It may be far but I have to tell you about the best vacation spot ever. Now I have to admit when I think of Australia I do think Sydney and the majestic Opera house …hey I am American what can I say? But I have recently discovered the most incredible city that will take your breath away. The town that I am referring to is called Cairns and it is in North Queensland and it is a paradise, literally. I must warn you if you go you may not want to ever leave. Since it is such a special town and the tourists do like to come and visit the town has been recently updated and renovated to make it even more relaxing and fun for its visitors. Cairns Esplanade is a wonderful facility that features an amazing outdoor amphitheatre, a picnic area along with a free barbeque area, playground and a quaint lagoon for swimming. There are also a nice variety of shops and restaurants to experience. Right across from the Cairns Esplanade is the very cool Cairns Night Market. This is kind of their version of our boardwalk. There are local artists showcasing their work, food, and of course plenty of Australian trinkets and souvenirs.

Some incredible attractions in Cairns that you will not want to miss are the Skyrail and Kuranda train ride. Since it is hard to decide which to do there are several packages that include both trips in one day and are located right next to each other for this reason. You will not believe the majestic scenery as you ride the train through the mountains and then the Skyrail gives you a whole other perspective as you go above the city of Cairns and over the tops of the mountains, waterfalls and rainforest. This Skyrail is actually the longest in the world at almost 5 miles long.

Of course you cannot visit Australia and not visit the Great Barrier Reef. The nice thing about visiting the reef from this destination is that it is one of the closest ways to get there. You can get to the outer reef in approximately 2 hours where from other locations if can take almost 4 hours. No matter what your interests or capabilities are there is a tour for you that is offered. From the most experienced divers to tours for non- swimmers, everyone can experience 1 of the wonders of the world. The reef is also one of the cleanest bodies of water and clearest that you will find anywhere.  IT is like its own world here with over 1500 species of fish and over 200 species of birds not to mention, whales, dolphins and turtles that you will encounter as well. One thing to note about this area is that the sun is extremely strong and dangerous because you are not only getting it directly from the sky but also from the reflection of the water. So be extra precautious with applying sun screen, wearing hats and sunglasses and just being smart with sun protection.

Once you have experienced these main attractions there is still so much to do here. There are so many beaches to choose from if you are just ready to relax a bit or if you prefer there are plenty of other water sports to partake in besides diving at the reef. You can sail, kayak, parasail, kite surf or do some fishing. You can also plan an incredible tour through the rainforest; visit the highest natural pyramid in the world, Walsh’s Pyramid, or the Curtain Fig Tree which is just an incredible powerful piece of nature. There is also the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda as well as a Birdworld and zoo which is very interactive and a great place to bring the kids. There is also a special part of the zoo called the night zoo which gives you a different animal experience but also includes night time activities like dinner, dancing and drinking.

I could go on and on about this gem of a destination. It is a special place with so much do to. You can add it on to your visit to Sydney or Brisbane or do it all by itself. You will not be disappointed, it is spectacular.

Have you thought about travelling to Germany in your vacation planning? Well I have to tell you there is something for everyone here. It has been a long time since the war in Germany, although many parts were completely decimated there is still plenty of culture and history to see as well beautiful wilderness that you might not expect to see while there.  They have some of the most incredible museums plus any beer lover will think they had died and gone to heaven. So if you have not thought about it before I will share some places and things to do that might change your mind and if you have thought about it there is no time like the present to pick a date, book a flight and be on your way. I am going to share some of the things you can do in the surrounding cities to make your visit one you won’t soon forget.

One of your first stops should be to the town of Frankfurt. And a must do and see first off is a boat ride on the Main river. There are several day trips you can take or even just a short cruise to get a scenic view of the city. If you love photography make sure you have your camera because these will be some of the most beautiful pictures you will have to add to your collection. You will see some beautiful old castles, the skyline of the city plus some amazing small villages. While here you should also check out ”Goethe House”, which is where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born and  you will get a really good idea of life in the 18th Century for people who were of upper middle class stature. If you love to visit museums there is basically museum row, where you can visit 16 museums that were all newly built or have been renovated by famous architects. One of the best is “The Stadel Institute of Art” and the “Communications Museum” but pick your favorites or if you have the time visit them all.

