Mar 29, 2011


A master example of Rayonnant Style gothic chapel commissioned by King Louis IX in the 13th century.
Location: In the Palais de Justice complex on the Ile de la Cité in the center of Paris
Métro: line 4, station Cité. RER: Saint Michel-Notre Dame
Buses: lines 21, 27, 38, 85, 96 and Balabus
Hours: Open every day, 9.30 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. (closed Jan. 1, May 1, Dec. 25).
Admission: €5.50 ; Red.: €3.50 ; Group: €4.50
* One-hour guided visits for 30 available in English, Spanish, French; for group reservations, call 01-53-73-78-52 or email:
* With one month's notice, a 1.5 hour visit with commentary is also available for groups of 30 in English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.
* Best to visit on a sunny day to fully enjoy the light shining through the magnificent stained glass windows.


Mar 25, 2011


A modern hotel classically designed with an Art Nouveau inspiration located in the center of Barcelona.
Location: Passatage Sant Antoni Abad 10, Barcelona; Opposite of San Antoni Market
Map: Link
Rates: Start at 69 Euro ( $97.00 US )


Mar 21, 2011


Informative blog
1. The best time to travel to Seoul is in the months of late April, May, September, and early October when the weather is comfortably warm and not dry. The flights and hotels typically cost more during the Summer months.

2. No visa required for stay less than 30 days for the citizens of Canada, USA, Western Europe, Australia. But the passport is required for entry.

3. Search for a cheap flight. Check the special promotions with:

4. Affordable hotels:
Jung Gu District (Myeong-dong, Dongdaemun, Namdaemun Neighborhoods):
Metro: Myeongdong (line 4), Chungmuro (line 3), Chungjeongno (line 2 or 5), Euljiro 1(il) ga (line 2)

Centrally located in and around the downtown of Seoul, North of the Han River. Near by or walking distance to the shopping districts, restaurants.
Yongsan District (Itaewon, Hannam Neighborhoods):
Metro: Itaewon & Noksapyeong (line 6),  Namyeong & Yongsan (line 1), Samgakji (Line 4).

The "Foreigner District" which is centrally located just North of the Han River. Minutes away from great restaurants & shopping areas. Strategically, this is the best district to lodge if you are planning to visit throughout Seoul.  It is thoroughly covered by the mass transit and never too far from the northern districts like Jongno-gu and Jung-gu, south of the river districts like Gangnam and Apukgjeong, and popular neighborhoods on the west side, Hongdae and Sincheon.  
Jongno District ( Samcheongdong, Insadong Neighborhoods):
Metro: Anguk (line 3), Hyehwa (line 4)

Located just outside north of Jung-gu District.  
5. Korean Food:

Arrival at Incheon International Airport / Gimpo International Airport:
1. If needed, rent a cell phone at one of following phone company's booths & make sure the "English" language is an optional feature on the phone
* Texting is much cheaper than dialing.
  • SK Telecom
  • KT Telecom
  • LG Telecom
2. Ask at the "Tourist Information Desk" about transportations into Seoul:
  • Airport bus - Costs about $12.00. Thoroughly covers the city of Seoul. Stops at international or major hotels. If you are staying at a small hotel, write down the address and names of the district/neighborhood/nearest subway station to determine which bus stops near-by. It takes about an hour to get into Seoul.
  • Regular subway train - Costs about $3.00.  Many stops and several transfers may be required.
  • Speed subway train - Costs about $12.00.  10 mins faster than the regular train.  It travels directly to Seoul Subway Station (Line 1).  If your hotel is not near-by, I don't recommend taking this train. 
  • Car rental - An international driving license is required.  I do not recommend it although all the major traffic signs are written in Korean and English.  Driving is a hassle with a heavy traffic and parking options being limited. 
  • Grab a map of Seoul written in Korean and English. Save yourself a trip to a tourist office later. 
3. Exchange some cash.

