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The Museums of Le Marais

When thinking of museums to visit in Paris, the first thing that springs to mind are the great temples of art, notably the Louvre, epitomised by the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, the Orsay Museum, featuring a stunning collection of Romanticism and Impressionism that will delight any art lover, and the Pompidou Centre, with one of the most comprehensive modern and contemporary art collections in the world.

However, apart from those grand institutions, Paris also has other venues where, in addition to art, you can discover the life and times of other personages associated with the city, or simply enjoy the works of private collections displayed in fabulous exhibition halls.

One of the trendiest districts of late is Le Marais, situated in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the right bank of the Seine. It boasts numerous venues where in some cases you can enjoy a different, less crowded and at once rewarding exhibition experience. Here, then, is our selection of some of the museums you should make a point of visiting while touring this colourful, cosmopolitan district.

Maison de Victor Hugo

Victor Hugo is the first protagonist in our selection as he is privileged to have his own museum in what is the nerve centre of Le Marais, the Place des Vosges. From 1832 to 1848, Victor Hugo lived on the third floor of the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée, where he wrote most of Les Misérables. Currently a museum, where visitors can gain greater insight into this essential figure of French literature.

Musée Picasso

Another great name, this time of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, makes up our second option. The Musée Picasso, housed in the Hôtel Salé, has a large collection of 200 paintings, 100 sculptures – this is the most prominent section in the museum – and ceramics, and 3,000 drawings and engravings covering all periods. It also features the painter’s own art collection, with works by Paul Cézanne and Henri Rousseau, among others.

Shoah Foundation

What started out as a monument to the “Unknown Jewish Martyr” grew into the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah, one of the largest Holocaust documentation centres in Europe. The Hebrew word shoah, which means “catastrophe”, is used to designate the Holocaust. The entrance to the building is inscribed with the names of the 76,000 Jews that were deported from France to the Nazi concentration camps.

Museum of Jewish Art and History

Situated in Le Marais is the Jewish quarter, known locally as the Pletzl (meaning “square” in Yiddish). It is worth strolling around the streets in the area and enjoying the sight of the colourful shops. While in this quarter, we recommend a visit to the Hôtel de Saint-Aignan, located at 71 Rue du Temple, as it houses the Museum of Jewish Art and History, where you can learn all about the history of the Jewish communities of France, Europe and North Africa, from the Middle Ages until the present.

Musée Cognacq-Jay

Housed in the Hôtel Donon, the Cognacq-Jay Museum features the 18th-century collection of artworks built up by Ernest Cognacq and his wife, Marie-Louise Jay, from 1900 to 1925. Your visit will reveal more than 1,200 works and objects collected by this couple of art collectors, the standout pieces being paintings by Canaletto, Tiepolo, Boucher, Fragonard, Greuze and Reynolds.

Museum of Magic and Museum of Automata

The Museum of Magic reveals the secrets behind the art of magic, conjuring tricks and illusionism. On display are all manner of items used to perform magic tricks (magic wands, boxes, magic caps, etc.) and visitors are treated to live shows, too. Also housed in this building is the Museum of Automata, boasting a collection of 100 mechanical contrivances which will amaze you. Ideal for those travelling with children.

Book your Vueling to Paris, tour one of the city’s trendiest districts and venture into some of its unusual museums.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Assayas, Sailko, Guillaume Baviere

 

 

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A Family Getaway on Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria has all you need for a great family escape – a plethora of beaches of all types, suitable both for toddlers and grown-ups; reserves where you can enjoy nature in all its splendour and embark on all kinds of adventures; leisure areas where children can have a whale of a time, and a climate which permits you to enjoy holidays at any time of year. What more could you ask for? Here, then, is a selection of several family holiday plans on Gran Canaria, where you will have an unforgettable time.

Beaches for Children

Admit it – the place where kids really have the best time is at the seaside, what with its mix of water and sand where they can play for hours on end. And, don’t deny it – it’s also the perfect spot for adults, where a good dose of sunlight and a refreshing dip help you leave all your worries behind. The beaches are one of the major draws to Gran Canaria and you can enjoy them all year around, thanks to the island’s mild climate. Nearly 236 kilometres of coastline offer just short of 60 kilometres of beaches of all kinds, from the kilometres-long sandy beaches to the more rugged, rocky coves with natural pools.

If you’re travelling with the kids, we recommend you make for the south of the island, to the area of Dunas de Maspalomas. Each year this beach attracts a host of vacationers seeking a well-earned rest and it is likely to be the perfect spot for your holiday, too. Other worthwhile options include Playa del Inglés, which is perfect for doing watersports, those of San Agustín and Las Burras, swathed in an aura of tranquility, and the beach of Las Canteras, renowned for being one of the finest urban beaches in the country. If you’re the more adventurous type, then head for El Puertillo and Agaete with their natural rock pools.

