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Posts Tagged ‘France’

10 Hauntingly Beautiful Cemeteries

What makes a cemetery special? Perhaps it’s the size, or the number of tombs? Or is it the age of the graveyard, or the famous people buried there? Are they architectural masterpieces in baroque style, or are they more whimsical? Find out for yourself below, as we celebrate Halloween with a list of ten of the most haunting and beautiful cemeteries from around the world!

Père Lachaise Cemetery © Alexander Baxevanis / Flickr

1 Père Lachaise, France

This one of a kind collection of burial sites located in the heart of Paris is known to be the most visited cemetery in the world. The Père Lachaise opened in 1804 and experts estimate that there are somewhere between 300,000 and 1,000,000 people buried on its grounds. Many celebrities are laid to rest among the grand tombs and mausoleums including Oscar Wild, Frédéric Chopin, George Seurat, and even the Doors’ Jim Morrison!

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Can you guess the most popular European destinations to visit by rail?

Rail travel is the most sophisticated route to international adventure. Imagine sipping a cappuccino as you traverse the Tuscan countryside or enjoying a spot of afternoon tea while you await your arrival in Paris. It’s truly a relaxing, easy, and fast way to travel.

In fact, I believe rail travel is perhaps the best way to explore Europe. It quickly transports visitors between top destinations, without the hassle of road traffic or airport security. Plus, when taking a train from place to place, you depart from one city center and arrive in the next, completely eliminating the hassle and expense of those long transfers to the airport.

More than 713 million passengers traveled across the EU by rail between April and September of 2014, showing resurgence in popularity among locals and internationals alike. But can you guess what the top destinations to visit by rail were for the summer of 2014?

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Standing together 10 years after September 11

In the next few days, most, if not all Americans, will be thinking about Sept. 11, 2001. Memories of that day come back to me every year. It was an unforgettable day, but despite the horrific circumstances, one moment of my 9/11 experience actually gave me hope.

My husband, Ilan, and I left for Nice, France, on Sept. 10, 2001. When we boarded our flight we were thinking of nothing but a fun vacation with friends. When we landed on Sept. 11 and learned what had happened, we sensed the world had abruptly changed and had suddenly become a darker, more frightening place.

In the days that followed, Ilan and I wondered how our lives could ever be the same. When we felt we needed a break from the horrific images on the TV, we wandered out to stroll in Saint Paul de Vance, a lovely and picturesque French village not far from where we were staying. We came upon a small boutique with a huge, hand-lettered sign in the window. It read, “We stand in solidarity with our American friends. American tourists are welcome to call home from our shop without cost.”

This small, kind gesture by a French business owner gave us a glimmer of promise at a dark time in America’s history. And 10 years later, as we reflect on where we were that fateful day, we can remember not only remember the loved ones we lost but also the kindness shown by complete strangers as well as friends all over the world. It’s a memory that, each day, reminds me that my idea of calling our company “Friendly Planet” was no mistake after all.

The Wall Street Journal features my memorable travel moment in France

Standing Together: A tale of travel and solidarity 

I’m lucky to have traveled a great deal of the world. And I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life on the road. So when The Wall Street Journal asked readers to share their most memorable travel stories, many sprang to mind, but one stood taller than the rest.

I submitted it a couple weeks ago. And then the paper’s editors e-mailed me saying they’d like to publish it as an article. I was so flattered, and of course gave them my permission. The Wall Street Journals’ editors published it on Saturday.

You can read the full story on WSJ’s website. It’s about my trip to Nice, France during 9/11, the emotional days that ensued, and the kindness of the French.

But I was in for another pleasant surprise. I received some touching comments from WSJ readers, and I want to share them with you. Here they are, taken directly from my inbox. Thanks again to the editors for publishing my piece and the readers who wrote in to me.



Dear Ms. Goldman,

I just read your article in the WSJ entitled “Standing Together After 9/11”. We were in the same area of France at the same time. Your experience is exactly the same as mine. It was my first trip to France. I was pleasantly surprised to find the people so kind and caring in Southern France. My friends back home find my “French” story hard to believe. Thank you for verifying the truth of my experience.

Regards,
Joycelyn Schmid




Ms Goldman,

I read with great interest your article in travel section of todays WSJ.
My husband and I along with my sister and brother in-law left Chicago O’Hare on Sept. 10th 2001 for Paris. When we landed nothing had happened yet. We arrived at our hotel much too early to check in, so a nice young woman let us store our bags in a small office.
When we returned later in the afternoon she greeted us with apologies over and over again.
She did not speak English so she just ushered us into the small office with a small tv and we watched in horror the planes flying into the World Trade Center.
After two days in Paris, we rented cars and drove to St. Maximin in the south.
We arrived there on a Sunday and got to the house we rented and then just walked around the little town. There was a concert going on at the church so we went in and sat down.
The organist was going to be using the organ which dated back to the 11th century.
The first piece he played was the Star Spangled Banner. It just sent chills down your spine. Women were coming up to us crying and saying how sorry they were. Obviously they could tell we were Americans.