Arrival at Seoul:
1. Getting around/Transportation:
* Purchase public transit card at any subway kiosk. Start out with 10,000 won ($10.00 USD). Give the money to the booth personnel and ask for a "car-dd". It can be used for the subway and buses. Recharge as needed. Ask for a subway map. Just say "map" in English.
* Seoul's mass transit is very affordable. Bus and subway cost about $1.00 one way.
  • Subway system: Very extensive and well covers the city and some of the outskirted areas. Signs are in English and Korean. It is very easy to  navigate.
  • Buses: Very extensive but a little more challenging. Ask your hotel concierge about which bus to get on and where to get off. There are several different bus systems: inner city, outer districts, neighborhoods, etc. 5 minutes or less wait for most of the buses within in the city.          
  • Taxis: Plentiful but most expensive. Tips: Drivers do not navigate the city from the location's address. Instead, they use the neighborhood name and near-by well known landmarks such as department stores, universities = day-huck-gyo, museums, subway stations = yuck, hotels = ho-tel, parks = gong-won (as in "magic wand" but no "d"), tourist attractions, shopping districts, etc.  Pick up a copy of the city map with these places written in Korean and English. If you get lost, just show the map to your driver.   It is not customary to tip the drivers. 
2. Tourist offices or kiosks:
4. Money:
* All major banks exchange cash and travelers' cheques, but they prefer Euro, US, Canadian, Australian, and British currencies. 
* Credit cards are widely accepted, but hidden fees may be charged for overseas' usages. Check with the CC company for details.
* Most bank cash machines do not accept foreign cards.  If you absolutely need quick cash, try to find one at a subway station.  Instructions are in Korean.  
    5. Eating:
    * It is not customary to tip workers at restaurants/bars.
    * Learn to love Korean food and drinks. Affordable and a better value than the foreign food.
    * The best way to learn about Korean food is head down to the basement of the department stores or the grocery store "marts". They often have a food court with a variety of Korean food booths to choose from. Peak around and see what looks good.
    * Neighborhoods with a plenty affordable Korean restaurants & street food:
    • Locals' street-food favorites: Read
    • Day-hawk-no (Daehakno) - Hyehwa Station Exit 2. Light blue line 4. Info
    • Myeong-dong Shopping District: ( Myeongdong Station Exits 5, 6, 7 & 8. Light blue line 4)
    • Hong-day: Hongik Station Exits 4 or 5 Green line 2 . Exit 5 - Walk 1 block down and turn. Info
    • In-sa-dong: A designated neighborhood promoting traditional Korean food & tea. Anguk Station Exit 6. Orange line 3. Explore the main street and the alleys as well.  
    • Gawng-nam: Gangnam Station Exits 6 & 7 Green line 2. Explore the alleys.  
    • Sin-cheon:  Sinchon Station Exits 2 & 3 Green line 2. Explore the alleys. A college town. Info 
    • Dong-day-moon: Dongdaemun Stadium Line 4; Exits 8, 4, 9, 10 - Street food. 
    * Seoul has a plenty of international cuisines to choose from as well.  It is becoming quite the foodie connoisseur city, but those restaurants tend to be on the pricey side. Key is to explore the back alley streets to find better restaurants within these Neighborhoods: 
    • E-tay-won ("won" pronounced as in "magic wand" but no "d"):  Itaewon Station & Hangangjin Exit 3 Brown line 6 
    • Ga-roe-su-gee-il:  Sinsa Station, Orange line 3 Exit 8. Walk about 3 blocks. Turn left before the tallest building. Next door to Apgujeong Neighborhood.  Info 
    • Sam-cheong-dong ( Gyeongbukgung Palace Station Exit 3, Orange line 3) Walk 10-15 mins along the walls of the palace to the starting point of Samcheongdong Street and turn left or ( Anguk Station Exit 2, Orange line 3) walk straight for approx 700 meters. North of Insadong. 
    * Foodies' websites based in Seoul:

