joined us in 2006.

Q: Where does a lover of ancient history go on vacation?
A:
I rarely go anywhere that is largely contemporary. I always travel with a pair of vintage Newmarket riding boots—I’ve galloped on an Arabian horse past the Pyramids in Egypt; fox-hunted in Northumberland, England; and cantered across the French countryside. There’s no better way to travel.

Illustration by Michael Hoeweler

Mies van der Rohe's Villa Tugendhat in Brno

Brno: Villa Tugendhat

Prague is beloved for its Gothic spires, but just two hours away, in the Czech Republic’s second city of Brno, an architectural landmark of no less significance awaits. Villa Tugendhat—a private residence designed in 1928 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—is considered one of the first Modernist houses in Europe and a precursor to the architect’s later projects, such as the Farnsworth House in Illinois and New York City’s Seagram Building. A major reconstruction was unveiled in 2012, the better to showcase the original features that turned the Tugendhat family home into an international shrine for Mies cultists. Mies’s open plan eliminated most interior load-bearing walls, resulting in a sense of free-flowing space. He added little in the way of traditional decoration; instead, the building materials (walls of onyx and macassar ebony; a grid of stainless-steel-clad columns) act as ornaments. Retractable glass windows allow for panoramic views, and the furniture—including the cantilevered Brno and Tugendhat chairs still in production today—was all custom-designed. If you can, time your visit for sundown, when the fading light sets the entire space aglow, and the villa itself illuminates the era when less became more.

Related Links:
Europe's Most Beautiful Villages
Dream European Vacations
Discovering Brno's Architecture

Photo by David Zidlicky, courtesy of Villa Tugendhat

Painting from Donna Tartt's "Goldfinch" Returns to the Hague

Goldfinch painting

Fresh from touring exhibitions in Japan, the United States, and Italy—and a starring role in Donna Tartt’s best-selling novel—Carel Fabritius’s Goldfinch returns to the Hague on June 27. That’s when the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis reopens after a major renovation and expansion, doubling the exquisite museum’s floor space. Keeping the iconic bird company: Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft as well as a peerless trove of other Dutch Golden Age paintings.

Related Links:
Best Museums for Families
World’s Most Beautiful Museums
Europe’'s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions

Photo by Michael Bodycomb/Courtesy of the Frick Collection

Glyndebourne Festival Celebrates its 80th Anniversary

Glyndebourne Festival

Back in the 1930’s, John Christie—a wealthy English music lover—married a Canadian soprano, built a small theater in the gardens of his 16th-century country house in the Sussex Downs, and founded the Glyndebourne Festival, an annual summer season of opera. Today, Christie’s grandson Gus (himself married to a soprano, the scintillating American diva Danielle de Niese) heads the prestigious festival, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. From May through August, Glyndebourne presents six operas, meticulously produced, and staged by a host of directors, from traditionalists (Franco Zeffirelli) to gleeful iconoclasts (Peter Sellars). Above all, the festival is famous for engaging great singers early in their careers, among them Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, and Renée Fleming. Yet not all the magic occurs onstage. Performances, which begin in the afternoon, include a leisurely dinner intermission—long enough for a picnic on the lawn. This season’s new productions include Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, led by Robin Ticciati, the company’s dashing new music director.

Related Links:
The Best of Cornwall, England
Road Trip Through England's Countryside
The New Generation of European Inns

Photo by Sam Stephemson/Courtesy of Glyndebourne Festival

Benjamin Millepied Takes Up New Role as Director of Paris Opera Ballet

Benjamin Millepied

In the fall, Benjamin Millepied, known to many as the choreographer of Black Swan (and husband of Natalie Portman), will take up his new post: director of the Paris Opera Ballet. As a preview, on May 10 the company gave the world premiere of Millepied’s latest work, Daphnis et Chloé, on a double bill with Le Palais de Cristal, the masterpiece by George Balanchine (elsewhere called Symphony in C). The French-born Millepied, a former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, comes to Paris via California—where he leads the L.A. Dance Project—and is sure to bring a jolt of energy to an institution that traces its beginnings to the court of Louis XIV.

Related Links:
New York City Arts Guide
Q&A: Ballet Dancers Share Favorite New York Experiences
Global Street Style

Photo by Sandrine Roudeix/Figarophoto

Insider's Guide to Provence From the Owner of Fig & Olive

Provence: Musée d’Art Classique

Every year, Laurent Halasz—founder and owner of the Fig & Olive restaurants in New York and California—returns to his childhood home of Mougins, on France’s Côte d’Azur, for scenic hikes and inspiration from his mother’s kitchen. Here, he takes us on a tour of the medieval hilltop village.

Eat: La Place de Mougins ($$$$), in a Provençal house, is such a pleasure. Last time I had beef consommé with foie gras and chocolate. For cocktails, don’t miss the classic Piscine, champagne on ice with strawberries, at L’Amandier ($$$). And I grew up on olive oil pressed locally at Moulin Baussy, in nearby Spéracèdes.”

