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Christmas in Le Touquet

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The town invites you to the Palais des Congrès on Friday 27 November 2015 at 5.30 p.m. for the switching on of its incredible Christmas lights to the sounds of the Harmonie Jazz Band. Enjoy a magical evening that will enthral both young and old! From 19 December to 3 January you’ll also be able to take a spin on the ice skating rink and the ice path! And don’t miss the Christmas Market that will be held at the indoor marketplace on Saturday 12 December from 6.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. and all day on Sunday 13 December.   © Office de tourisme du Touquet The Enchanted Forest Visit the Enchanted Forest, with its many decorations and chalets full of foodie treats every weekend from the 27 November onwards, and every day from 19 December to 3 January, open from 2.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. The little ones will be able to deliver their letter to Father Christmas from 3.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. and immortalise the magic moment with a photo! Guided pony rides from the Enchanted Forest: every weekend in December and every day of the school holidays (except 25 December and 1 January) from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. You can also enjoy the town and its lights with a horse-drawn carriage ride: every weekend in December and every day of the school holidays (except 25 December and 1 January) from 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.   © Office de tourisme du Touquet The Christmas Village The Christmas village returns to Avenue du Verger! Discover its market stalls, artisans and food sellers as well as music and a fairy-tale carousel, a magical ride to thrill the whole family. Open every weekend from 27 November onwards and every day from 19 December to 3 January, from 2.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.   © Office de tourisme du Touquet Book your journey

Tour de France 2015 South

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Cycling's biggest event Tour de France 2015 is well under way, with cyclists furiously battling it out to be in possession of the coveted yellow jersey. The race started in Utrecht (for the first time in Le Tour's history) and has since worked its way across the northern part of France, with stage nine finishing in Brittany's Plumelec. After a quick flight down to Pau, where cyclists will have a day to rest, the race will recommence on the 14th of July from Tarbes, a commune in the Midi-Pyrénées region of south west France. Following our first instalment on the Tour de France - North, here's a recap of this year's Tour de France and our picks for the southern part of the race. Stage one in the Tour de France 2014 Recap - What's new in 2015? This year's race began on Saturday the 4th of July and will finish on Sunday the 26th. The first nine stages took place in Utrecht and the northern part of France, and the remainder will travel from south west to south east France, before cyclists fly to Paris for the final stretch along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. 22 teams are competing, racing through 21 stages of varying terrain, difficulty and distance, amounting to a massive 3,360km in total. Recap - What's the same in 2015? Like previous years, competitors are racing to wear one of the award category jerseys. These categories include best climber, young rider, and points classification. The yellow General Classification jersey, which is awarded to the cyclist with the best aggregate time, is the most sought after. Highlights of the Tour de France: South Stage 10: After a day's rest at Pau, watching the cyclists resume the race in stage 10 is sure to be exciting. The 167km stretch begins in Tarbes and ends with a difficult climb at La Pierre-Saint-Martin, a brand new site for Le Tour. Riders will be pushed to the very limit with a 15% gradient at around 25km long, which will make for great spectating. Stage 14: Although the majority of stage 14 is set to be fairly peaceful, the last 40kms are bound to be a thrilling watch. Cyclists will have to contend with three climbs, almost one after the other, before completing the 178.5km stage in Mende. Grab a spot along this last stretch to pick the best from best. Tour de France 2015 race route Stage 20: As the penultimate stage of the Tour de France 2015, stage 20 is perhaps the most crucial. This stage is not only full of challenging sections, but it's also the last chance for cyclists to make a real difference to the outcome of the Tour. The stage ends with the iconic alpine climb up the beautiful Alpe d'Huez - this is one for true cycling enthusiasts. Stage 21: The final stage of the Tour de France really is one of the best, and if you're going to choose just one stage to watch, then this is it. Cyclists will begin this leg at Sèvres, winding their way up to Paris and covering 109.5km, before racing up the Avenue des Champs-Élysées for what's guaranteed to be an unmissable sprint. Get down early to get a good spot, and watch on as the Tour de France 2015 winners are announced. Bravo! Want a piece of the action? Travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. You'll be in the thick of it before you can even say bonjour. Book your journey