    6. Night-life: Seoul has a great nocturnal nightlife culture.
    * Web:
    * Imported liquor, wine or other beverages are extremely overpriced. 
    * Subway trains stop running by midnight and buses by 1am. Taxis are the only option afterward until the public transit is up and running around 5:30am.
    * Things to do:
    1. Urban Art/Music/Design events -
    2. No-ray-bawng: Korean style karoki. You rent a private singing room. It's very popular in Korea and fun with a group of family/friends. They are charged by hourly or a flat fee. These are often opened til 4-5am. Ask your hotel concierge for a recommendation in your area or in the area that you are planning to visit. Some can be very expensive particularly the ones in the areas Apgujeong and Cheongdahm. 
    3. Nan-sam Tower: Although open all day, I recommend visiting it at night for the great panorama view of the city.  Info
    4. Jjim-jil-bawngs (prounced: Jjim-jay-bawng) - Public bathhouses & saunas. Often open 24 hours   * birthday suit in the bathing room. Info.  Dragon Hill Lodge:  In Yongsan. Owned by the US army and caters more to the soldiers & their families and foreigners. Take a taxi. A little more complicated to find.  Tell the driver " Young-san, Dragon Hill Lodge Ho-tel"
    5. Midnight shopping:  Dong-day-moon Shopping district:  Fashion apparel, fabrics, etc. Some shops don't open til 10-11pm. Dongdaemun History & Cultural Station ( Exits 14 &2, Lines 2 & 4) Info. Noryangjin Fish Market: Noryangjin Station ( Line 1). Open all year. Info
    6. Casinos: Gambling is illegal for Koreans, but legal for foreigners and Koreans with foreign passports.  Make sure to bring your passport. There are 3 locations: -  GangnamSubway Line 2 Samseong Station Exit #5, pass the Hyundai Department Store, then make a right and walk 100 meters to see the casino to your right). Millennium Seoul Hilton Hotel  (Line No. 4 to Hoehyeon Station and go out Exit 4, and then walk 200 meters in the direction of Daewoo Foundation Building and take the byway on the left in the direction of the entrance to the parking lot of Seoul Hilton Hotel) and Paradise Walker Hill Casino. < Click for direction. 
    7. Night food
    8. Recommend the following neighborhoods' bars for foreigners: Most bars are open til 2-3 am from Mon-Thurs & Sundays and 3-4 am on Fri & Saturdays.  The clubs are open til 5-6am on Thurs, Fri & Saturdays. 
    • E-tay-won (Itaewon): There are a plenty of generic "pick-up" bars catering to the US army soldiers in this area. The following listed bars have a little more touch of class with character. A great place for bar hopping.  * E-tay-won ( pronounce "won" as in "magic wand" but no "d")
    • Club Volume: Night club which specializes in electronic music with guest international headliner DJs on the weekends.  Noksapyeong Station (Brown line 6 Exit 3). Walk for about 5-8 minutes heading down a hill and across the street to Capital Hotel. Club is at the next door. 
    • Queen: Intimate hole in the wall gay bar which attracts a mixed crowd. Great music & dance crowd. Itaewon Station (Brown line 6 Exit 3) - Walk ahead and pass a fire station, across from Helios Bar. Turn right at the following street. Turn left at the 2nd street and Queen is on the left with big windows.
    • Bricxx Bar: Chilled basement hook-ah lounge with a great vibe. Attracts ex-pat English teachers.  Itaewon Station ( Line 6 Exit 1) - Turn right into the first alley street from KFC and walk til it deadends. Turn right and look for the sign on your right.  
    • Berlin Bar: Cocktail bar with DJ's spinning on the weekends. Noksapyeong Station (line 6 Exit 1) - Across the street on the sky-walk bridge. Walk up the staircase along the rail. When it comes to a street, turn right. Look for the sign on your right. Info 
    • B-1 Bar: Gay bar but attracts a mixed crowd. Basement cocktail lounge with DJ's playing usually on Fri and/or Saturdays. Small dance floor. Itaewon Station (Line 6 Exit 1). Turn right at the first alley passing KFC. Look to your left.
    • Bliss: One of the classiest bars & restaurants with an outdoor patio. Info
    • Gecko's Garden: Beautiful outdoor terrace. Food is average & overpriced. Info  - Itaewon Station Exit 1. Turn right at first alley after KFC. Turn right when it dead-ends. Look for the sign on your left. 
    • Bungalow: It has a tiki bar vibe with a rooftop beach. Itaewon Station (Line 6 Exit 2) - Turn left at 1st alley street. Turn right when it deadends. Look for it on your left. 
    • The Loft ( Wine Bar): It has a great roof terrace with a chilled indoor decor.  Itaewon Station ( Line 6 Exit 3). Walk up and pass a gas station and fire station near the first street.  Pass Rocky Mountain Tavern and Sortino Restaurant ( look for an Italian flag hanging).  Start looking for the sign. It's on the 2nd floor.  note: There is another "drinking" bar called Loft in Itaewon. 
    • Luv Superlounge: Small night club with a fantastic line-up of oversea DJs performing on the weekends.  Facebook & Info.  Itaewon Station ( Line 6 Exit 1)- Turn right at 1st Street after KFC. Turn left when it deadends. It's on your right side. 
    • Mu: Trendiest rooftop bar. Itaewon Station ( Line 6, Exit 2): You will see Hamilton Hotel on your left. This bar is located behind the hotel in the alley street. 
    • Hong-day (Hongdae): It's located in Hong-ik University town, so it mostly attracts the college student crowds. But there are a few hidden worthy mentions that tend to draw older crowds.  A great area to walk around & explore and it has a plenty of bars with cheap drinks. 
    • Unknown:  Chilled basement hookah lounge with Morccocan decor and ambiance. Direction: Sangsu Station ( Exit 1 Brown line 6): Walk North bound for 3 blocks and turn left at 7/11 Store corner into the alley. Turn left at the 2nd street (Gr8 Hookah Bar). Pass aA Design Museum Cafe (map)on your right and Nabi Bar on your left (Another great hookah bar with a boho vibe. Head to the basement). Start looking for a building with an "Arabic" writing on your right. Head to the basement. ( This bar is such a hidden gem that there is no English or Korean sign on the building).
    • Vinyl Bar - Hongik Station ( Line 2 Exit 5) - Walk ahead and turn left at the 1st street. Walk up til it deadends at Hongik University building. Turn right and walk for 200 meters. Look for the sign. If you pass 7/11 store, you went too far.  A great place to enjoy a cocktail or two before heading to the clubs. 
    • Oversound - Info 
    • Club Cocoon - Night club with a mix of hip hop/R&B/pop  Info
    • Oi Bar - Hookah Bar which is uniquely designed with all white interior. Info 
    • Mansion - Cocktail lounge bar with Dj's providing the tunes on the weekends. Info 
    • Storm - Classy lounge bar. Info
    • Sin-cheon:  In Ewha University town which may appear rough and scruff but under the surface has a cool laid-back vibe with genuineness.  Next door to Hong-dae neighborhood.
    • Nori Bar: Eclectic music & dance crowd in this cozy bar. Location - Sinchon Station Exit 1 Green line 2.  Take your 2nd right after Hyundai Department Store. Walk straight and look for the bar on the left side, after passing your 4th left. Head to the basement of 'The Bar". Do not get here before midnight.  
    • Gawng-nam (Gang-nam): Hectic & buzzing with neon signs. Although foreigners do hang out here, this district has more Korean appeal than other areas like Itaewon and Hongdae. 
    • Rainbow: Hook-ah lounge with a great decor. Gangnam Station Line 2 Exit 6 - Walk 250 meters. Turn left at Giordano Store. Turn right at Dunkin Donuts and it's on your right. 
    • Club Eden: Upscale night club with tech-house and minimal electronic music. Shin-nonhyun Station (Line 9 Exit 4)- Walk straight ahead. Beside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. 30,000 won cover.  Info 