If you can, hop on over to Munich while you are in the country and visit the Olympic Centre where the famous 1972 Olympic games where held. Plus there is a most incredible church from the 15th century called “Gothic Church of Our Lady” which will take your breath away. And you know that if you are in Europe there are plenty of incredible churches, but this is one you will not want to miss. Once you have had your share of churches and museums you will want to experience all the gastronomic delicacies Germany has to offer.  They have many specialties including grilled knuckle of pork with sauerkraut (which I promise tastes way better than it sounds), plus weisswurst, which is a white veal sausage (you know the Germans love their sausage) and of course pretzels with sweet mustard. And every meal and snack should always be accompanied with trying a new German beer at any number of outdoor cafes which they are famous for in the region. There is a great place called “Die Schwemme” where you eat together with people at long wooden table and everyone is like family talking about everything and anything while eating and drinking and having a wonderful time. If you are looking for something more intimate and classic try “Konigshof” for a wonderful authentic meal with great service.

If you have time in your travels check out Berlin, which is the capital of Germany and is known for its amazing architecture. Berlin has really come into its own and is a unique and vibrant city. The city knows how to party with over 7,000 bars and restaurants that stay open all night long as well as over 300 night clubs so you can always find a party going on in Berlin. Plus there are art galleries galore. Since this is the heart of the government here, they have some amazing building you should check out like “The Reichstag”, which is the parliament building and it is a sight to behold as well as “The Federal Chancellery”. These are newly built and just gorgeous to see. The cities are all so different and have their own feel, you will want to explore and experience them all. There is a definite sense of history yet also a newness that is quite different and unique. Enjoy yourself and watch out for those German beers!

If you have an Iphone and are planning a trip to Amsterdam you are in luck. There is a new application that has just been released for the Iphone called Infomaps Amsterdam. This is so incredible, right there on your phone you can have all the information you ever wanted for your trip. In addition to letting you know what to do and where to go while you are there, it is specifically designed for tourist to help you not only find these places but how to get there by train, tram or the metro. So you can totally maneuver around the city with ease.  So cool and just unbelievable what we are able to do in these times and all on our phones!! Just in case though you do not have an I – phone I will be happy to share some of the wonderful things about this city and what to do and where to go while you are there. I just love it here. It is quaint and lovely and full of history.

One of the places that Amsterdam is famous for is this is where you can visit the house that Anne Frank and her family were hidden during the war. If you have read her diaries, you will absolutely want to see where her and her family lived until they were caught by the Nazis. If you have not read her diary pick up a copy so you can truly appreciate this incredible landmark. If you are a lover of art you will also not want to miss some of the incredible art museums in the city. First there is the Rijksmuseum which is just lovely and contains some famous pieces by some of Netherlands great 17th century painters. You can see Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Hals. The is also the Van Gogh Museum, which of course centers around him as well as other painters of his time. And how cool is this, you can actually visit Rembrandt’s House from the 17th century and see where he lived and created his masterpieces.

Then of course there is the magnificent canal system. There are plenty of boat tours to choose from to be able to see the city from the water. Most tours last about 1 ½ hours and you just can’t go wrong seeing the city from this vantage point. If you have kids a few fun things to do are The New Metropolis Museums which is a science museum designed especially for the kids, so it is fun and you can get a bit of a break while the kids learn and explore. There is also the Artis Zoo that the kids are sure to enjoy that includes an aquarium and a planetarium. And since Amsterdam is famous for its pancakes there is a delightful restaurant that is very kid friendly called the Pancake Bakery.