Tour de France 2015 North

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The biggest cycling event There's no doubt that the Tour de France is the biggest event in the cycling calendar, attracting hundreds of thousands of track-side spectators and home-viewers from around the globe. Each year, the race route changes and new teams take part in what is regarded as the most notable cycling race in the world. Whether you're a cycling enthusiast or not, witnessing the Tour in action is a real sight to be seen, so here's our first instalment on the 102nd Tour de France, taking a look at this year's race and the highlights of the first nine stages. Spectators at stage one of the Tour de France 2014 History The first ever Tour de France was held in 1903 as a way of reviving L'Auto, a failing sports newspaper. The race was made up of six stages, each with an average distance of 400kms, starting in Paris and passing through Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes, before returning to the capital. The innovative and unique nature of the race captured the attention of people everywhere, popularising long distance cycling races and boosting newspaper circulation rapidly. The Tour was a huge success. It has since been taken over by the Amaury Sport Organisation, who continue to run the race today. What's new in 2015? The 2015 Tour de France will run from Saturday the 4th of July until Sunday the 26th, with nine stages in the northern part of France and the remainder in the south. The race starts in Utrecht and finishes, as has become tradition, with the final stretch along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. This year, there will be six new stage cities: Utrecht, Zélande, Livarot, La Pierre-Saint-Martin, Muret and Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest. The race will take place over 23 days, including two rest days, and will test 22 teams in 21 stages of varying difficulty, terrain and distance. The entire race distance will amount to a massive 3,360km. Cambridge, England, in the 2014 Tour de France What's the same in 2015? As with previous years, the Tour will feature various award categories, each signified by a different coloured jersey, including best climber, young rider and points classification. The most coveted is the yellow General Classification jersey, which is awarded to the cyclist with the best aggregate time. The leader in each category is calculated at the end of each stage, so the jerseys will change hands throughout the race. Highlights of The Tour de France: North Stage one: The northern part of the 2015 Tour de France begins with the Grand Départ in Utrecht in the Netherlands. As the first stage in the Tour and the only individual time trial of the whole race, this 13.8km stretch is guaranteed to be an exciting one to watch. The atmosphere will be buzzing and the crowds will be out in full force - a great stage to be track-side. Stage two of the Tour de France 2014 Stage four: Stage four of the route sees the return of cobblestones for the second year running, with a whopping seven secteurs of pavé for riders to navigate. It also happens to be the longest stretch of the race, covering a huge distance of 223.5kms. Cyclists will begin at Seraing, Belgium and make their way to Cambria, France, providing spectators with plenty of places to catch a glimpse of the racers in action. Stage six: During stage six, competitors will race along the French coast, from Abbeville to Le Havre, passing through beautiful scenery as they go. Watch from one of the many picturesque spectator spots in the Seine-Maritime region, including the famous cliffs of Etretat. Yorkshire, England, in the Tour de France 2014 Stage nine: As well as being the final stage in the north of France, stage nine is also the team time-trial stage. The 28km stretch will go from Vannes to Plumelec, and will end with a climb at Côte de Cadoudal. This stage could prove tricky as some cyclists are bound to have exited the race already, leaving teams short of competitors. Want a piece of the action? With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle you can travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, so you can be track-side in no time at all. Book your journey

Bilbao City Guide

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A diverse city Bilbao is a city packed with culture and boasts a diverse history. Once an important industrial hub, due to the iron quarries of the Biscay Bay area, it is only in recent years that the city has become the arts and culture centre that we know it as today. Evidence of this gritty past can be seen when exploring the city's interesting architecture, but the surroundings are packed with natural beauty too. The city's urban centre is overlooked by two modest mountain ranges, and these are lined with fantastic walking and hiking routes. Main Attractions The Guggenheim Museum Perhaps the most well-known of Bilbao's attractions, the Guggenheim museum was hailed as an important architectural feat when it was erected in 1997, and has developed since then to become a respected institution in the arts and culture scene. Its vast collection covers artworks from the mid-20th century to more modern pieces from today's art world, and it's known for having a great selection of post-war art from America and Europe. The building itself is constructed from titanium, limestone, and glass, to create an amazing contemporary structure of seemingly