    Mar 17, 2011


    First floating hotel in Sweden overlooking the surrounding archipelago.
    Location: West coast of the island of Klädesholmen, Sweden
    Rates: From 990 SEK/$154.80 USD per night


    Mar 14, 2011


    Former Central Train Station

    An abandoned Packard Motors Factory

    In the debris of despair, deterioration and poverty emerges a renewal of hope, resilience, and revitalization.
    Getting there:
    1. Detroit Wayne County International Airport
    2. Coleman Young City Airport
    3. Greyhound Bus:
    4. Train:
    Getting around:
    1. Rent a vehicle
    2. Taxis: Not readily available. Need to contact the taxi company for their service.
    3. City Bus: A limited routes

    Attractions & Places to visit:
    The Heidelberg Project
    Location: 3600 Heidelberg St. Detroit, MI 48207

    Tim Burke's Detroit Industrial Gallery

    Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) aka Movement
    Location: The Hart Plaza; next to the river and tunnel crossing into Canada.
    When: The Memorial Weekend; The last weekend of May for 3 days.
    Further info:
    * Detroit is the home of "Techno" music.
    * The festivities during the days are jammed pack with great music, but the best music can be heard at the "after-hours" parties held at various venues/sites throughout the downtown area like at The Works Bar, St. Andrews Concert Hall, Oslo's basement bar, abandoned warehouses, party cruise boat on the river, etc. For after-hours' info: ,

    Eastern Market (farmers market)
    Location: Map
    Restaurants & Shops:
    1. Russell Street Deli: Best breakfast grubs in town!!
    2. Butcher's Inn Restaurant
    3. Milano Bakery:
    4. Detroit Cheese Co & Randy's Sausage Shop:
    5. Joe's Wine & Liquor Shop
    6. Cost Plus Wine
    7. Roma Café: Oldest Italian eatery in town. 3401 Riopelle St., Detroit. 313-831-5940
    8. Supino Pizzeria:

    Urban Farming: Vacant empty spaces utilized as urban farming land.

