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Escape the Crowds: 4 Great Sidetrips from London

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If you’ve taken the plunge in London for the Olympics and are thinking you might need a quick break from all the festivities (or are just looking for an easy getaway from England’s largest city), Black Tomato’s Tom Marchant has four fantastic 48-hour European getaways that will leave you rejuvenated and ready to re-join the party on your return.

Venice
The romance, the glamour… the paddling? The water-based city is full of majestic cathedrals, beautiful squares, culture, carnivals and top-notch cuisine. A private kayaking tour is a great way to really experience the canals—the arteries of the city. Flights from London are very frequent and no more than 2 hours, making it an ideal weekend break.

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China Invades the Northeast: 5 Not-to-Miss Exhibits

Then & Now: Photographs of Northern China

In 1908-9, art collector and explorer, Sterling Clark, and naturalist, Arthur deCarle Sowerby, spent 17 months caravanning across Northern China. With a team of scientists and specialists, the explorers were on a mission to collect artifacts and biological material from a territory that until then remained a blank spot for scientific inquiry on the world map. The rich findings of their odyssey have given rise to three exhibitions at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and one at the Explorers Club in New York City

Through Shên-Kan: Sterling Clark in China (until Sept. 16), documents the crossing through China–preserved animals discovered during the trek, photographs, equipment, and paperwork from the journey are on loan from the Smithsonian and gathered from the Clark’s own collection—much of which have never before been seen by the public.

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Hit the Runway at San Francisco’s de Young Museum

201207-b-jean-paul-gaultierjpgRemember Madonna’s infamous cone bra that turned Jean Paul Gaultier into household name? Relive that iconic fashion moment with “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk,” a new exhibition at the de Young Museum that runs through August 19.

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See Brazil in 3D

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Are you a fan of Brazil? Consider picking up a limited-edition 3D portfolio of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s iconic Modern structures, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Niteroi (pictured above).

The 200-edition portfolio of ten 3D slides can be viewed via stereoscope made for the 62nd edition of Visionaire, the multi-format art magazine, available for pre-order starting today on online art destination Paddle8. To accompany this special release, Paddle8 is also launching a web project today featuring audio interviews with Niemeyer, materials from his archives, as well as 2D versions of the 10 photographs available on their website for free. Oscar Niemeyer 3D portfolio together with the Visionaire 62 RIO issue for $450, or separately for $125.

Lyndsey Matthews is a Digital Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Vicente de Paulo

The Arts Invade Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence Festival exterior

Few places are as evocative as Provence in the summer and among its many festivals, two claim special distinction: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie.

The Aix-en-Provence Festival, which runs through the end of July, presents new opera productions of established repertoire, neglected works, and premieres—all within the span of a month.

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Bebel Gilberto at Brasil Summerfest in Central Park

Bossa nova diva Bebel Gilberto loves Caipirinha cocktails, sexy Narciso Rodriguez gowns, and remote Brazilian beaches. Born in Manhattan and raised in Rio, the singer-songwriter frequently bops between the two. This Saturday, July 21, she headlines a free concert 3-7 p.m.on Central Park's SummerStage to kick off Brasil Summerfest, a week-long festival celebrating the newest generation of Latin American musicians. Gilberto, who contributed a track to Red Hot + Rio, will perform favorites like Bob Marley’s “The Sun is Shining."

Gilberto tells T+L where she cools off during summer tour breaks:

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Berkshires Buzz: Tanglewood and Stonover Farm

Berkshires: Stonover Farm

For Tanglewood...
Our favorite summer music festival—held at the country home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra—celebrates its 75th anniversary this season. Highlights include performances by Yo-Yo Ma and Diana Krall, plus a Fourth of July extravaganza with unofficial Tanglewood bard James Taylor. Nothing beats hearing Sweet Baby James sing about the “dreamlike” Berkshires in the actual Berkshires. Through Sept. 2.

Stay at... Stonover Farm (pictured)
A 15-minute walk from Tanglewood’s front gate is what appears to be your archetypal New England farmhouse inn, complete with the requisite duck pond and willow trees. But the suite interiors are more Giorgio Armani than Norman Rockwell, with elegant fabrics and warm neutral tones. On cool evenings, owner Tom Werman—a former L.A. record producer—lights the flagstone fireplaces, cues up some Bill Evans, and pours wine for guests. $$$

Photo by Kevin Sprague

Philly Buzz: Barnes Foundation and The Dandelion Restaurant

The Dandelion food

When you’re in Philadelphia to... check out the opening of the gleaming 4 1/2-acre city campus of the Barnes Foundation, home to 181 Renoirs—the largest collection in the world.

Eat at... The Dandelion (124 S. 18th St.; 215/558-2500; dinner for two $60), a new gastropub from Stephen Starr; we recommend the classic fish-and-chips.

Photo by Jason Varney

Q+A: Harriet Welty Rochefort, Author of "Joie de Vivre"

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Svelteness, style, and sex appeal: why do the French so effortlessly possess these qualities, and why can’t America get on board? Harriet Welty Rochefort knows the tricks of the French trade. A native Iowan who moved to Paris after college and married a Frenchmen, Rochefort is the author of French Fried: The Culinary Capers of an American in Paris, French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French, and the soon to be released Joie de Vivre: Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French (St. Martin's Press, October 2012, $24.99).

She spoke with Travel + Leisure about not being an Ugly American, the best way to exercise in Paris, and why being a little “off” in considered sexy in Pah-ree.

Q: What advice do you give people traveling to Paris?

A: There’s three things. One, you should hang out in cafés as long as you can. Two, don't be loud, whether you’re on the street or in a restaurant. And three, get out of the Left Bank rut and try the 10th arrondissement (Canal St. Martin) or the 11th where all the savvy chefs have emigrated. 

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Twitter-Based Maps, Cake, a Gherkin, and More Travel News

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- Batter up? Los Angeles’ Cake Museum threatened by budget cuts.
L.A. Times 

- Dangerous looking French sundial casts pretty cool shadow four times a year.
NASA 

- Eye-popping, gorgeous, 20-gigapixel navigable view of London’s skyline.  The details are so crisp that you can zoom in to check out footwear choices on the opposite bank of the Thames. 
Life in Megapixels 

- Mapping your summer drive? NOAA published 56 years worth of weather data and this awesome guy created a map of tornado tracks.
IDV User Experience 

- The same genius, John Nelson, also mapped NYC-based Twitter feeds that contain the words “love” and “hate” to create what he calls Constellations of Love and Hate, pictured above. Not surprisingly, LaGuardia Airport is a nexus of negativity.
IDV User Experience  

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of John Nelson and IDV Solutions. 

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