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6 experiences for an extra special Mother's Day

Taking a short getaway with your partner or friends is all well and good. But travelling with your mum on Mother's Day and enjoying some of the fabulous experiences we offer you today is truly priceless.

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Must See Paris Exhibitions

Everything about Paris is enchanting – its streets, stores, bistros, pastry shops, fashion – but, if there is one thing I’m crazy about its the cultural life. I could churn out post after post about the city’s theatres, street festivals and markets and underground concerts. But, today it’s time to open my diary and review the most exciting exhibitions due to grace the French capital in the coming months. There’s a bit of everything, from ancient classics to contemporary offerings. Pack your bags – we’re off to Paris!

1. Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting in the Louvre
Nobody was able to capture genre scenes of 17th-century Holland as masterfully as Johannes Vermeer. On display at the Louvre is an exhibition at which Vermeer and such contemporaries of his as Pieter de Hooch, Frans van Mieris, Gerrit Dou, Jan Steen and Gerard ter Borch face off in an interplay which denotes similarities and reveals influences. Until 22 May.

2. Iconic Henri Cartier-Bresson
One of the great milestones in the history of photography is the book, Images à la Sauvette. Iconic and defiant, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s title was published in 1952 and has now become a cult manual. With the cover design by Henri Matisse, it is the backbone of an exhibition which will appeal to devotees of both photography and the oeuvre of the father of photojournalism. At the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. Until 23 April.

3. Cy Twombly – A Complete Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou
The Centre Pompidou is celebrating its fortieth anniversary in style. One of the flagship exhibitions in this celebration is the retrospective devoted to Cy Twombly, who rates among the most influential visual artists of the 20th century. A hundred and forty sculptures, drawings, photographs and paintings yield an exceptional view of this multi-faceted artist, providing a unique angle on one of the undisputed greats.

4. Rodin – The Centennial Exhibition
Any history of sculpture would be unthinkable without mention of Auguste Rodin. He goes down in art history as a fundamental artificer and this year marks the centenary of his death. On display at the Grand Palais are some of the most celebrated works of the forerunner of modern sculpture, in an exhibition which also features pieces by other great masters who were influenced by Rodin. Works by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Antoine Bourdelle, Paul Claudel and Constantin Brancusi will share the space until 31 July.

5. Sky and Mysticism at the Musée d’Orsay
The sky and the stars are a recurring theme as of 19th-century symbolism. Such artists as Gauguin, Denis, Seurat, Monet, Klimt, Hodler, Munch, Van Gogh and Kandinsky were transported by the spirituality of nature and landscape. In the exhibition, Beyond the Stars. The Mystical Landscape from Monet to Kandinsky, the Musée d’Orsay, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, provides a look at the more mystical side of the work of these artists.

6. Appel Returns To Paris
On loan from the Karel Appel Foundation of Amsterdam, the Musé d’Arte Moderne (MAM) of Paris is exhibiting twenty-one paintings and sculptures by this artist, who died in 2006. Karel Appel, a founding member of the Cobra group, which started in Paris in 1948 and disbanded in 1951, strove to break free of the academicism of the period and produce a more spontaneous, experimental art, including a set of practices inspired by primitivism. Until 20 August.

Book your Vueling to Paris and soak up the art in some of these magnificent temporary exhibitions in the city’s paramount art centres.

Text by Aleix Palau

Photo by Yann Caradec


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Tracking Down Banksy in Calais

A few days ago, after Banksy had updated his website, we noticed that his work is now displayed at various points in “The Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, one of the largest camps in western Europe. Despite his identity still being cloaked in anonymity, Banksy is currently one of the most highly valued artists around. His sharp, critical wit is undoubtedly the hallmark of his work.

Noteworthy among the four new artworks he posted is the one showing Steve Jobs carrying an early-eighties Macintosh, with a sack slung over his shoulder, reminiscent of the bags the forced migrants often take with them on their harsh journey. This is clearly a reference to the whole migratory movement being enacted from Syria to Europe. Jobs was, of course, the son of a Muslim Syrian immigrant and was adopted by a middle-class family of Armenian origin. That is the conceptual link Banksy draws between Steve Jobs and the Syrian diaspora.

Another Banksy offering in the same area makes reference to a famous work by Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, painted between 1818 and 1819, depicting a group of castaways in danger, packed onto a drifting raft. This alludes to the dangerous voyage embarked on by many of these refugees who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean on flimsy rafts. In this version, the castaways are crying out for help to a modern cruise ship speeding past near the horizon. The artist had previously drawn attention to the issues surrounding the refugee crisis in a work entitled, Dismaland.

In addition to these artworks, members of Banksy’s team set up 12 permanent installations in Calais, and a makeshift children’s playground in the camp precinct. The materials used were either sourced locally or were remnants of the Dismaland project brought here for the purpose. This new project is known as Dismal Aid.

A Much Frequented But Little Visited City

Calais is primarily a city of passage. Some 15 million people are estimated to pass through it each year as it is a compulsory way station for access between France and England. In contrast, comparatively few people actually spend some time visiting the city. However, we can wholeheartedly recommend this city in the north of France, with little over 75,000 inhabitants and just 34 km from Dover, as a tourist destination. Its charm lies not in its architecture or monuments but in its privileged siting on the seaboard and the majestic Côte d’Opale.

The city is not celebrated for its grand monuments or buildings, but it does have such landmarks as the Musée Mémoire 1939-1945, dedicated to the Second World War and housed in a bunker, a sculptural group by Rodin known as The Burghers of Calais, located opposite the City Hall, and the Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode, the city’s Lace Museum. On display is a century-old mechanical loom with 3,500 vertical threads and 11,000 horizontal ones. Calais’ genuine heritage lies in its natural surroundings and local scenery is stunning. Come armed with your camera as the views are breathtaking. The attractive seafront is dotted with striped changing booths which take you back to the early 20th century. The sands stretch westwards for 8 km along the dune-filled Blériot beach, so named as it was here that the pioneer aviatorLouis Blériottook off on the first ever solo flight over the English Channel in 1909.

By the way, when you feel like having lunch or dinner, be sure to head for the Histoire Ancienne, a bistro specialising in regional and French dishes, some cooked on an open wood fire. This very pleasant, Parisian-style restaurant was opened in the 1930s. Prices are affordable, with dinner ranging from 19 to 28 euros.

Don’t miss your getaway to Calais – check out our flights to Lille here.


Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Rob Sinclair, Carawah, Olivier Duquesne

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Five markets to enjoy the charms of christmas in Vienna

Don't worry about the cold and snow at this time of year because the festive season has its own warm glow. And besides, you can always arm yourself against the low temperatures with two essential classics available at every self-respecting Weihnachtsmarkte (Christmas market): mulled wine (Glühwein) and punch (Punsch). 

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