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The Moment: San Cassiano, Italy

San Cassiano: Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina

6:04 p.m.: It’s early evening, and as you walk back through sage- and wildflower-dotted meadows to Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa, you can’t decide which is more impressive: the light hitting the limestone crags of the Dolomites or the fact that you were actually scrambling over boulders up there this morning. Yes, you earned that hearty Tyrolean lunch you enjoyed a few hours ago—fire-grilled steak, local cheeses, and kaiserschmarrn (caramelized pancakes)—in hotel owner Hugo Pizzinini’s 18th-century cabin, which has been part of his family’s private reserve for generations. You can’t quite believe you booked a mountain bike tomorrow to visit the 15th-century church of St. Catharina in Corvara and its frescoes. And—despite the fact that dinner tonight is at the hotel’s Michelin two-starred restaurant, St. Hubertus—you definitely can’t believe you’re already hungry. $$$

Related Links:
T+L’s Guide to Beautiful Views
Best U.S. National Park Views
Best New Mountain Resorts

Photo courtesy of Rosa Alpina

Six Barcelona Restaurants to Try Now

Barcelona Restaurants: Pakta

Our abridged, meal-by-meal guide to where and what to eat now.

Breakfast: Fried egg with Potato at L’Eggs
Start the day with chef Paco Pérez’s gently fried hen’s egg at his new ou-centric spot in L’Eixample. It’s flecked with black garlic, draped in crisp jamón, and served on a pile of potato batons. $15.

Lunch: Meatball Escudella at El 300 del Born
At this historic El Born market turned cultural center, Jordi Vilà puts his own spin on Catalan classics. Here, he uses truffles to elevate deep bowls of traditional pork-meatball soup. $12.

Snack: “Rocadillo” at Roca Bar
The Roca brothers—the trio behind the acclaimed (and impossible-to-book) El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona—serve drop-in bites at this accessible offshoot in the Hotel Omm. We love the warm brioches stuffed with lightly smoked eel. $14.

Video: Barcelona Port Guide

Dinner: Sea Bass Ceviche at Pakta (pictured)
Albert Adrià’s happening spot specializes in Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei cuisine. A highlight of the 24-course tasting menu: this tangy white fish served raw with kumquats and leche de tigre (a citrus-based marinade). $124 for 24-course menu.

Dessert: “La Cirera” at La Pastisseria
At his L’Eixample boutique, pastry chef Josep Rodríguez Guerola displays sweet treats like jewels, such as the glazed cherry mousse on a crumbly base of almond and milk-chocolate cookies. $6.

To Go: Jamón in a Cone at Enrique Tomás
Spain’s leading purveyor of jamón ibérico sells ruby slivers of fatty, acorn-fed ham in grab-and-go form. At the Carrer de Pelai flagship in the Barri Gòtic, pick up a bamboo funnel filled with ham shavings for the plane ride home. $6.

Related Links:
Barcelona Travel Guide
T+L’s Definitive Guide to Barcelona
Locals’ Guide to Barcelona

Photo by Miquel Gonzalez

How to Ride a Vespa Like an Italian

how to ride a Vespa

So you think you can just scooter around Rome like a carefree Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck? Think again. Mastering the iconic bike—not to mention the traffic—requires serious know-how. Claudio Sarra of Bici & Baci, which provides Vespas to the St. Regis hotel ($$$$), gives us tips on safe navigation.

1. Driving in Rome can be dangerous. Put on a helmet, fasten the chin strap, and slide the visor down to protect against oncoming insetti.

2. Lift the Vespa off the kickstand before starting the engine and giving it gas, or risk losing control and launching it unpiloted into the street (a common mistake).

3. Avoid aree pedonali (pedestrianized zones) and bus lanes, which are marked with yellow paint. Everywhere else is fair game. Well, not sidewalks.

4. Romans hardly follow routine traffic laws, let alone use hand signals; be hyper-attentive for other scooters veering in and out of gridlock, and bypass the busiest intersections.

5. With such narrow frames, parking is a breeze—and free (even in metered spots). Be sure to take your belongings with you, and don’t forget to lock up.

Travel Tip Video: Rome Made Easy

Related Links:
T+L's Definitive Guide to Rome
Europe's Best Places to Eat Like a Local
How to Learn a Language

Illustration by Michael Hoeweler

Four Reasons to Explore Istria, Croatia Now

Istria

The Istrian Peninsula has all the knockout beauty of the Dalmatian Coast—without the crowds. We found four reasons to explore.

Because its islands and beaches are still a (relative) secret. Leave Venice to the cruise ships. Just across the Adriatic, Istria is laid-back and idyllic—and rocky beaches abound. In Kamenjak Park, near Pula, cliff-jumping into the sea is a pastime. Farther north, you’ll find the popular sunbathing spot Monte Beach, reached via steep stone steps, and the wildly beautiful Golden Bay. Board the crewed wooden cruiser Delfin, based in Rovinj, for daylong trips to outlying fjords and archipelagoes, with stops at St. Andrew (where you can visit a sixth-century monastery), lush St. Katarina Island, and the St. John lighthouse.