random shapes. If you're travelling with kids, there are some fantastic activities for babies and young children, as well as live concerts held in the evenings. Basilica of Begoña When you're in Bilbao, check out the beautiful Gothic-style basilica to the east of Bilbao's centre. It took many years to build, starting in 1511, and over this time some Renaissance influences were added to the architecture, making it a particularly interesting structure. Set on top of a picturesque hill, the cathedral is surrounded by beautiful gardens and if you climb the tower, you'll get some stunning views of the city. The contrast between new and old architecture can be enjoyed throughout the city. Plaza Nueva Created in 1821, this Neoclassical square is a great place to stop for some lunch when exploring the city. The 'New Square' is lined with pillared archways, and is home to lots of different restaurants and traditional Basque tavernas, and if you visit on Sundays you'll find a great market, selling everything from books, to flowers and jewellery. This part of Bilbao is a perfect example of the 18th century squares that are common in other places like San Sebastián and Seville, with large balconies overlooking the square. It's a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon, and the whole family can enjoy perusing the tavernas, and buying some holiday gifts for loved ones back home. Enjoy a coffee at Bilbao's scenic New Square. Doña Casilda Iturrizar park Bilbao is dotted with lovely urban parks that are great for games, picnics and soaking up the city sun, but one that stands out is Doña Casilda Iturrizar park. You'll find it in the pleasant neighbourhood of Indautxu, and it was the city's first large green space. Created in an English-style, it's a pretty, classical looking park which serves as a pleasant escape, away from the hustle and bustle of the city's streets. Features of the park include a pergola and a fountain that lights up at night, to produce beautiful light and sound displays. There's also a large duck pond in the park which attracts lovely local wildlife, so you can take the kids to feed the ducks or enjoy a romantic stroll around the Parque de los Patos (Duck's Park). In one corner of the park, you'll find the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, which contains a wonderful selection of both Basque and European art from the Middle Ages, to the present day. The building itself is stunning, and the classic design of the original building contrasts delightfully with the modern wing, which was added in the 1970s. Take the kids to feed the ducks at 'Duck Park'. Gran Vía District When you visit a thriving city like Bilbao, you might want to do a spot of shopping. Bilbao's main avenue is Gran Vía de Don Diego López de Haro, a long stretch of shops, restaurants and tavernas, which run from east to west just south of Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturrizar. Stretching out for about a mile, the street is an important commercial hub in the city and has attracted world-class shops and designers, so whatever it is you need to purchase, you'll find it here! It's regarded as Bilbao's most iconic and recognisable street, and amongst the dazzling shops and restaurants, you'll see beautiful 19th century buildings and even works of art in the form of a large baby's head, created by sculptor and painter Antonio López García. Casco Viejo Spanish for 'old quarter', Casco Viejo is a wonderful part of historic Bilbao. The oldest part of this neighbourhood is made up of seven streets, which has given it the name Las Siete Calles (The Seven Streets). There's lots to see in this part of the city, from historical churches to the food market, Mercado de la Ribera. This huge covered market is a lovely place to pick up local delicacies, and you'll find everything you need from fresh meat to delicious locally grown vegetables. The buildings around Casco Viejo are notable for being colourful and interesting, and they pop out against the other more industrial parts of the city. If you're exploring the old quarter, remember to head to Bilbao Cathedral. Built between the 14th and 15th centuries, this beautiful building is a mixture of architectural styles, predominantly Gothic, although the portico is in a Renaissance style. The old quarter is a charming part of the city. Getting Around When visiting Bilbao you'll find that much of the city is made up of one-way streets, which are often quite narrow, and whilst a car is fantastic for day trips to the surrounding Basque Country, within the city itself, walking is a great way to get around to get a feel for the city. MetroBilbao is a smooth service that takes passengers down two main routes across the city, and it's a really convenient and reasonably priced way to get around. If you're headed to the Guggenheim museum, take the EuskoTran from Atxuri Station. This green tram takes a scenic route along the river and it's a great way to get to the museum directly. A charming way to see the city is by taking the Artxanda Funicular. This cable railway takes you to the summit of Mount Artxanda, where you'll find beautiful views of the city, as well as a park and restaurants. Getting there and around Bilbao is about half a day's drive from Calais, and with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle taking you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, it's a really great trip to take with the whole family. Book your journey