Whenever I hear now about how the rude the French are I love sharing this story.

thank you.
Nancy Hansen



It’s was so nice to hear Nancy’s and Joycelyn’s travel stories. I would love to hear some of your memorable travel stories. Feel free leave a comment to this post with your story.

A little look at gran Paris (part 2)

Last week I gave you a little taste of beautiful Paris, through the eyes of my friend Leanna. When we left off, Leanna had described a diverse segway ride past many of the most incredibly attractions of Paris. She continues …
Our Segway tour guides, Simon and Billy, prepared a double-secret list of “best restaurants” not generally known to tourists. We seized immediately upon that. Our favorite restaurants that week were on that list. That was a much-appreciated extra “tip” from the guides to us!
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That same day, after exploring the Jardins du Luxembourg, we embarked on a night bike tour. The bikes were without lights, but we did have reflective jackets to warn any other tourists that we approaching.
We rode at breakneck speed from the Eiffel Tower to the Latin Quarter, over the bridge to the Ile Saint Louis, past Notre Dame, down the Champs Elysee to the Seine, where we took a midnight flyboat up and down the river. The boat trip treated us to sights along the riverbanks — folk dancers, rows of young men mooning the boat, lovers leaning against the walls with wine, the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower on the hour.
Next, we enrolled in a wine and cheese tasting class, held in an old subterranean cellar, formerly some sort of prison. Our sommelier was very French, very knowledgeable, and the wine was delicious (we scored a bottle of Sancerre). The other folks in the class were fun, and we ended up sitting with the family of Ted Nugent (remember “Cat Scratch Fever”?).

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Of course, Leanna’s description of delectable French delicacies doesn’t stop there. Stay tuned for the final post tomorrow, when Leanna will tell you all about the romance and flavor of dining in Paris.

A little look at gran Paris

In my travels over the years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to visit Europe. I’ve toured lots of cities and have rarely found a single one that I wouldn’t want to visit again. However, Paris remains in a category all by itself.
I admit that Paris is my favorite, and each time I go there, I expect to be disappointed in some way, so that I can finally bump Paris from the top of my favorite places list and give that revered spot to another city. But it never happens. Paris never disappoints. It only inspires, entertains, enchants, engages, and always makes me fall in love with it all over again.
A business associate and friend, Leanna Johannes, spent a week in Paris last month for vacation. Like me, Leanna knows a great city when she sees one. She agreed to write about her journey, which I’ll post here on our blog. Enjoy, and see if you can resist planning your own visit to Paris after reading! The following was taken right from the pages of Leanna’s journal …
Although our entire week in Paris was filled with sunlight, romance, and good food and wine, certain occasions deserve particular note.
First of all, our hotel, Relais Hotel du Vieux Paris, was the perfect place to spend our time there, as it was located in the heart of the St. Germain de Pres, not far from the Latin Quarter, near the Place St. Michel and Metro. It is on a quiet street, just around the corner from the action and romance of the night cafes and street scenes.
Our windows opened to fresh air and a view of the Seine. Our room was spacious (by European standards), air conditioned (an important question to ask if you are making a reservation,) and had half-timbered beams exposed in the ceilings and walls (and even the bathroom with a tub).
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The attention to detail was impressive, from the Brunschwig & Fils fabrics to the piping lining the draperies and beams. The owner, Madame Odillard, and her staff were extremely helpful everyday. We agreed that this will be the hotel we return to, as there is nothing to improve upon.
FP_Paris2.jpgWhile in Paris, we spent our days taking in as much as the Parisian culture and sites as we could. The first sightseeing tour we took was the City Segway Tour of Paris. What a sight! I mean us on Segways — that was the sight. We tried so hard not to look like tourists — no athletic shoes, no jeans — and there we were, in a pack of obvious tourists, Segwaying at high speeds through the beauty of Paris.
We started at the Eiffel Tower, motored by Napoléon’s Tomb (originally built by King Louis XIV in 1676 as an exclusive place or worship for the Royal family, now the resting place of the most famous Frenchman in history), Ecole Militaire, Les Invalides, Alexander III Bridge (my favorite bridge of all), Grand and Petit Palais, and on to Musée D’Orsay, through the plaza of the Louvre, the Tuileries Gardens (where we had lunch at a café nestled in the chestnut trees), down the Champs-Elysées from the Place de la Concorde, and past the Arc de Triomphe.
That’s a lot to see but we covered it all on those fast-moving, foot-friendly Segways! We booked our tour through Fat Tire Bike Tours, and found our young guides very helpful and friendly.

Stay tuned, because I’ll continue with Leanna’s trip through Gran Paris next week!

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