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New Report: World's Most Expensive Cities

CNNMoney |  If you think New York is expensive, try Luanda, Angola where you'd pay $28 for a CD and about $20 for a club sandwich and a soda, according to an annual survey on the cost of living around the globe by consulting firm Mercer.

Costs are so high in Luanda for Americans that Mercer deemed it the most expensive city in the world for the second year in a row.

The biggest trend to emerge in this year's survey—which compares the cost of housing, coffee, food, clothing and transportation for expatriates in 214 cities across five continents—was that American and European cities slipped in the rankings, while African and Asian cities climbed.

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New Exhibit Features Pics of a 1968 Jackie-O in Capri

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Diego Della Valle’s enamorment with all things JFK (he famously purchased the late president’s cruiser, Marlin, at auction at Christie’s in 2005) extends well beyond the White House. From July 2 to August 20, the Tod’s chief is sponsoring a new exhibition of iconic images taken by Italian paparazzi photographer Settimio Garritano of Jackie-O on holiday in Capri from 1968 to 1972.

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Global Picks From a Pedicure Specialist

Bastien Gonzalez

Globe-trotting podiatrist and pedicure specialist Bastien Gonzalez puts the “b” in barefoot luxury.

“At the Hôtel Costes, in Paris, I once worked on nine supermodels in one day,” says Bastien Gonzalez, the man who has elevated the pedicure to both a medical procedure (he’s a certified podiatrist in his native France) and an art form. “The manager told me: ‘You can retire now.’” An hour and a half in Gonzalez’s hands involves no water, no polish, and no pain. Instead, your nails will be smoothed with a tiny diamond drill and buffed with chamois leather until they are as glossy as a seashell. His signature treatment ends with reflexology to increase circulation, which is, according to Gonzalez, “the best cure for weary travelers.” And he would know. “I am on the move almost every four days,” says Gonzalez, who has a base at the Cadogan Hotel, in London. “Paris, New York, Dubai, the Maldives—I basically live in hotels!”

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15 New York Luxury Hotels Offer 3rd Night Free

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Sarah Palin was in NYC yesterday, as part of her not-a-campaign bus tour. I doubt that she’s a fan of a city with so few hunting opportunities and so many liberals (yes, there’s a joke waiting to be made right there), but I doubt even she can deny the thrill of being in a city so chockablock with culture and food and people and ideas. Last year’s almost 49 million visitors can’t be wrong.

While ex-Governor Palin’s accommodations have certainly been taken care of (no overnight bus parking, sorry!), you may find the search for a hotel room daunting. Fear not: NYC & Company’s Third Night promotion gets underway on June 27 and runs through September 5. Fifteen big-name hotels, the kind of places that almost never offer discounts, are participating in their Signature Collection promotion.

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Start Your Engines: Monaco and Argentina Celebrate the F1 Grand Prix

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What exactly do Monaco and Argentina have in common? I discovered the answer at an event last week at New York's Classic Car Club, an airy space on the fringe of SoHo: The two countries are teaming up to bring attention to the F1 Grand Prix (taking place in Monaco May 26-29, 2011) and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of El Maestro. The legendary Argentine car racer Juan Manuel Fangio (a.k.a. "El Maestro") took Monaco by storm back in the 1950's, winning five of the coveted Grand Prix.

As tango dancers sashayed around a green Tesla Roadster, an original Mini Cooper, and a 1960's Porsche, the night felt like something out of another era. El Maestro would have been proud.

Laura Begley is the deputy editor at Travel + Leisure.

Fly Business Class to Paris for $701

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OpenSkies, the all business-class airline that flies to Paris, is celebrating the first anniversary of its Washington, D.C. route with a sale.  Fly to Paris and back in a cushy business seat for just $701, each way, based on roundtrip purchase. Book before May 20 for travel between May 16 and July 9.

OpenSkies flights carry just 84 passengers at a time, in comfortable seating (with not just personal entertainment systems and lots of legroom, but electrical outlets as well), and gourmet in-flight dining complete with wine and Champagne.  This kind of civilized treatment makes it hard to return to economy.

Book before Friday midnight by visiting FlyOpenSkies.com, or call (866) 581-3596.

Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo: iStock

Ralph Lauren Exhibits Car Collection in Paris

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Growing up, Ralph Lauren recalls, his family did not really have the means to buy a car. But that was a world, a lifetime and a storied empire ago.

This week, the crème de la crème of the designer’s car collection—roughly a third of the total—bows in the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a final highlight in a year marked by the opening of the designer’s flagship and restaurant on the boulevard Saint Germain and his reception of the Legion d’Honneur from President Sarkozy.

The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection is a variation on the successful Boston car event five years ago. A showcase of 17 exceptional cars that marked the history of auto-making for their design and technical prowess, it opens with the mysterious and stunning 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, one of only a handful ever created. There follows the massive 1929 Bentley Blower painted with the Union Jack; a separate enclave to the right houses the most modern icon in the exhibit, an orange 1996 McLaren F1 LM  supercar.

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Royal Wedding Hotel Packages in London and U.S.

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While big, lavish nuptials hold limited charm for me (I eloped, and recommend it for its romance and intimacy), plenty of people are mad for all things wedding, and especially all things William and Kate. Even Dunkin Donuts, friend of the common man, is offering a heart-shaped tribute to the royal couple.

If you’re looking to celebrate the Royal Wedding with something more decadent than a doughnut, we’ve gathered some hotel package options.

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Sole Mates, Seat Mates: Virgin Atlantic Offers Made-to-Order Shoes

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Put down that SkyMall, Bertram. Male passengers traveling Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic flights can indulge in something a little fancier than bed-side pet ramps or peephole spy cameras: The airline is offering custom shoe fittings from haute Finnish shoemaker the Left Shoe Company. Devote 20 minutes pre- or post-flight to having your foot scanned by a 3D digital scanner in the Clubhouse-the Virgin Atlantic lounge-at Heathrow and choose a style. Four weeks later, a courier will deliver your bespoke kicks. The soles are inscribed with your name, and if you choose, your Virgin Atlantic flight number and destination. The available shoe styles start at €225 ($310 at today's exchange rate), and roundtrip Upper Class fare on Virgin Atlantic runs around $10,000.

Won't taking your shoes off at the security line feel slightly less humbling when they're custom-fitted and inscribed with your name?

Ann Shields is Online Senior Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo: Courtesy of the Left Shoe Company.

Royal Treatment: Versailles to Be Luxury Hotel

201101-b-versailles-2jpgNPR |  If you've ever dreamed of spending the night at the Palace of Versailles, you might get your chance. A building at France's cherished cultural landmark will soon be turned into a luxury hotel.

Hundreds of shivering tourists line up across an immense cobbled courtyard to visit Versailles.

Home to the French monarchy since Louis XIV, Versailles is a monument to royal grandeur. Soon, the palace may also become known for its five-star hotel. (Photo by Lyndsey Matthews)

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