Best Roads to Drive in Europe

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Choose your journey Whether you're a car enthusiast, or just love to cruise along vast roads with your windows wound down, Europe has plenty of stunning drives that are bound to get your motor running. To get you inspired for your next drive, we've put together a list of some of the continent's best drives, from the hauntingly beautiful Schwarzwald in Germany, to the mountainous Alps. France Route de Gentelly Located deep in the Alpes-Maritimes in Southern France, the Route de Gentelly is one of the most scenic drives in the country. Traditionally, drivers are advised to start their journey from the charming town of Vence, a place dotted with cobbled paths and rustic Mediterranean-styles buildings. From there, drive further into the mountains towards Col de Vence, a road lined by rocky green verges. Continue through to the village of Gréolières, a beautiful place that's contained by rugged mountains and cliffs, which become sheathed in snow during the winter months. From Gréolières, take an upright turn where you'll come face to face with Route de Gentelly (D2). Along this road, you'll get to enjoy the twists and turns, as well as the unusual rocky arches that have formed over and around the tarmac. There's also a stunning stretch of straight roads that lead you through the breathtaking forest, so be sure to wind down your windows and breathe in the fragrant air. Germany Schwarzwaldhochstraße The Schwarzwaldhochstraße is a road that sweeps through and beyond the ever-enchanting Schwarzwald, or Black Forest. The scenic route covers over 60-kilometres, and reaches elevations of between 600 and 1000 metres, so you can look forward to enjoying breathtaking vistas of the Rhine plain and Vosges mountains. Begin your journey in the spa town of Baden-Baden, where greenery and delightful architecture are in abundance. On top of its great sights, it's also a great place to enjoy a bite to eat before your big adventure. From Baden-Baden, drive up and along the steep and curved roads to the castle of Bühlerhöhe, where you can look forward to incredible views high above the forest. Don't worry about missing out on the scenery as you're driving though, there are plenty of lay-bys where you can pull-over and really take the time to breathe in the mountain air, and relish in the surrounding natural beauty. Enjoy views of the Schwarzwald. Italy Stelvio Pass Located between the commune of Stilfs and the town of Bormio, the Stelvio Pass is one of the highest paved mountain passes in the continent, with the roads reaching elevations of 9,045-feet above sea level. The zig-zagging highways race across the jagged landscape, winding in and around the vast green valleys. Although there's no right or wrong way of driving through the pass, many motorheads advise beginning from the north-west side, so that you ascend the mountain and really get to enjoy the slow climb up. Yet, coming down is just as sensational, and has plenty of stopping points for those of you looking for the perfect photo opportunity. If you'd prefer to take on a stretch of curvier, twisting roads, make sure you head north onto the challenging but picturesque Umbrail Pass. Be blown away by the epic twists and turns of the Stelvio Pass. Austria Großglockner Hochalpenstraße One of the continent's most famous roads, the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße leads you up to Austria's highest mountain, the Großglockner, which stands at an impressive 12,461-feet high. The road itself is 48-kilometres long, contains 36 bends, and passes by gorgeous alpine meadows, scented forests and giant cliffs that loom over fleeting cars. On top of the impeccable views you'll witness as you change gear and take on the winding turns and twists of this breathtaking road, there's also the Hohe Tauern National Park. The largest national park in the country, it's the perfect place to park up your park and enjoy a hike across the fields of tall grass and wild flowers. As well as the beautiful scenery, you'll also get to enjoy the local wildlife, from spotting the mountain goats as they clamber up sheer cliffs, to scouring the skies for hunting eagles. Take in the impeccable vistas that surround the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße. Switzerland Furka Pass Connecting the quaint hamlet of Gletsch in the canton of Valais to Realp in Uri, the Swiss Furka Pass is a road that stretches right through this region of mountainous beauty. Snaking through the vast green valleys, the Furka Pass contains many challenging hairpin turns and steep grades that require some driving skill and strong focus. It'll be all worth it though, especially when you catch glimpses of the glittering Rhone Glacier and wildlife, which can be found dotted across the fields. The Furka Pass is such an idyllic road that back in 1964, it was used as a location for the James Bond film, Goldfinger. In that specific scene of the film, James Bond is shot speeding along the zig-zagging roads in his Aston Martin DB5, as he's hounded by Tilly Masterson. Make the same journey as Sir Sean Connery, picturing yourself as a top spy racing through the depths of the Swiss Alps. Try not to be too distracted by the tremendous beauty of the Furka Pass. Getting there and around If one of these drives has got you inspired to rev your engine and begin a trip of a lifetime, make sure you book your Channel crossing with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It takes just 35-minutes to make that initial journey, so you'll soon be taking on the hairpin turns and steep stretches of Europe's best roads. Book your journey

