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You Can Now Stay at a French Castle That Hosted Mozart and Voltaire

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/04/2019, 12:00 PM

Some of the biggest stars in 18th-century European culture—including Mozart as well as Age of Enlightenment thinkers Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Denis Diderot—spent time at the estate of Baron Jacques Pineau de Viennay in the castle-packed Loire Valley southwest of Paris.  Now you can stay there, too.  Following a meticulous renovation, the baron's summer residence has been reopened as ...

Meet UNESCO's New Cultural Heritage Inductees: Reggae, French Perfume, and More

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/05/2018, 12:00 AM

Reggae music from Jamaica, the Irish sport of hurling, Polish Nativity scenes, Korean wrestling, and about three dozen more arts, crafts, folk dances, foods, and festivals are the latest global traditions added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. (Pity the arts and tourism officials currently trying to squeeze that mouthful into quick after-dinner speec...

The South of France Is Getting a New Picasso Museum

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 02/10/2018, 12:00 AM

A former convent in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence is being transformed into a museum to house a trove of works by Pablo Picasso.  The driving force behind the project is the artist's stepdaughter, Catherine Hutin-Blay, whose mother, Jacqueline Roque, was the artist's second wife. (As it happens, both Roque and Picasso are buried just outside Aix-en-Provence, at the Château of Vauven...

Where's Everybody Going? The United Nations Provides Some Answers

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 08/20/2017, 10:15 AM

If you've been feeling more crowded than usual on vacation this year, it's not your imagination. The United Nations World Tourism Organization just released its tourism barometer report for the first four months of 2017, and it found that the number of overnight stays in destinations across the globe reached 396 million. That's some 22 million more than the same period for 2016. That growth reach...

One Year After Paris Terror Attacks, French Tourism Still Struggling

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/17/2016, 5:00 AM

November 13 was the first anniversary of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people—and France's tourism industry is still struggling to recover.  After a promising start to the year, incoming flights to the country dropped a little over 1% in the second quarter, while flights to Paris were down about 4%. Though final figures for the third quarter aren't available yet, analysts estima...

Where Travelers Concerned About Safety Are Going (It's Not France)

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 09/08/2016, 4:00 AM

Following the terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, and Nice that have taken place since November, we've heard a lot about how safety concerns are having a negative impact on tourism in those places.  The downturn has been especially pronounced in France, one of the world's top travel destinations. One recent report found, for example, that a million fewer people visited Paris from ...

France's High Court Strikes Down Burkini Ban

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/30/2016, 4:00 AM

As the United States has discovered in its own fight against terrorism, it can be difficult to combat militant extremists while preserving human rights.  The beaches of the French Riviera are the latest front in that struggle. On Friday, France's high court struck down the so-called burkini ban—a restriction on certain types of modest swimwear worn by some Muslim women.  In the wake of...

Steep Decline in Paris Tourism Following Terror Attacks

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/29/2016, 4:00 AM

From January to June of this year, a million fewer people visited Paris compared with the same period in 2015.  If you follow the news, you shouldn't have trouble figuring out the reasons for this sharp dropoff: recent attacks by Islamist militants in Paris as well as other locations in France including Nice and Normandy. Labor strikes and flooding in the French capital earlier this year h...

This Hotel is in Two Countries at Once

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/16/2016, 8:00 AM

The Hotel Arbez in the European village of La Cure is, bizarrely, located in two countries at once. Originally a grocery/pub, the building was bureaucratically cleaved in two when an 1862 border revision—everyone wanted the land because of the strategic importance of the nearby Vallee des Dappes—drew the line between France and Switzerland right through it. In 1921, it became a hotel. Now ...

Floating Hotels Drift into France and Japan

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/25/2016, 12:15 PM

Looks like floating hotels could become the latest trend in travel. The hip Hôtel Off Paris Seine is already bobbing in that river near the Pont Charles de Gaulle. And now an amusement park in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture has announced plans for a floating hotel that can be towed by boat. Located in an up-and-coming industrial neighborhood of Paris, the two-story Hôtel Off features a stylis...

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