    Emerging artists and their communities
    1. The Powerhouse Project: Future community gathering place
    2. Soup: A monthly community dinner for artists to gather and share ideas. $5.00 charge. 4-5 pitches for grassroots creative projects are discussed and then voted on to determine the winner for the prize money to be used towards his or her idea.
    3. Hocking: Detroit native artist who builds installations with whatever leftovers he finds. In Fisher Building, he built a pyramid ragged tires bathed in an spectral green glow of the sun strained through its windows; in his most recent work, Garden of the Gods, Hocking placed shattered TV sets atop the still-standing concrete columns of the Packard Plant's top level.
    4. Cope and Reichert’s neighborhood: Salvaging abandoned homes as public art projects.
    They will be conducting tours of their neighbourhood the first Saturday of every month beginning Feb. 5 at 11 am, starting at 12644 Moran Street.

    A video made by Vice Magazine about Detroit's scene hosted by Johnny Knoxville:

    Belle Isle: The largest urban park in the United States which sits on Detroit River.

    Botanical Conservatory

    Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (DIA)
    * Detroit Film Theatre: Shows art and independent films.
    * Hosts "Music Friday" - Showcases independent artists, world music, classical, etc.

    Best Eats:
    1. Slow's Barbecue Restaurant:
    2. Detroit Seafood Market Restaurant:
    3. Avalon Breads: Bakery at 422 W. Willis
    4. La Dolce Vita: A gay friendly Italian Restaurant. Great outdoor patio.
    5. The Blue Nile: Ethiopian Cuisine. Located just outside of Detroit in Ferndale.
    6. Oslo: Sushi & Thai food and Bar. In downtown. Great sweatbox basement bar known for throwing electronic music events lasting til dawn. Electronic music legends such as Richie Hawtin, Ellen Alien, Matthew Dear, Carl Craig have played here.
    7. Cadieux Cafe: Belgium food & beer. Bucket full of mussels and Belgium feather bowling are their specialties.
    8. Polonia Polish Restaurant: 2934 Yemans St., Hamtramck, MI 48212. Hamtramck is in the city of Detroit.
    9. Los Altos: Authentic Mexican in Mexican town. 7056 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209
    10. The Fly Trap Diner: 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-399-5150
    11.Mexicantown Bakery: 4300 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-554-0001
    12. 24 Grill: Upscale.
    13. Mudgies Deli:
    14. Señor López Taqueria:
    Authentic Mexican & breakfast served all day. 7146 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-551-0685
    15. Vicente's Cuban Cuisine: 1250 Library St., Detroit; 313-962-8800
    16. Detroit 1 Coney Island Inc:
    17. El Comal: Guatemalan. 3456 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-841-7753. Fried plantains & Empanadas.
    18. El Barzón: Best moles. 3710 Junction St., Detroit; 313-894-2070
    19. Atlas Global Bistro: 3111 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-2241
    20. Detroit Breakfast House & Grill: 1241 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-1115
    21. Maria's Front Room: Wine Bar & Restaurant. 215 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-542-7379
    22 Colors:
    23 Neighborhood Noodle: A pop up restaurant.
    24 Le Petit Zinc Cafe:
    25. Buddy's Pizza: It's been around the last 50 years. Numerous locations throughout metro detroit area.