Pilsen City Guide

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A place of religion and history, Pilsen is the Czech Republic's hidden gem. This year, Pilsen, or Plzeň as it's spelled in Czech, was awarded the joint title of European Capital of Culture, with the city of Mons in Belgium, so it's no surprise that it's one of the most fascinating and charming cities to visit. To inspire you for your visit to this captivating city, we've put together a guide to making the most of your time there. From exploring the city's beautiful places of worship, to having fun at the local breweries, Pilsen is a city for every taste. History and culture The Great Synagogue, Velká Synagoga The Great Synagogue, Velká Synagoga, is the second largest synagogue in Europe, and an amazing example of Czech architecture. Its original designs were put forward by Viennese architect, Max Fleischer, which included 65-metre high towers and gothic-style buttresses. But, the government didn't want the synagogue to compete with the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew elsewhere in the city, and so Fleischer's design was scrapped and replaced with Emmanuel Klotz's, which lowered the towers to just 20-metres, and changed the gothic design to include an oriental theme and neo-renaissance style. The finished building features a mix of styles from around the world, and includes a giant star of David on the front exterior, a breathtaking roof of red and white tiles, and beautiful domes. The beautiful sights of Plzeň. The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, Katedrála Sv. Bartoloměje The Cathedral of St. Bartholomew, or Katedrála Sv. Bartoloměje, is another example of Pilsen's amazing architecture, and is definitely worth exploring during your trip. Located on the city's main square, this wondrous example of gothic architecture was completed in the 16th century, and includes a spire that is 102.6-metres high, making it the tallest church in the Czech Republic. To really appreciate its beauty, wander inside to admire its stunning interiors, such as the deep-red bricks that make up the walls, and the long, tall stained glass windows that let in a rainbow of light. Plzeň Historical Underground For an extraordinary glimpse into Pilsen's past, make your way down to the city's underground, a system that was built from as early as the 14th century, and completed during the 19th century. Of the 11-kilometres of tunnels that have been excavated, 500-metres of this underworld labyrinth of passages, cellars and wells is open for you to explore. Guided tours are available, and various exhibitions and displays include a treasure trove of medieval findings that will fascinate and amaze you. Museum of West Bohemia Founded in 1878, The Museum of West Bohemia is huge, including a range of many other museums and galleries, such as the Museum of Religious Art of the Pilsen Diocese and the Puppet Museum. The museum features a vast collection of historical, artistic and scientific artefacts, and provides visitors with fascinating exhibitions, lectures, guided tours and workshops throughout the year. Exhibitions past and present have explored a range of interesting topics, such as Czech and German Bohemia during the 19th century, via a collection of historical artefacts, including books, money and busts. Past exhibits featured archaeological studies, such as palaeontology, which included rare and unusual paleontological specimens. Fun things to do DinoPark For a fun day out with your kids, make your way over to DinoPark and Pilsen's Zoo, where you can explore and admire life-sized dinosaurs and exotic animals. You and your kids can pose for photos with the park's Tyrannosaurus Rex and Diplodocus, explore life underwater in the 3D cinema's Dino Aquarium, and get to grips with the animals in the zoo. From watching the flamingos huddle together, to admiring the beauty of the prowling cheetahs, your kids will love learning about animals and reptiles from the past and present. Explore the dinosaurs at DinoPark Techmania Science Center If you and your family love learning about science, head over to Pilsen's Techmania Science Center, for a day of scientific fun. Established in 2005 by Škoda Investment, this wonderful science centre is home to a range of interactive exhibits, as well as the Czech Republic's first 3D Planetarium. During your time there, take part in the many exhibitions, such as Man Versus Animal, where you can learn how we compare to the force of other species, or discover just how powerful water is in the wet and interactive Water World. On top of all of the fun exhibits, be sure to stop by the planetarium, where you can sit back and watch a range of 2D and 3D dome projections of educational movies that explore the world of astronomy. Pilsner Urquell Brewery Pilsner is a famous type of pale lager, which has been brewed in the city of Pilsen since 1842. Golden in colour, with a high foaminess and light flavour, the Czech version of the lager is a true delight to drink during a sunny day spent sightseeing. If you want to learn more about the country and city's favourite beer, a trip to Pilsner Urquell Brewery is a definite must. During a tour of the brewery, you'll find out all about the history of the beer and how it's made. You'll also get the chance to attend the brewery's beer tapping school, where expert staff will teach you how to correctly tap your beer, give lessons on the correct lingo to use, and you'll get a ride on the onsite horse and carriage, during a tour of the brewery's grounds. Where to eat Zumbera This classic Czech restaurant is the perfect place for those of you looking to sample delicious and homely Czech cuisine. Popular choices include the ribs, which are served with garlic and plum sauce, and the pork knee with potato croquettes and tomato salad. For dessert, you can look forward to enjoying plates of pancakes covered in chocolate and fresh fruit, which goes perfectly with a pint or two of the local beer. Na Parkánu Located in a historical building that was once used as a prison and a locksmith's workshop, this charming restaurant offers a modern take on traditional Czech dishes. On a sunny day, sit on the outdoor terrace, and dig into roasted sausages with mustard and horseradish, or fried pork schnitzel with delicious potato dumplings. After your main, you can finish your evening with a portion of apple strudel covered in nuts and whipped cream, as well as a pint of beer in the neighbouring brewery museum. El Cid For something a little different, check out El Cid, an amazing tapas restaurant that's perfect for when you fancy a quick nibble. Snack on marinated octopus or Spanish Serrano ham with caramelised pear, or try the restaurant's Asian influenced dishes, which include pork tenderloin wrapped in nori seaweed, which is served with wasabi mashed potato and pickled ginger. Places to stay Budget For somewhere cheap, but full of character, book a stay at the Hostel River,, where rooms go for as low as just £10 a night. Located close to the River Radbuza, the city centre and Pilsner Urquell Brewery, this charming hostel includes spacious rooms with comfortable beds and sofas, as well as a garden where you can enjoy barbecues during the summer. Mid-range For somewhere comfortable, that doesn't break the bank, enjoy a stay at the Courtyard Pilsenhotel, which is run by the Marriott group. The hotel includes delightful rooms that are pet friendly, so you can bring along your four-legged friends, as well as an onsite gym and eatery, the Pils`n`Grill Restaurant & Bar. After a busy day exploring the city's sights, relax on your room's balcony with a glass of wine, and enjoy a perfect end to a brilliant day. Luxury For accommodation like no other, book an apartment with Golden Fish Hotel Apartments,where luxury and comfort are top priorities. Located close to the stunning Borský Park, this four-star collection of apartments is perfect for those of you looking for something special during your time in Pilsen. Each apartment is stylish and chic, and includes a beautiful bathroom, comfortable bedding and a living space with TV. On top of the accommodation, the hotel also includes an amazing restaurant and bar, that's perfect for when you fancy a relaxing evening in. Enjoy the expensive taste of Spain's angulas. Getting there and around It takes just 35-minutes to cross the Channel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle,meaning you'll be on the road and on your way to Plzeň in no time at all. Book your journey