The list of places to eat are honestly so vast. There are over 1000 restaurants and that does not even include all the cafes. You just can’t help but sit outside and order a coffee or a glass of wine in this beautiful city. And if you are visiting between late March and late May you will see the most exquisite gardens and the most tulips you have ever seen in your life. They are breathtaking. You have to go outside of the city to find the best and largest gardens but if you are in town during those times you can book a coach ride or train ride. Just check out your Iphone applications and you will be good to go.
    
One last interesting place to visit is Amsterdam’s Red Light District. I know it sounds weird to even be recommending this but it is truly a huge tourist attraction to just walk through and take in the scene. Basically prostitution is legal here. So you can imagine it is a very popular area for people to visit. It actually is quite safe and clean and there are plenty of policeman around. You can just stroll down the street and watch the “working girls” in their big windows flirting with people passing by as they try to attract business. There is more than just sex in the area if you are only looking. There are plenty of bars and restaurants as well. It is definitely an attraction to just check out regardless of your feeling on the issues here.

So as you can see an interesting city with a lot to offer. Have a fabulous time, wish I was coming with you.

There is something about San Diego, California….when you get off the plane the sky is the bluest blue and the ocean and the flowers look brighter and clearer than anywhere else I have ever been. Each time it is the same, like a post card, am I just can’t seem to get enough. There is so much to do in this amazing city. To go and be a tourist – there is nothing better. From the wineries to the restaurants to the beaches… to live there or visit you cannot help but have the time of your life.  So where should we start?

I vote the winery route.  The nice thing about San Diego is that just a short ride from downtown you will feel like you have been transported to Tuscany or Europe but in fact you are in California’s backyard.  A few of the most popular wineries are the Bernardo Winery, which is the oldest operating winery in San Diego.  It even has its own olive oil as well as homemade pasta which are delicious.  The Faulkner Winery is near Temecula and here they produce amazing premium wines. They grow White Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sangiovese to name just a few. You can also check out Orfila Vineyard, which if you are celebrating an event this is a beautiful place to be for a wedding or anniversary celebration. And if you are going to be in town in August you can join in the fun at the annual grape stomping event on August 29, 2009 -  how fun would that be?

If you are travelling with kids there is plenty to do. You can check out the world famous San Diego Zoo and the very popular LEGOLAND – where the kids will have the most amazing time. There is also the very famous Shamu at SeaWorld. The Wild Animal Park which is 1,800 acres and home to 3,500 animals is something you shouldn’t miss. And if you can, you of course want to catch a baseball game and watch the famous San Diego Padres play the greatest American past time. Then there are the beaches. The Beach Boys had it right when they chose to sing about those California Girls. They love the beach and know how to wear it well. Mission Beach is a great beach. You will find a boardwalk for biking, blading and people watching, and of course there is plenty of beach volleyball and you can always find a game. If you are with the family check out Ocean Beach which is very family friendly and full of kids. You will find plenty of volleyball and lots of great sand for the kids to play in.

San Diego is also a wonderful place to be pampered. You can check out the world famous La Costa Spa in Carlsbad as well as the Spa in The Hyatt in La Jolla, and the Four Season Hotel. If you are a lady you will love it and if you are a man your lady will love you for it.  There is plenty to choose from in San Diego and the surrounding suburbs. Go and enjoy and even take a trip to San Francisco for an entirely different experience. The two cities have so much to offer and you will be guaranteed the best weather and the most beautiful sunsets.      

With the hit show “Dancing with the Stars” in full swing (no pun intended) I am compelled to share with you one of the most amazing cities, Buenos Aires – home of the Tango.  While in Buenos Aires this will be a must to see, the Tango performed by the people who know it and do it best. I will tell you the best place to experience the Tango are in places called a “milonga”.  Here you will be sure to find the Tango being danced. The people in Buenos Aires can literally tango the night away and you may find yourself up until 5 – 6 in the morning and trust me it will be well worth the experience. You might be able to find yourself a “Matinee Milongas” that will start earlier and you will typically always be able to find a local who is willing to show you how to dance. Before you visit you can check online to find a “milonga” or even a place to take lessons if you are so inclined. If not there will be plenty of places to check out once you arrive and you will not be disappointed in this cultural experience.

