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Paris Dispatch: Eiffel Tower News, Cool Apps, Exhibits, More...

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You can now buy tickets for the Eiffel Tower online at www.tour-eiffel.fr (English section); it’s also possible to reserve online at both the 58 and the Jules Verne. Van Cleef & Arpels took home the Best iPhone Application award at the Stratégies / Firstluxe.com 2009 Awards. “A Day in Paris”, was inspired by the brand’s site: unejourneeaparis.com. The app traces seven romantic, interactive circuits in Paris with poetic stops along the way.

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Pierre Cardin Buys a Village in Provence

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Fashion designer Pierre Cardin’s 60-year career is the subject of a book due this year (published by Assouline); the 89 year old designer has several anniversary-related events in store between now and September.

Several years ago, the designer bought the ruins of the legendary chateau Lacoste, in Provence, which was once the property of the Marquis de Sade. This reopened two years ago. Less known is the fact that the designer hosts theater and music festivals there: This year, Jeanne Moreau will open the festivities and star soprano Nathalie Dessaix is slated to perform. Tickets will be available on pierrecardin.com.

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Zagat Vancouver: Right on Time

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If you happen to be one of the lucky 2.3 million predicted spectators for this year’s Winter Olympics (starting tonight!), the latest pocket-sized Zagat guide ($6.95) has arrived just in time for your trip.

Zagat Vancouver 2010, released on December 16, covers nearly 300 restaurants surveyed by over 2,700 consumers.

It seems the Olympics have helped keep Vancouver on top of its culinary game,” says Zagat editor Tim Pawsey. To start, two internationally renowned French chefs, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud, have brought their talents to the city: Jean-Georges with a second branch of Market, his wildly popular Parisian restaurant, and Boulud with a new db Bistro Moderne (the first is in New York).

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Hot Chocolate Festival in the Big Apple

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Hankering for something hot and sweet this bitter-cold February? If you're in New York, you're in luck. Monday marked the beginning of the 28-day long Hot Chocolate Festival at The City Bakery, which is renowned for its viscous cups of cocoa topped with giant, creamy homemade marshmallows.

This year's new flavor is Moulin Chocolate Rouge—a blend of pomegranate, espresso, dark chocolate and lemon. Read more about how City Bakery owner, Maury Rubin, comes up with these inventive cocoa flavors in Time Out NY here. Check out the other 27 delicious flavors. (And yes, those are strands of marshmallows you see below.)

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Your Snow Resource: SkiResorts.com + Olympic Bloggers Descend

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I sure could have used SkiResorts.com when I was trying to plan a birthday ski trip with 15 of my closest friends last month. I’m not a die-hard skier, the glut of information on the web—resorts, hotels, packages, etc.—left me completely overwhelmed, and I wound up scrapping the ski trip plan for a birthday celebration of a more indoor variety: karaoke.

So while this discovery came a little too late to help me out, hopefully SkiResorts.com can come in handy for many of you this season. The site, which bills itself as a “mecca” for everything snow-related, both on and off the slopes, helps you build packages at prime skiing attractions across the continent, tailored to your needs. Trying to find a good deal on a flight and condo for a long weekend in Jackson Hole? Done. Hungry in Stowe? Dig in. Looking for a spa to soothe sore muscles after a day on the slopes in Tahoe? Look no further.

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Best Travel Gadgets from CES 2010

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Trekking through this year's Consumer Electronics Show in the vast Las Vegas Convention Center, every three steps seemed to bring another new e-book reader; tales of 3D's impending invasion; or glimpses into the not-so-distant future of home automation. But we decided to venture away from those cliché categories and take the exhibition aisles less traveled. Good thing we did. Because T+L discovered 10 truly game-changing gadgets to help you better enjoy your journeys.

SLIDESHOW: Best Travel Gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show 2010

This first handful of products represents some of the very latest, coolest and smartest innovations and trends. This second handful of products represents different twists on how we do video on-the-go...See the slideshow and prepare to be wowed!

Guestblogger Scott Tharler is a gadget, gambling and travel expert currently based in Biddeford, Maine.

Must See: China's Harbin International Ice Festival

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival kicked off earlier this week, and is now in full swing. Located below the icy desolation of Siberia, in China's Heilongjiang province, this month-long festival features massive snow sculptures and ice structures illuminated by lights frozen inside blocks of ice. Check out images of some of these wintry masterpieces from past festivals below.

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Lyndsey Matthews is the online editorial intern for Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of Trent Strohm

Football vs. Soccer—Which is the World’s Favorite?

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With the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa just around the corner, U.S. media and fans will have a flare-up in interest in world sports. Our minds open to the fact that sports aren’t just strenuous things done around leather balls and across finish lines, but also with paddles, on blades, in water, and on trampolines. Our brains reset from caring about athletes with names like LeBron and Brett, and we start to root for people named Oksana and Usain.

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Holidays on Ice: St. Regis Atlanta Opens Skating Rink

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Growing up in Marietta, Georgia, I had only one option for ice-skating: a spiritless indoor rink, where everyone in the entire state seems to come at the same time. It was practically an ice box packed with jostling skaters, some visibly sick from too much ice cream cake (the only snack offered other than pizza), and the music director assumed we would truly enjoy top 40 jams like MC Hammer's Pray in constant rotation.

Fortunately families now have alternate options.

Recently the St. Regis Atlanta (opened April 2009) started a new tradition—transforming its outdoor Grand Terrace into a festive ice skating rink.

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Strange Traditions: St. Nicholas's Day in Prague

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As a kid, I always looked forward to celebrating St. Nicholas’s Day in early December, when one of the older men at my church would dress up as St. Nicholas in traditional bishop’s robes and pass out delicious gingerbread cookies the size of my head.

Czechs also celebrate St. Nicholas’s Day (Mikuláš in Czech), but they do it with a sinister twist.

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