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Jet-Setter Must-Have: Burberry Trench Coat

Burberry trench coat

Lightweight and rainproof, Burberry’s tartan-lined trench has risen from utilitarian staple to jet-setter’s must-have.

The Origins: In 1879, English outfitter Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, a water-resistant fabric that he used to create comfortable rain gear—a godsend for oft-soaked Brits. London’s first Burberry shop opened in Haymarket in 1891.

Call of Duty: During World War I, the company provided coats to British Army officers to wear in the trenches—hence the moniker.

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Next Great Neighborhod in Paris: Sentier District

Sentier Paris

Once a no-man’s-land overrun by wholesalers, the Sentier district, in the northern part of the Second Arrondissement, has become the city’s neighborhood du jour, pioneered by chef Grégory Marchand and his emerging Frenchie empire. Its new anchor: day-to-night hangout Edgar Hotel ($$$), whose casual lobby restaurant serves simple Scandi-tinged dishes such as smoked herring with beets and crème fraîche, and the world’s best frites. See below for a rue-by-rue primer.

All 13 rooms at Edgar Hotel, a former textile workshop, are by a different designer—from upholstery scion Pierre Frey Jr. (stripes; tonal linen) to Carole Caufman, style director of Petit Bateau (sorbet colors; clean lines). 31 Rue d’Alexandrie. $$

New grocery Terroirs d’Avenir has chef-worthy sources. Snap up the same strictly seasonal Kintoa pork, line-caught fish, organic cheese, and AOC charcuterie as all the best restaurants. 7 Rue du Nil; 33-1/45-08-48-80.

Expansive and colorful cocktail bar La Conserverie serves miso salmon bento boxes and neatly composed boissons, such as a refreshing fizz made with Plantation Original Dark Overproof rum, Becherovka (Czech herbal bitters), pear syrup, and lime. 37 bis Rue du Sentier.

Anglo-ish cafés are the trend of the moment, but Lockwood has something extra: by day, it’s a coffee shop serving biscuits and gravy; at night, the cryptlike downstairs bar opens, the Jimi Hendrix gets pumped, and the fried chicken and cocktails come out. (The chef is a Texan, and it shows.) 73 Rue d’Aboukir. $$$

Don’t let the Sentier’s endless parade of shiny sportswear put you off: 58M—a calm accessories boutique with Lanvin bags and Michel Vivien’s dignified-sexy heels—is just a few blocks south. 58 Rue Montmartre.

Doughnuts, cheesecake, pastrami on rye—Frenchie To Go serves American classics inspired by Grégory Marchand’s time cooking in New York. His Yankee-approved, deli-style secrets extend to a roster of house-made sauces (Russian dressing; harissa) and drinks (ginger beer; orange pressée). 9 Rue du Nil. $$

Video: The Upper Marais, Another Up-and-Coming Paris Neighborhood

Hotels
$ Less than $200
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Restaurants
$ Less than $25
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Related Links:
Top Vacation Spots
Europe's Best Places to Eat Like a Local
How to Rent an Apartment in Paris

Photo by Matthieu Salvaing

Europe Car Rental 101

Europe car rental

What to know before you hit the road in Europe.

Choose an agency. Large companies, such as Hertz and Enterprise or Europe-based Sixt, are best equipped to handle special requests (automatic transmission; GPS devices; children’s car seats). Local agencies often have lower prices but may not offer 24-hour service if something goes wrong.

Book in advance. When reserving online, check hours of operation for rental locations. Airports are usually open every day, but city-center sites may have limited hours, often closing for a few hours at midday and all day Sunday.

Read More

Guide to Train Travel in Europe

Europe rail

The fast track on Europe’s new train routes and what to know before you go.

The Fast Track

On Europe’s newest routes, speeds are higher and higher (and prices lower).

Paris to Barcelona: The final SNCF segment between Barcelona and the French border opened in December, cutting the 12-hour travel time between the French and Catalan capitals in half.

Marseilles to Paris: Ouigo, the Continent’s first budget high-speed service, costs a quarter of the average fare. The catch? Less-convenient stations, no catering, and online-only booking.

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How to Find the Best Fares on European Flights

Canary Islands

Booking a great fare to Europe has become increasingly difficult. Here’s how to bring down the cost of your next transatlantic flight.

First there is the question of timing. According to Kayak, the most-affordable airfares to Europe last year were booked eight to 10 weeks before departure—so you should start researching tickets at least three months out. You’ll find even better prices if your travel dates are flexible. As a general rule, European fares rise for travel beginning in the second week of May and don’t fall again until September. Expedia reports that the least expensive months to fly to Europe are February, March, and November. If you can, look for tickets that depart for Europe on either a Tuesday or Wednesday and return on a Tuesday; they tend to be lower, according to Kayak’s research. (See “Fare Finders,” below, for our favorite sites for finding European airfares.)

Read More

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