Another authentic Buenos Aires tradition you will not want to miss is a “Gaucho Party”.  It would be similar to the United States version of a dude ranch.  The gauchos are their cowboys and such a part of the Argetinian culture and heritage that you will want to try and take a day out in the country and experience the fun.  You will experience great food, horses, music and of course dancing. Make your reservations in advance and enjoy a wonderful day.

If your travel plans to Buenos Aires will be after May 25, 2010 you will be in for a treat if you love the Opera. Buenos Aires has one of the most spectacular opera houses in the world and if possible it is about to get even better. The Teatro Colon has been under renovation for 1 ½ years and it should be worth the wait. While there if you can get tickets to see a performance take the opportunity of a life time and see it in this world famous Opera House.

Buenos Aires is just a wonderful place and has a wonderful European quality. IT is quite the melting pot for Italians, Germans and of course the Spanish. The cities was originally made up of 48 “barrios” which are neighborhoods, but have been cut down a bit and are now comprised of 15. Each neighborhood has its own personality along with its own colors and forms. In addition to its distinct neighborhoods with it Latin and European feeling you will also find that in Argentina they follow many of Spanish eating traditions. For example dinner doesn’t typically start until after 9:00 in the evening and then it can last hours. That is why many of their evenings last until sunrise. The people like to get dressed up and enjoy the nights. This city is like the "Paris of South America" and you will have the time of your life.

Hawaii – one of the most romantic places in the United States and one of the top 10 most travelled to spots for honeymooners. I have to say I am one of those people who visited Hawaii on my honeymoon. Everyone said if you go to Hawaii you must visit 2 islands, Maui and Kauai. Since I trusted the judgment of my friends that is exactly what we did and we were not disappointed. The thing I remember most about Hawaii was the smell of the flowers. Seriously, as soon as you step off the airplane you just smell sweetness and that is how the whole island smells. It is heavenly. It also doesn’t hurt to be wearing a lei around your neck but still it smells delightful and of course is absolutely beautiful. Most flights take you to Los Angeles or somewhere in California and then from there you can fly straight through to Hawaii.

First of all when you think of Maui you have to think beaches. There are over 33 miles worth of beaches, so you will have no problem finding the beach that suits your mood. In 2006 2 beaches in Maui and 1 in Kauai were recognized as 3 of the Top Ten Beaches in the US. So while in Maui make sure to check out D.T. Fleming Beach Park in Kapalua. This beach is on the west side of Maui and is known to be “one of the sunniest places in the world.” If you are a surfer this is an awesome beach because the waves are big. The backdrop of this beach is a forest, so the view is spectacular but there is also some nice shade to be found if you need a break from the sun. The nice thing about this beach is that there are life guards always on duty, plus amenities like grills, showers, a snack bar and picnic tables. Now Hamoa Beach is on the east side of Maui near Hana. If you are looking for a family friendly beach this is what you want.  This beach has also been voted as one of the best beaches for body surfing in Maui as well. The sand is black and gold and just a lovely place to spend some time. If you are in Hana you must take the very famous day trip called “The Road to Hana”. The road has over 600 curves and 54 bridges so it is not only incredibly beautiful with amazing waterfalls, but you will want to go slow and take your time because it can be dangerous. You can also rent tapes to learn about what you are seeing as you travel the road to Hana. The trip will take you several hours so pack a lunch or some snacks.  Also if possible rent a convertible, there is just no better way to see the sights. Start early and get back before night fall. You do not want to be driving those curves in the dark. Another thing you might want to try while in Maui is to hike Haleakala National Park. Here you can see a dormant volcano and it is an incredible site. You can actually climb on and around the crater. And if you get the chance and your timing is right them most magnificent sight is watching the hundreds of humpback whales that come back every year to give birth and enjoy the Hawaiian waters like the rest of us.