    1. Bi Bim Bop in Novi: some of the best Korean and Japanese food you'll find in the midwest.

    Rowland Cafe: Simply breathtaking.
    Astro Coffee:  in Cork Town:

    1. Baker's Keyboard Lounge: Jazz Bar. 20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-345-6300
    2. Buddha Lounge Bar: 21633 W. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-535-4664
    3. Attic Bar: Authentic Detroit blues live music.11667 Joseph Campau St., Hamtramck; 313.365.4194
    4. Ghost Bar:
    5. Cafe D'Mongo's Speak Easy: Only open on Friday nights from 6:00 pm - 2:00 am.
    6. PV Lounge: Professional clientel.
    7 The Sugar House: a lounge cocktail bar
    8 Clff Bells: Blues Jazz bar and restaurant:
    9 The Park Bar:
    10. Seven Brothers Bar: lay back eclectic dive bar in Hamtramck

    La Dolce Vita Restaurant

    1. Made In Detroit: Hoodies, T-shirts, Bags, etc with "Made In Detroit" logo.



    Tree houses in the midst of six acre vine-drenched jungle retreat overlooking a blue lagoon shoreline.
    Location: Blue Lagoon, Jamaica; Northeast coast just outside of Port Antonio


    Mar 10, 2011


    Cours Mirabeau Avenue, center of the town

    Fashionably soak up the sun in this Mediterranean town & indulge in art of eating and drinking
    Location: Southern France, 25 km North from Marseilles.
    Getting there:
    * Eurostar (08432 186186; TGV Train
    * Train: Aix’s tiny city center train station (5am-9.15pm Mon-Fri, 6am-9.15pm Sat & Sun, information office 9am-7pm) is at the southern end of av Victor Hugo. There are frequent services to Briançon (€31.20, 3½ hours), Gap (€23.80, two hours) and Marseille (€6.20, 35 minutes, at least 18 daily.
    * Bus: Aix’s bus station (information office 08 91 02 40 25; av de l’Europe) is a 10-minute walk southwest from La Rotonde. Numerous companies’ services include buses to Marseille (€4.40, 35 minutes, every 10 minutes, every 20 minutes on Sunday), Arles (€10, 1¾ hours, five daily), Avignon (€13.90, one hour, six daily) and Toulon (€10, one hour, six daily Monday to Saturday).
    * Airport Marseille-Provence (04 42 14 14 14; is 25km from Aix-en-Provence and is served by regular shuttle buses. Bus to Aix En Provence takes 30 minutes and costs about €7.80/£6.46 one way

    1. Hotel Atrium: In the heart of the city. Near Cours Mirabeau and Place des Precheurs. Starts at $75
    2. Campanile Aix La Beauvalle: West of city center. Starts at $81
    3. Kyriad Mas des Oliviers: West of city center. Business-friendly hotel. Starts at $94
    4. Escale Oceania Aix-en-Provence: SE of city center. Starts at $97.
    5. Citadines Apart'Aix Jas De Bouffan: Just west of city center. Starts at $106
    6. Campanile Aix-en-Provence Sud - La Beauvalle: Just South of city center. $107
    7. Residence Les Floridianes: City center. $103
    8. Hôtel du Globe: Centrally located. $109
    9. Hôtel Rotonde: Centrally located. $123
    10. Citéa La Bastide Du Roy René: South of city center: $125
    11. Hotel Paul:
    12. Hotel Des Arts Aix: In downtown
    13. Appart Valley les Jardins de Galice: Starts at $104
    15. Hotel Cardinal:
    16. Hotel Le Manoir: Centrally located. $93
    17. Hôtel des Augustins
    18. Negre Coste Hotel: Centrally located. $124.25
    More affordable options

    1. Café et Brasserie le Grillon £ $
    Down-to-earth brasserie dishes such as steak frites and blanquette de veau on the busy terrace or in the glittering Belle Epoch salon (49 Cours Mirabeau; 422 275881).
    2. Bistro Latin:
    It has extensive menu choices spanning cod, scampi risotto and a variety of meat dishes cooked with saffron, spinach and cream. Book ahead.
    3. La Boulangerie du Coin
    4. Chez Grand Mere:
    Classic French affairs: bouillabaisse, frogs' legs. Minimum of two diners; order two days before.
    5. Café et Brasserie des Deux Garçons ££ $$
    Historic café and restaurant, its interior gilded elegance preserved since 1792. Here Cézanne sipped aperitifs, famously once with Renoir and Monet.(53 Cours Mirabeau; 422 260051).
    6. Le Clos de la Violette £££ $$$
    Location is a little out of the center but this is Aix’s Michelin-starred dining experience. Reservations essential (10 av Violette; 422 233071).
    7. Le Formal
    Chef Jean-Luc Le Formal operates a first-class establishment with impeccably mannered service both at its whitewashed-stone outdoor lounge/reception area and in its vaulted-cellar dining rooms.
    8. Charlotte
    Locals hangout. simple home cooking, including incredible crème brûlée (a cream or custard dessert covered with caramelised sugar). In summers, feasting takes place outdoors in the garden, and there's a comfy lounge room to unwind.
    9. Bastide du Cours: In the heart of Aix and on Cours Mirabeau has a beautiful interior garden where you can get a culinary dishes such as slow-roasted lamb shank with wild thyme and locally grown tomatoes. Rates jump about 30% in July.
    10. Jacquèmes: Sells gourmet goodies. A fantastic épicerie (grocery) that sells cheese, cold meats, sausages and 500 types of whisky.
    11. L'Aixquis: Elaborately presented plates such as truffle-infused St-Jacques scallops at this small peach-coloured restaurant. The carte (no menus) changes seasonally, but the chocolate noir (a tray of petite desserts) is a year-round fixture.
    More options