Europe's Most Unusual Local Delicacies

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Taste your way through some of Europe's most unusual local delicacies. When travelling through Europe, often the best part is sampling the delicious cuisine that varies from one country to the next. With every Michelin-starred restaurant, there's a local diner where the very best, and often more unusual, local delicacies are served. If you're feeling adventurous, and want to challenge your taste buds, follow our inspiring guide to the most cherished, yet strangest, dishes throughout the continent. France Escargot This typical French dish consists of land snails, which have been removed from their shells, cooked in garlic butter, and then placed back in their shells for presentation purposes. The molluscs are seasoned with fresh herbs, such as parsley and thyme, and are often served with pine nuts in a garlic sauce. When dining out, you'll be provided with specialist cutlery, which include a tong to hold the shell, and a fork to pick out the tender meat of the snail. Cuisses de Grenouille Cuisses de Grenouille, or frog legs, is a true French delicacy, and a dish that's renowned across the English speaking world. Traditionally, this dish is eaten in the region of Dombes, in the south of the country, where it's often served grilled and smothered with garlic, butter and fresh herbs. The dish mainly uses the back legs of a frog, and the texture is often compared to that of chicken, with the flavour having hints of fish. If you can get past the thought of eating a frog, this is a delightful delicacy that you'll learn to love. Frog legs being grilled with herbs Andouillette sausage The andouillette sausage is a coarsely cut sausage made from pork intestines, wine, and onions, and is seasoned with pepper. A true andouillette sausage is rarely seen outside of France, so if you're unsure you're buying the real thing at the local market, you'll be able to confirm by catching the strong, distinct odour the sausages omit. Although you may be put off initially by the thought of eating this unusual sausage, it has a large fan following from around the world, known as the Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentique. The sausage can be served hot or cold, depending on your preference, but one of the best ways to enjoy this strange delicacy is with a rich red wine sauce. Can you brave the smell of the andouillette sausage? Germany Zungenwurst Otherwise known as blood tongue, zungenwurst is a German head cheese that's made up of pig's blood, suet, bread crumbs, oats and pickled cow tongue. It tastes delicious when sliced and fried in butter, so don't be put off by the clear jelly casing that reveals the tongues and blood inside. If you fancy trying this when travelling through Germany, as well as the many other head cheeses available, visit one of the local delicatessens. Slices of zungenwurst go perfectly in sandwiches. The Netherlands Paardenrookvlees Paardenrookvlees, or smoked horse meat, is a Dutch delicacy that's commonly served sliced and in sandwiches. If you want to try it out during your trip to the Netherlands, make your way over to a local delicatessen, where it's often prepared and sliced on site. Paardenrookvlees is not alone in Dutch cuisine; horse meat is a popular alternative to beef in the country, and can be found in many restaurants across the country. In Amsterdam, the Steakhouse Piet de Leeuw restaurant is a great example of chefs producing great tasting beef and horse steaks. Enjoy the succulent horse steaks with a large portion of crispy fries, and end your meal with delicious vanilla ice cream with a topping of your choice. Dig into smoked horse meat. Portugal Dobrada Guisada This Portuguese tripe stew is a popular dish amongst locals, despite its unusual main ingredient of offal. This traditional dish is common in the city of Porto, and is often cooked with beans, vegetables and sausages in a rich sauce, and served with polenta. The love for tripe goes back many years, right into the medieval ages, and now the meat is so much a part of the city's culture, that the locals of Porto are often referred to as tripeiros, or tripe eaters. The famous dish can be found in most restaurants in Porto, so just grab a table and ask the waiter for a generous helping of dobrada guisada. Tripe is a popular ingredient in Portuguese cuisine. Italy Casu Marzu Casu Marzu is a Sicilian sheep's milk cheese, and is often referred to as maggot's cheese because of the live larvae that lives inside it. The cheese is created when pecorino cheese is left outside with the top of the rind removed to ferment, and to allow the piophila casei fly to lay eggs inside the cheese. As the maggots begin to eat their way through the cheese, the acid from their digestive system breaks down the cheese's fats to give it the soft texture its renowned for. The cheese can only be eaten when the maggots are alive, and as they can jump up to six inches when disturbed, it's advised that you cover your face when eating. To truly enjoy this unusual cheese, it is best to spread it onto pieces of the traditional Sardinian flat bread, pane carasau. Sample the soft casu marzu cheese, just watch out for those flying maggots! Stracotto d'asino If you ever find yourself in the historical region of Lombardy, a great local delicacy to try is stracotto d'asino, or donkey stew. During the 19th century, this dish was a well-loved winter meal that took around eight hours to cook, which left the usual sinewy meat tender and soft. Nowadays, the meat is cooked with red wine, tomato sauce, juniper berries and bay leaves, making it a delicious meal to enjoy during a cosy evening in. Spain Angulas Angulas are baby eels, which measure just three inches long, and look like small silvery pieces of spaghetti. Although petite in size, these delicious delicacies come priced at over 1,000 Euros per kilogram, making them an expensive treat. If you do decide to invest in a portion of these during your Spanish travels, treat them with the care and attention they deserve when cooking. For the best result, fry them with garlic, chili and salt, and eat them while they're still hot. Enjoy the expensive taste of Spain's angulas. Getting there and around If you're feeling adventurous, and fancy sampling one of these unusual culinary delicacies, make sure you book your journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It only takes 35-minutes to cross the Channel, so you'll be enjoying paardenrookvlees sandwiches and escargot in no time at all. Book your journey