I recommend going to Kauai second and once you get there to just RELAX. Kauai is a quieter island and one of the main attractions is the array of wonderful spas they have to offer. There are several to choose from like ANARA Spa which is located in the Hyatt Hotel, which probably the most decadent of the spas on the island. This is where we stayed and I have to tell you it was magnificent. The hotel is set in the middle of one giant garden. So you can imagine how wonderful it smelled all around, plus you can have your massage outside in a private cabana…ahhhhh. You will also want to check out Hanalei Bay. This was also voted one of the best beaches. It is a very laid beach with very calm water so it is good for the kids, if they are with you. Another spa that you might want to look into is the, Hart – Felt Massage and Day Spa which is the quaintest spa you will ever visit. It is nestled among old plantations style homes and is just so cozy and relaxing. Something else you might want to give a try while in Kauai is kayaking though the many rivers. Again the waters are calm and you can just float along while taking in the scenery without worrying about any rapids or waterfalls.

So as you can see you will have the most relaxing enjoyable vacation. Hawaii is just one of the most perfect places on earth.    

If you have ever had the desire to travel to Africa the most wonderful place to begin would have to be South Africa and Cape Town. It is a destination you will not want to miss and will remember forever as one of the most magnificent places in the world. Here the views will surprise your senses and the history will give you new appreciation for your destination. There are beaches, gardens and safaris to enjoy, so let’s get started. Cape Town is known as” The Mother City” of South Africa and was the first established town in the country. The most amazing mountain, Table Mountain, takes up one side of the town while the ocean is on the other. So you can just imagine the spectacular views from the city no matter where you look.
 
The first thing you must do in Cape Town is visit the famous Table Mountain and Cableway. First off you get to see the entire city plus the most amazing views from all directions. The cable car is so great because it revolves, so whether you are on your way up or down you will see everything. Once at the top there is plenty to do, you can have drinks or a meal or incredible strolls through designated paths. Don’t forget a light wrap since regardless of the time of year you are at the top of a mountain and it will be cool. Another must see destination is Robben Island, which is famous for being the prison where the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was housed. You will even get to stand in his cell. Plan on at least 3 ½ hours because the tour includes a ferry ride back and forth to the island as well as a tour, which is actually given by a former political prisoner. This will definitely be a moving experience for you. IF you love a visit to the botanical gardens you will not want to miss Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Here you will find the most beautiful array of the South African flora. IN addition to the amazing plants and flowers of South Africa you will be dazzled by the layout of streams and ponds as well as the exotic bird that call the gardens their home. As you can well imagine the beaches of Cape Town are some of the most beautiful in the world. There are some great family beaches like False Bay beach as well as more hip and trendy beaches like the Clifton beaches, which are located on the Atlantic Seaboard. The South African sun is extremely strong, so do make sure to wear sunscreen at all times. If you are a visiting either Llandudno or Blouberg beach plan on a sunset picnic if possible to, to start off a romantic evening. If you are so inclined while you are vising Cape Town and have the time you have to check out a real life safari. There is nothing more incredible then seeing the wildlife up close in their own surroundings. You can go for a 4 day safari or even a 7 day safari around the Cape Town area.  There are several game reserves, as well as just being able to see the county in this way is incredible.
 
Cape Town is a true cosmopolitan city with so much to offer. It happens to be more laid back then Johannesburg but don’t be fooled; there are world class shops and dinning. The city was actually founded to grow its own food, so you can expect to find a lot of authentic South African dishes as well as the city has definitely picked up other global cuisine. You will be able to find all your favorites from French, Italian, Thai, Lebanese and many Pan Asian flavors. If you still have energy and are ready to party there is plenty of night life as well in the city. Imagine the possibilities on your Cape Town adventure.           

I have spring break fever, so lets’ talk about one of the greatest and easiest trip you can take with or without kids. Let’s go to Florida and just have some fun in the sun – are you with me? If you are bringing your kids on this trip, I say we start in Orlando because where better can you create memories and magic for your children that will last a lifetime? I remember as a kid growing up always going to Florida for winter break for 2 weeks but then as an adult that all changed and spring break was when I always went. There is just never a good time to not visit Florida – well maybe July and August are not the best unless you are a lover of hot and humid.