    Cathedrale Saint-Sauveur

    Cultural sights and Things to do:
    1. The Granet Museum (place Saint Jean de Malte; 442 528832;, once Cézanne’s art school, owns only eight Cézanne oils but the Knights of Malta Priory is another of Aix’s architectural gems. €4/£3.40/$5.53US
    2. If you want to climb the Montagne Sainte-Victoire, it’s a steep but easy two-hour walk from Vauvenargues. Picasso’s château is nearby. It’s rumoured his family will open it to visitors from June. Check with the tourist office. Cézanne’s hard-to-find grave is on the Montagne Sainte-Victoire side of Alley 6 at the southern end of Saint-Pierre cemetery.
    3. The Thermes Sextius Baths (442 238183;, an 18th-century thermal spa on the site of the 122BC Roman baths. From €99/£83/$137US per day.
    4. To follow the Cézanne trail, pick up a free map from the main tourist office (2 place du Géneral de Gaulle; 0033 442 161161; There’s also a guided Cézanne walking tour every Tuesday 10am; €4/£3.40/$5.53US. The Aix City Pass €13/£11/$18US, valid for five days, includes a guided city tour and visits to his Lauves studio ( and the Jas de Bouffan. The Bibémus Quarries guided tour costs €5.50/£4.70/$7.60US. An inclusive ticket for all three sites costs €12/£10.20/$16.60US. Prebooking at the tourist office is essential.
    5. Les Instants d'Été: Open-air performances in August (theatre, cinema, cabaret, circus, video projections etc) at Parc Jourdan, Théâtre de Verdure du Jas de Bouffan (av St-John Perse), and the Carrières d'Ocre in Rognes (21km N of Aix) during the month-long Les Instants d'Été.
    6. Fondation Vasarely: Bauhaus-style edifice located 4km west of town. Built in 1976, its 16 hexagonal spaces house vast architecture-meets-art works by Hungarian-born Victor Vasarely, the 'father of Optical Art'. Take bus 4 from La Rotonde to the Vasarely stop.
    7. Cathédrale St-Sauveur: Baroque organ acoustics make the Gregorian chants (usually sung at 16:30 on Sunday) an unforgettable experience.
    8. Théâtre du Jeu de Paume
    Built in 1756 on the site of a royal tennis court; the curtain rises in the ornate Italianate auditorium most evenings from June to September.
    9. Le Cézanne ( Art films, cult classics, Oscar calibers (often in English)
    Address: 1 rue Marcel Guillaume City Center
    Phone: 0 892 687 270; Price: adult/student €8.50/€6.70/$11.75US
    10. Ballet Preljocaj (
    A progressive and cutting edge dance company based at Centre Chorégraphique National Building.
    Location: rue des Allumettes W of City Center
    11. La Boulangerie du Coin: There are around 20 calisson makers in town, as well as plenty of patisseries. Fresh and warm, it's also one of the few boulangeries to bake on Sunday, along with the boulangerie (5 rue Tournefort) that never closes.
    12. Farmers' Market: The greengrocers set up their booths under the sycamore trees in Place Richelme, and the flower market sets up in adjoining Place de l'Hotel de Ville, both located on the main axis between Place du Général de Gaulle, where the tourist information office is located and Cathédrale St.-Sauveur on the opposite side of the pedestrian quarter. Hours: 9am and noon. Floral Market: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday across from the Mayor's Office.
    13. Festival d’Aix-en-Provence:
    Held during June and July, the city bursts into opera as it hosts one of the most important festivals in Europe. Venues all over the town, such as Théâtre de l’Archévêché, Théâtre du Jeu de Paume and Grand Théâtre de Provence,but the real treats are the outside concerts at Théâtre du Grand Saint-Jean, just outside of the town. It’s an unforgettable event even for those not particularly into opera.