Secret Amsterdam

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Creativity and fun around every corner Famous for its arts and culture scene, Amsterdam attracts visitors throughout the year, who come to enjoy the bustling nightlife and charming architecture. Whilst the city is a fun, busy hub of activity, some little known places still exist, and these can be enjoyed away from the crowds. Places to unwind Hofje van Brienen Amsterdam is full of beautiful spots that serve as wonderful places to simply sit and enjoy the scenery. When strolling through the city streets, you might pass by one without realising, as they are often hidden behind large doors. When opened, these doors lead you into wonderful, quiet courtyards. One of the best districts to find these secret courtyards is Jordaan, which is home to Hofje van Brienen. Found on Prinsengracht, just north of Prinsenstraat bridge, this peaceful courtyard, or hofje, dates back to 1806 when it was inaugurated. Hofjes are enclosed by almshouses, which were originally built to house elderly people who, often widowed, did not have the financial means to look after themselves. Take a stroll through this district and look out for other hidden gardens, however remember that many of them are privately owned, so noise should be kept to a minimum. Amsterdam's hofje's are full of flowers and are a peaceful place to unwind Schellingwouderpark Amsterdam is dotted with pleasant green spaces, but particularly in the warmer months, the city parks can become a little crowded. In Amsterdam Noord you'll find Schellingwouderpark, a wide open stretch of land that has been dedicated to preserving the local ecosystem. A former industrial waste site, the park is the city's newest green space, opened in 2010. This park is a great place to visit when it's hot, as it's quieter than Amsterdam's other parks and the IJ lake gives off a cooling presence. Earlier in the year is still a wonderful time to visit, as you can walk along the riverbank and see wildflowers, and even take a swim. No shops or amenities are in the area, so remember to bring a picnic! Farmer's Market on Noordermarkt The street markets in Amsterdam are a fantastic place to meet locals and pick up some holiday treats. The most renowned market in the city, and perhaps the Netherlands, is Albert Cuypmarkt, but there are others that attract fewer tourists, and offer a more authentic experience. One such place is the Farmer's Market on Noordermarkt, which runs every Saturday from 9am until 3pm. This is a small and vibrant market, specialising in natural and healthy goods, like cheeses, honey, bread and homemade cakes. It's a great place to go if you want to use local produce in your cooking. Other notable markets include the Art Plein Spui Market, which sells lovely small prints and canvases every Sunday, and the Flower Market, which floats on houseboats along the Singel canal. The floating flower market is the only one in Europe of its kind Secret Culture The Movies If you're a movie buff, you'll love Amsterdam for its great selection of cinemas, and one of the most famous buildings in the city for film is the EYE institute. However, for something a little more low-key, head to The Movies Art House Cinema(simply known as The Movies). With a focus on niche art-house films, rather than international hits, The Movies is Amsterdam's oldest working cinema, having been open since 1912. The inside of the building is decorated with a beautiful art deco style throughout, with old film posters and an in-house bar and restaurant. Check their schedule, as they show Hollywood box office hits from time to time. Geelvinck Museum Amsterdam is bursting with great museums, from the famous Rijksmuseum to the iconic Anne Frank Museum, but there are other interesting places to learn about the city's history. Created during the 17th century, when Amsterdam was a thriving trading hub, the Geelvinck Museumcan be found along the Herengracht canal, and is a living memory of life for the wealthy bourgeois of the time. Inside the building you'll see beautiful period furniture, and detailing like bespoke flooring and glasswork. The main rooms include the reception room, coach house and the museum even has its own stunning gardens, perfect for a stroll on a sunny day. The Geelvinck Museum's gardens Cobra Museum of Modern Art Art fans amongst you may know of Amsterdam's thriving arts district in Jordaan, which is the Netherland's most famous creative neighbourhood, and the city is famous for the Van Gogh Museum. However, we encourage you to dig a little deeper into Amsterdam's artistic past, to discover the CoBrA movement. The movement was created in the late 1940s with members from three cities (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam) and produced some inspiring avant-garde works of art. Inspired by primitivism, outsider art and children's drawings, the paintings at the Cobra Museumare colourful and full of movement. The museum is a great place to learn about the movement, and they hold fantastic educational activities for kids, as well as cultural workshops. People stroll through the Cobra Museum Underground Restaurants De Stadskantine Foodies will love Amsterdam for its cosy restaurants, which serve high quality, interesting food. However, if you visit the city having done little or no planning, these gastronomic gems can be a little hard to find. One restaurant that we love for its reasonable prices and healthy options is De Stadskantine. The daily changing menu provides one fish, one meat, and one vegetarian course, and it's a really great alternative to some of Amsterdam's more expensive restaurants. Sit at long, wooden, canteen-style tables and try these delicious variations of traditional Dutch dishes for yourself, in a local laidback atmosphere. Wink If you want somewhere a little more special during your stay, head to Wink. This small-scale restaurant serves up fresh, seasonal dishes, headed by chef Natasja Postma, and opened in 2013. The weekly changing menu focuses on local food providers, and the dishes are really inventive, such as chicken, served with a fine chicory tart, orange cream and smelt tempura. If you're a fan of beer, Wink has a great selection from Amsterdam's best breweries, as well as an impressive wine list. Wink is small and casual but serves up delicious food Secret Sleeping Misc Eatdrinksleep Amsterdam is home to some truly grand hotels, but when visiting a city, we like to sleep somewhere a little more intimate. If you're keen to experience the city's nightlife, and want to get your teeth into what life is like in the city centre, try staying at Misc Eatdrinksleep. Sitting on the edge of Amsterdam's red light district, this sweet little hotel offers a cosy hideaway from the bustling streets. The building is a 17th century canal house, and has just six rooms. The owners are friendly and helpful, and give your stay a personal touch that isn't available at some of the larger hotels. The Blue Sheep If you're looking for a stay that is a little cheaper and more family-friendly, check out The Blue Sheep. This B&B in the heart of the city dishes up an organic breakfast every morning, and whilst it's in the centre of town, it is hidden down a quiet alley just off of the Singel canal. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and the establishment is run by a husband and wife team, giving it a family-friendly vibe. The couple can give you insider's information about where to go in the city, and if you need more space, they also offer apartment suites that are reasonably priced. Getting there and around Amsterdam is under five hours in the car from Calais, so it's a wonderful place to visit time and time again. With the journey from Folkestone to Calais taking just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttleyou have lots of time to check out our secret guide to Amsterdam! Book your journey