Let’s start of at Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom. If you have little princesses at home you will not want to miss the Magic Castle experience and dinner with Cinderella. And you must plan ahead and make an appt. at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique which will transform your little girl into the princess of her dreams – hair, make up the works. The thing about Disney World is that you want to have a plan. Do not just go in and plan on wandering around, (which is how we did it in the old days) make the most of your trip by mapping it out and making all of your reservations ahead of time. In addition to Disney World the other parks to check out are Epcot which will transport you to 11 different countries without ever leaving the park. You can visit Japan, Italy, Mexico, Canada and more. Epcot is not only amazing, but get this; it is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, spanning 300 acres. That is just big and incredible. Again have a plan to make the most of your visit. If your family likes water parks you will want to spend time at one of the 2 water parks, Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. You cannot go wrong whichever you choose your family will have tons of water fun.

If you are looking for a Florida vacation where you can kick back, throw on your swim suit and head to the beach, you must head to Miami for the ultimate beach vacation.  The place to go in Miami is straight to south beach. Here not only will you find the best beach around but also the Art Deco District which you won’t want to miss. You can take a guided tour day or night or just roam around on your own checking out the building and the history. Once you have looked around and taken in the sights it will be time to party. There is no place better then south beach for food and clubs. The stars love to hang out in the relaxed atmosphere and just have a good time after a day at the beach. So many of the restaurants are right on the beach so not only will you get good food, but a great view, and let me tell you some of the best people watching you will ever see.   Be sure to check out 11th Street Diner, Arnie and Richie’s and for a really nice French meal Blue Door at the Delano.

If you are looking for a day trip my favorite place to visit is Lions County Safari. Maybe it is the kids in me or it is left over from all my visits there when I was a kid but it is the most awesome place. It is a bit of a drive but worth it. You will feel you were transported to a real African Safari. At the park you will find 800 animals just roaming around free in the park. You literally stay in your car and drive through the park observing the animals in their own habit without the restriction of cages. IT is quite a thrill to have a giraffe or rhino right up close to your car. It is a fun day so give it a try.

So much to do in Florida or so little, whatever your pleasure. The weather is great and the ocean is beautiful. See you there.     

One of the most beautiful and diverse cities you can visit and explore is Vancouver, Canada. It has so much to offer from just its simple beauty of the mountains and water to its large cultural metropolitan city. Now is the perfect time to go because next winter it will be busy, as it hosts the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vancouver is the fastest growing city in Canada and it is well on its way to catching up to Toronto. Now here is an interesting fact that you probably did not know, Vancouver has the “second largest Chinatown in North America after San Francisco”. I told you it was diverse. Since there is so much to do let’s begin planning one of your most beautiful vacations ever.

Vancouver is the best place to visit if you are a nature lover. They have amazing parks for hiking and biking that you won’t want to miss. One of the oldest tourist attractions is the Capilano Suspension Bridge which will give you quite a thrill. The bridge was built in 1889 and is 230 feet above the Capilano River. You don’t have to have nerves of steel to experience the bridges but it does help. Don’t worry if you don’t cross the bridges, just to experience the scenery is well worth this trip. There are nature walks and lovely rain forest scenery to take in. While you are there an experience of a lifetime is the viewing the salmon run. This happens during July – November and is quite a site. Pack a lunch and spend the day exploring this wonderful park. Biking is big in Vancouver and there are plenty of places to rent bikes. The city is set up with 16 interconnecting bikeways which make it very easy to get around. Bikes are welcome on the buses and many even offer bike racks so it is the perfect way to help you get around the city.  Once you have ridden around, park your bike and check out the city on foot. While you are there make sure you check out Chinatown as well as Gastown and make sure you have time for a bite to eat. While in Vancouver you must make time for some salmon and halibut which is guaranteed to be some of the best fish you have ever eaten. And of course while in Chinatown you must sample some Asian cuisine, it will be some of the best you have ever eaten.
 
