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City of Lights...Camera, Action: Q&A with the Director of "Paris"

A Moulin Rouge dancer starts to see the city around him in a new light while awaiting a heart transplant that might take his life. It’s a rather glum premise, but hey, it’s Paris—that is, the hit French film from L’Auberge Espagnol director Cédric Klapisch, now playing in New York and L.A. with a national rollout starting this Friday—and those sweeping streetscape shots are as melancholy as they are alluring. I asked Klapisch, a born-and-raised Parisian, for his tips on experiencing the City of Lights.

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The World Through Beer Goggles: Oktoberfests Everywhere!

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People just can’t get enough of Oktoberfest—from shouting out “Zigga-zagga zigga-zagga hoy hoy hoy!” and singing, “Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, gemutlichkeit!” endlessly (and endlessly, and…) to doing the Chicken Dance while drinking beer with Homer Simpson. Or is it just me?

The original Oktoberfest, in Munich (above), kicks off this Saturday, September 19, and runs through October 4. But if you can’t be in Germany this year because you’re traveling, chances are pretty good there’s an Oktoberfest celebration wherever you’ll be. Here, some of the more interesting fall beer-fests in some unlikely locations:

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From the World of Perfume: Scents of Taste

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In the spirit of our first-ever Food Issue (now on newsstands), I’ve been sniffing out fragrances with a dash of far-flung flavor. Here, four new favorites that are inspired by palate as much as place:

Creed Father-and–son team Oliver and Erwin Creed developed Acqua Fiorentina (from $130) around a top note of greengage plum, which they picked from a Florentine orchard.

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Sail New York Harbor on a Yacht

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Some of the best views of New York City are from the water. The Staten Island Ferry is the time-honored cheap method of getting out on the waves, and it’s worth the ride at least once—but you’re on a big, loud boat that, um, ends up at Staten Island. A more sublime experience is had onboard a sailboat, using nothing but the harbor wind for power. If you don’t happen to have your own schooner, that’s where the Shearwater comes in.

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Ode to Breakfast

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Some people can’t wait for dessert. Me? I count the minutes till breakfast—especially when I’m on the road. When I open my eyes in a foreign country, I can’t wait to hit the streets and check out what the locals are eating for their first meal of the day. Pho in Hanoi (above), congee in Hong Kong, dosa in Mumbai, poke (POH-kay) in Maui: I’m a quick study.

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Just Back From: Mount Desert Island, Maine

You’d have to be dead inside not to love Maine, with its breathtaking landscapes, fresh sea air, and honest food. While I was there last week, I ate my weight in lobster and fried clams and tried to get in as much hiking as possible to balance that out. Here are a few pointers for best spots to hit.

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On the drive in, stop at Lunt’s Lobster Pound (1137 Bar Harbor Rd., Trenton; 207/667-2620; lunch for two $40) for lobsters and a delicious, not-too-thick chowder.

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A Parisian Boîte in Montreal—Mais Oui!

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Is Montreal really the “Paris of the North?” Sitting in a tiny new bistro called Barroco on the western edge of the city’s old town, the marketing slogan rang true. As my husband, sister, and I sat back and enjoyed glass after glass of burgundy, hip tattooed waiters—all francophones—hustled to and from the kitchen placing comfort dishes of cotes-de-boeuf and gratin dauphinois on our candelabra-laden table. Raw stone walls, a low wood-beamed ceiling, and Serge Gainsbourg on the sound system only added to my disbelief that I was just an hour and half flight from New York City.

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See It Now: Alaska's Wild Salmon Run

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You can’t quite prepare yourself for the amazing sight of thousands of salmon heading upstream to spawn. That’s because they do not travel, la di da, to their spawning spot. They fight for it.

I observed this natural show this week in Ketchikan, Alaska, a historic town of about 8,000 people, and a popular cruise port on the Inside Passage. (I arrived in town on a Royal Caribbean ship.)

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Affordable Istanbul Find: Hotel Ada

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In 2006, retired chemistry professor Dr. Dogan Sumengen and his wife opened up Hotel Ada in the heart of Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s old city. My fiancé Josh and I stayed there on our most recent trip. Even in June, the peak of the high season, room rates were very affordable (starting at $83 a night), and the hotel couldn’t have had a better location—a five minute walk to the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia, and a ten minute walk to Topkapi Palace.

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Crayfish—and Giant Sucking Sound—Mark the End of Summer in Finland

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While most don’t want to think about the end of summer, the Finns are celebrating with crayfish and schnapps. From now through October, hotels, tour groups, and restaurants are celebrating huge hauls of crayfish in this singular Finnish tradition. (Finland's crayfish celebrations began in the early 1900's, when monied Swedish and Russian jetsetters took to feasting on the succulant shelfish while visitng Finnish seaside resorts.)

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