Activities for Children

Apart from the proverbial seaside, Gran Canaria also hosts numerous activities for all the family. Following are some pointers.

1. Gran Canaria – a Huge Nature Reserve
As far as nature goes, Gran Canaria is the equivalent of a miniature continent which stands out for its rich biodiversity. So, make a point of touring this grand Biosphere Reserve in search of its unique landscapes.

2. Dolphin Spotting
Dolphins can often be sighted in the south of the island and spotting them is thrilling for all the family. Enjoy a sailing adventure full of excitement as you wait for these friendly cetaceans to make their appearance. They are sure to treat you the odd acrobat leap as well. Your entertainment is guaranteed!

3. Theme Parks
Theme parks are a great standby when you are travelling with children. On Gran Canaria the young ones will have lots of thrills and spills careering down the water slides at Aqualand Maspalomas, venturing into the Wild West at Sioux City or testing their climbing skills on the various circuits at GrancAventura, among other things. And, while we’re on the subject, the Poema del Mar Aquarium will be opening to the public shortly. The aquarium recreates as accurately as possible the ecosystems of dozens of species that live both in and out of the water, so take note!

4. Surfing
A holiday on Gran Canaria is the ideal opportunity for youngsters to try their hand on a surfboard. La Cícer, on Las Canteras beach, and Las Alcaravaneras, in the heart of the city, are great spots for learning and practising this sport.

5. Sightseeing in Town
And, needless to say, a holiday on this fantastic island should also include a bus tour of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the island’s major city, its old town dating back 500 years. The atmosphere there is lively and you can do a welcome spot of shopping. Don’t miss out on it!

For further information, be sure to check out the website and blog at Turismo Gran Canaria.

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Bordeaux in Seven Steps

Bordeaux can boast of having emerged from a sweet slumber, deservedly earning it the name of “the Sleeping Beauty”, later becoming the “Pearl of Aquitaine”. Here are the keys to enjoying a city that has become an irresistible tourist destination.

1. Taste Its Wines

Why deny it? Wine is the region’s economic driving force and the main reason for Bordeaux being famous all over the world. A trip to this city is clearly the perfect excuse for venturing into its extensive wine realm. The local tourist office has a roster of 60 different circuits for touring the viticultural region’s wineries that have edged their way onto the international scene. Needless to say, you don’t actually have to leave Bordeaux to discover its wines. All you need to do is head for one of the bars or bistros to find them. Here are our recommendations:

- The Bar à Vin du CIVB is a city classic and has an extensive Bordeaux wine list.

- For those who prefer to accompany their wine with some good cheese, Bistrot du Fromager is their best option.

- Those on a tasting tour who also want to take away the odd bottle as a keepsake should drop in on La Conserverie-Converserie.

- And, you can even sign up for a course in wine tasting at L’École du Vin.

2. Be Dazzled by the Largest Water Mirror in the World

The Place de la Bourse (Bourse Square). also known as the Place Royale, is undoubtedly one of the major landmarks in Bordeaux. It was designed by Jacques Ange Gabriel, royal architect to Louis XV, and built from 1730 to 1755.This square heralded the moment when the city broke out of its medieval walls, marking the start of its age of splendour. Rectangular in shape, one side opens onto the river Garonne, while the centre is taken up by the Fountain of The Three Graces. The main attraction, however, is Le Miroir d’Eau (Water Mirror), one of the largest in the world, with a surface area of 3.450 m2. The interplay of reflections is fascinating and highly photogenic – if you’re travelling with children, it is sure to delight them.

3. Enjoy Its Heritage

After Paris, Bordeaux is the city with the largest number of protected monuments in France. One example of this is its harbour, known as the Port of the Moon, which was listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 2007. Set on a meander of the river Garonne, its nickname is derived from its crescent-moon or croissant shape. Most of the buildings in the harbour and environs reflect the ideals of the Enlightenment. Be sure to stroll through its streets and admire their unique beauty.

4. Take a Boat Ride Along the River Garonne

The river Garonne has long been a lynchpin of the city’s development. Indeed, in the 18th century, it was one of the most important ports in Europe. A novel way of viewing the city of Bordeaux is by taking in the different angles of it afforded by the river. All you need to do is turn up at the Port of the Moon and go on one of the available cruises. Of the myriad options to choose from, we recommend one that includes wine tasting and snacks while soaking up the views.