    Bars : Left Bank of Aix is the prestigious student hub and should be able to find a plenty of night-life.
    1. Bar Sextius: With live music and DJs playing house, reggae and raga.
    Address: 13 cours Sextius W of City Centre
    Phone: 04 42 26 07 21; Hours: 07:00-02:00 Mon-Sat
    2. La Belle Époque: DJs spinning Latino, house and funk every evening.
    Address: 29 cours Mirabeau City Center
    Phone: 04 42 27 65 66; Hours: vary
    3. Les Deux Garçons: Been around since 1792. Salon and outdoor terrace, or head upstairs to the jazz club/piano bar.
    Address: 53 cours Mirabeau SW of City Centre / Phone: 04 42 26 00 51
    4. Le Mistral: A nightclub on 3 rue Frédéric Mistral is great for those who like expensive cocktails and pumping dance music played until the early hours.
    5. L'Orienthé: Soak up the Buddha atmosphere in this chilled shisha (Turkish water pipe)joint. 50 different flavours of tea offered.
    Address: 5 rue de Félibre Gaut City Center / Hours: 13:00-01:00
    6. Spartacus Night Club - Techno and other electronic music: located in town of Cabries, south of Provence.


    Mar 8, 2011


    An environmentally sustaining and rustic Zen-like modern architectural lofts.
    Location: Vieques, Puerto Rico; six miles off the southeastern coast.
    Rates: $135 - $395
    Getting there:
    1. San Juan International Airport
    2. From San Juan, a few small airlines serve Vieques. Vieques Air Link,
    (888) 901-9247, flies three times a day for around $150 round trip. The flight takes about 20 minutes.


    Mar 7, 2011


    5 days celebration of folk music in the majestic walls of Fort Mehrangarh
    Location: In and around Fort Mehrangarh; City of Jodhpur in the state of Rahjastan, India
    When: October 12-16, 2011; The dates change annually.
    Entry Requirements: Visa and passport for US citizens.
    Getting there:
    * Fly to New Delhi and connecting flight to Jodhpur.
    * Train or bus from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and other major cities.

    * Local and international folk musicians perform annually.
    * International DJ provides the sounds and beats all night long.

    1. To be at the heart of the RIFF festivities, base yourself at the Royal Tented Camp at Mehrangarh Fort. Rate starting at $204.80 per person/ night, full-board.

    *The following lodgings are in the city of Jodhpur:
    2. Haveli Inn Pal: 15 mins walk to Fort Mehrangarh. Rate starts at $23.63
    3. Durag Niwas Guest House. Rate starts at $5.60
    4. Hotel Haveli: Rate starts at $20
    5. Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli: Rate starts at $30. Located right by Fort Mehrangarch.
    6. Hotel Megh Niwas: Rate starts at $20. About 15-20 min walk to Fort Mehrangarch.
    7. The Blue House Guest House: Rate starts at $6.15. Great location.
    8. Yogi Guest House: Rate starts at $9. Great location.
    9. Veggie Guesthouse: Located just outside of Fort Mehrangarh
    10. Ranga Bhawan
    11. Pal Haveli: Minutes away from Fort Mehrangarch
    12. Shivam Paying Guesthouse: Minutes away from Fort Mehrangarch.
    13. Jee Ri Havali: Walking distance from Fort Mehrangarch
    14. Haveli Guesthouse: Minutes away from Fort Mehrangarch.
    15. Hotel City Palace
    16. Priya
    17. Heaven Guesthouse
    More options on affordable hotels and guesthouses

    * Greaves Travel: Offering a 9-night tour from £2,599 ($4,210.80 USD) per person, staying one night each at Mihir Garh, the Royal Jodhpur Tented Camp and Ranvas during RIFF, plus two nights each at Bal Samand Lake Palace, The Taj Palace in Delhi and The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai. The price includes return BA flights, internal flights, a three-day festival pass, tours, transfers and full board at Mihir Garh (other hotels b&b).