Once you have hiked and eaten and are thoroughly exhausted it is now time for the beach. Check out one of the most fun beaches around, Kitsilano Beach. This is actually the busiest beach in the city and it has so much to offer. There is skating, volleyball, tennis courts, a playground and food. The main attraction however is the 445 foot heated saltwater pool. Not only is this one of the only heated saltwater pools in the world it happens to be the longest in all of Canada. So you will not want to miss it.

Remember to make some evening plans while you are there. Vancouver has a great night life that not only offers great food, but has fun clubs and great theatre as well. Enjoy your trip.        

If you have always wanted to visit one of the most wonderful cities in the world pick a date and pack your bags. Paris is the capital of France and is also the largest city in that country. IT is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and for good reason. Paris has some of the most well known tourist attractions that you just won’t want to miss. So let’s get you started on your Parisian journey.

One of my favorite things about travelling to Europe is the history and architecture of the buildings and entire cities. You just don’t get that in the states where everything is modern and new.  While in Paris you just feel the history in every part of you while you are there. Some of the must see parts of history include of course the Eiffel Tower. Actually this is one of the more modern attractions built for the World’s Fair in 1889. The structure is 1070 feet tall and you have so many options when visiting this treasure. You can go all the way up to the top by elevator, you can walk to the first or second levels you can go during the day or night, and you cannot go wrong with whatever option you choose, even if you choose to just observe it from afar. Another very recognizable landmark in Paris is Notre Dame. IT actually took about 170 years to create this unbelevieabely beautiful structure and if you have the time a tour will be well worth your while. The cathedral is open every day and it is free to get in, but get there early if possible because as you can imagine the line gets very long to get in. Another must see is of course the famous Louvre. Originally a royal palace it was turned into a museum back in 1793 and now is one of the most incredible art museums in the world. If possible plan on spending the entire day to make the most of your experience or even better if you have a lot of time, spend 3 days since there are 3 wings and visit a wing a day to see it all. My all time favorite place to visit is Versailles, which is one of the largest castles in the world. Talk about history, this is where it all happened starting back in 1623 with King Louis the XIII. IT started out as a small chateau until King Louis XIV has it enlarged in 1661. There are more than 700 rooms in the castle, 125 fireplaces, and 1800 acres of park and gardens which are almost as spectacular as the castle itself. It is an incredible sight that you will never forget.  And for some shopping and great people watching there is the famous Champs Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. You can visit amazing boutiques, eat fine French food and even go to the theater. This is one of the busiest streets in Paris as well as one of the most expensive. While in Paris take part in the culture and visit a cabaret. The most famous one is at the Moulin Rouge. The theater is huge and you can go for dinner or just drinks. The dinner is just ok, so if you are trying to decide what do to I recommend skipping dinner and just going for the show which is terrific.  Make sure you make reservations beforehand because it does get booked up.

On to some dining tips for you. French food has a reputation for good reasons there are a few places you won’t want to miss. Check out Altitude 95 which is inside the Eiffel Tower. The food is good and the views incredible. Also if you are travelling with children this is a good place to take them and you can’t always say that about the restaurants in France. If you love onion soup, this is one of the best soups your will ever have. Then there is the most adorable tea house, called Angelina’s, and is not far from the Louvre and is known for its hot chocolate. I know sounds crazy but until you try it you cannot roll your eyes. You will be amazed. So stop in for a pitcher and some sweet sweet pastries for a midday break from all your sightseeing. If you want to try the finest French dining experience check out La Tour de Argent. I warn you it is fancy (yes that means a tux) but if you have the money and you enjoy fine French food this will be worth every penny.

Paris will be one of the best vacations you ever have. It is also so close to many other wonderful European destinations so if you have the time think about flying into Paris but then taking a train to some other destinations like Rome or Naples and enjoy some beautiful parts of Italy as well. Enjoy, I wish I was coming with you.     

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