5. Be Inspired by Museum Offerings

Art lovers have a must-visit in the shape of the Museum of Fine Arts, noteworthy for its fine collection of Dutch paintings. If you’re an enthusiast of the latest in art trends, the place to be is the CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, located in a former warehouse for colonial goods. The Museum of Decorative Arts, housed in the Hôtel Lalande, is a showcase of bourgeois life in the 18th and 19th century, as seen through their decorative objects – furniture, sculpture, engravings, ceramics, cutlery and glassware.

6. Enjoy Nature in One of the Parks

Bordeaux has many parks where you can get a breather. The best known is the Jardin Public (Public Garden), set in the heart of the city. It was opened in 1755 and styled along the lines of Versailles, but subsequently re-styled as an English garden. It features an old carousel which children will love.

7. Eat Oysters in the Market

If you happen to spend a weekend in Bordeaux, make sure you head for the Marche des Capucines. This magnificent market offers top-notch produce and has a wonderful atmosphere. There, you will find stalls where you can taste oysters, seafood and fresh fish.

Book your Vueling here and see all the hidden charm of Bordeaux for yourself.

 

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr, Yann Chauvel, Bistro du Fromager

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8 Keys To Discovering Birmingham

1. Victoria Square – the Heart of the City

The city’s main historic buildings are located in this square, notably Council House with its clock tower – known as Big Brum –the Birmingham Town Hall and Birmingham Cathedral. Cultural events are held in the square, including the Frankfurt Christmas Market, laid out in the purest German Christmas-market style.

2. In Search of the Industrial Past

Birmingham was the main driving force behind the United Kingdom’s industrial revolution, which earned it acclaim as “the factory of the world”, or the “city of a thousand businesses”. Dating from that period is the city’s extensive network of canals. An enjoyable way of discovering them is to go for a ride on one of the colourful barges that ply the canals and take in the industrial heritage that has survived the test of time. It has also become a major leisure area, with pubs and restaurants to relax in before pressing on with your city tour.

One way of finding out how workers lived in the 19th century is to visit Back to Backs, a court of back-to-back houses which has been restored. Tours are organised to the precinct with its workshops, enabling you to get a better idea of that period.

3. Art and Museums – the pre-Raphaelites and Much More

The Birmingham Museum & Gallery Art (BMAG) boasts the world’s largest collection of pre-Raphaelites, with over 2,000 works on display. It also houses sections on archaeology, social history and the art of other periods. Enthusiasts of the contemporary avant-garde and the latest art trends should head to the Ikon Gallery, housed in an 1877 neo-Gothic building designed by John Henry Chamberlain.

4. More Than Just Books in The Library of Birmingham

Well worth visiting, if only for the stunning building housing this library on Centenary Square. This, the largest library in the United Kingdom, is also famed for having over 40,000 objects related to the life and work of William Shakespeare. You can also visit the Parker Collection of children’s books, that of the British politician, Benjamin Stone, with some magnificent photographs, one of the country’s largest collections of music for silent films, and a host of other exhibits.

5. Cadbury – More Than a Chocolate Factory

South of Birmingham lies Bournville, one of the city’s most beautiful districts. Among its chief landmarks, there is one coveted by all children – the Cadbury Chocolate Factory. Inside you will discover the history of one of the most important chocolate factories in the world. A must if you’re travelling with children.

6. The Jewellery Quarter – Jewels for Everyone!

Most of Birmingham’s jewellery production is centred in the Jewellery Quarter, where over 100 jewellers and experts in the sector are to be found. The district dates back to the 18th century and is the site of the only Georgian square in the city. Highly recommended is a tour of the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, an erstwhile factory and workshop converted into a museum where you can see how jewels are made, among other things.

7. Bullring Shopping Centre – the Temple of Shopping

Apart from being one of Birmingham’s architectural gems, it is an essential destination for shopping lovers. It houses no fewer than 160 stores where you can indulge in one of the United Kingdom’s favourite pastimes – shopping. Before you leave, make sure you take a selfie alongside the popular bull statue in the interior.

8. Sarehole Mill – A Place Which Inspired J.R.R. Tolkien

Some five kilometres from the city centre lies Sarehole Mill, one of the last two surviving water mills in the Birmingham area.J.R.R. Tolkienfans have good reason to make a pilgrimage to this spot, as just a few yards from the mill stands Tolkien’s old house. Both the water mill and its surrounding area was a source of inspiration for some of the scenes in Lord of the Rings.

Now you have the keys to discovering Birmingham; all that’s left is to pick up your Vueling here and see it all for yourself.

 

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Tony Hisgett, David Merrett, ozz13x, Fotorus, Tim Parkinson, Elliott Brown

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