Secret Cultures of Europe

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Catalan The northeast of Spain is home to one of the country's most historic regions - Catalonia. Catalan nationals stand out from their Spanish counterparts in that they have a distinctive culture. Catalan survived in secret for thirty years during the Franco dictatorship, and whilst Barcelona is by far the region's largest city, we recommend exploring the rest of Catalonia to get to grips with this proud and individual culture. Beautiful nature There are many beautiful parts of Catalonia to explore, from the heights of the Pyrenees to the beautiful beaches on its east coast, it makes for the perfect family adventure. The beautiful town of Cadaqués sits on the very tip of Catalonia's east coast, and has been influenced throughout history by places such as Greece and Rome. You can while away the hours wandering through its Medieval old town and you'll find a contrast of Modernist-style buildings lining the seafront, some of which were influenced by Cuban architecture. Girona The city of Girona is a really easy drive from Barcelona and contains some incredibly interesting and unique sights. You'll find wonderful Romanesque and Gothic architecture, as well as one of the most well-preserved Jewish quarters in Catalonia, The Call. Venture down these narrow historic streets and be sure to visit the Museu d'Història dels Jueus, which gives a detailed look at the tumultuous history of the Jewish community in Spain. North of Girona you'll find the town of Figueres, which is home to the incredible Teatre-Museu Dalí. Explore this astonishing building to discover a selection of the artist's work, and visit the famous Torre Galatea where Salvador Dalí spent the last years of his life. Catalonia cuisine One thing you'll notice when exploring Catalonia is the abundance of Botifarra (a type of sausage). There are more than a dozen different types of sausage in this region of Spain, so head to one of the many meat markets to sample them for yourself! The most common is Botifarra, which is a simple, thick sausage made of pork. Another great dish to enjoy is Escudella i carn d'olla - a traditional Catalan stew. It contains large pilota meatballs and delicious fresh vegetables. Often you'll find that the stew contains pasta or rice, which makes it a really hearty dish. For those of you with a sweet tooth, we love Xuixos. These are a traditional sweet pastry stuffed with Crema Catalena (similar to crème brûlée), and are coated in sugar to create a tasty treat! Basque You'll find the Basque Country in the very south of France, stretching over the border into northern Spain, on the western part of the Pyrenees. With such beautiful cities as Bilbao, San Sebastian and Biarritz, the Basque region is home to a proud community with an individual and fascinating culture. Lekeitio Much of the Basque Country is well-travelled, and whilst the dazzling sights of San Sebastian are a delight, the town of Lekeitio is a charming example of Basque Country living. Just over 50 kilometres northeast of Bilbao, Lekeitio is visited by many as it was the birthplace of priest, poet and academic, Resurrección María de Azkue - an important figure in Basque history. Lekeitio is home to two beautiful beaches that are overlooked by a mountain, and one of the main sights here is the Basilica of La Asunción de Santa María. This beautiful building is an example of the Late Basque Gothic style, and inside it holds a great selection of historical and religious artefacts. Lekeitio is a beautiful fishing town French Basque In the northern Basque Country, you'll find beautiful surroundings in the form of La Rhune mountain. Sitting right on the border of France and Spain, this mountain is an important site in Basque culture, as according to Basque mythology it was a meeting place for witches. Across the mountainside, you'll find Neolithic memorials and stone circles, so it makes for a fascinating hike. It's possible to take a small train up La Rhune mountain, which is great if you're travelling with kids! The French Basque region is perhaps one of France's most underrated parts, but it has loads to offer for travellers. The two main towns here are Biarritz and Bayonne. Biarritz is a great place to visit with the family, as it has a total of six beautiful beaches. You'll find some world-class surfing schools here, and the aquariumis worth visiting, too. When visiting Bayonne, be sure to head to the Basque Museum, where you'll find a vast exhibition covering the customs and history of the Basque people. Basque Cuisine Within Basque cuisine, there exists an interesting contrast between the food sourced from the surrounding oceans, which is enjoyed in the coastal towns and cities, and the meats, freshwater fish and vegetables that dominate Basque cuisine further inland. This means that you'll experience a variety of food when travelling the Basque Country. Gâteau Basque is a beautiful pastry dessert from the French Basque country. Underneath a crisp outer layer, you'll enjoy a soft almond sponge. Typically there are two fillings, one almond cream and the other a cherry conserve. A dessert of contrasts, we love this gâteau! One thing we love about Spanish cuisine is tapas. For the Basque alternative, be sure to try pincho on your travels. These Basque-style tapas can be enjoyed as a bar snack in a Basque tavern, and are great when you're with the family or a group of friends. Toppings (often seafood, such as prawns) are layered on top of bread and secured in place with a toothpick. Delicious! Pinchos are a delicious tapas-style dish found in the Basque Country Flemish Flanders is home to the Flemish community, and is rich with hundreds of years of art and culture. Due to various influences throughout history, including German and Anglo-Saxon, Flemish people are very open-minded to other cultures. This is apparent when you view the fact that most Flemings speak at least one or two other languages, so you won't be stuck when travelling around! Great Museums One way to explore a new culture is to check out the best museums and galleries in the area. Flanders is home to some of Europe's finest art, and you can see some incredible modern works of art at the M-Museum, in Leuven. If you're into design, head to Ghent's Design Museum, which houses examples of 17th and 18th century Flemish design, as well as more contemporary pieces. Antwerp's Middelheim Museumis a great outdoor space dotted with beautiful sculptures - great for a sunny day. Explore Leuven and its historic old centre History Flanders Fields are great to explore by car, and you'll find a number of monuments throughout Flanders to commemorate the soldiers lost during WWI. Head to Ypres to see the In Flanders Fields Museum, to learn more. Nearby the city of Diksmuide you'll find some of the last remaining trenches, from the end of the war. Although these make for a sombre activity, they serve as a great educational trip for the whole family. The Gothic Cloth Hall in Ypres is home to the In Flanders Fields Museum Nature Flanders is a beautiful region of Belgium, and you're spoilt for choice when it comes to a picnic spot! Check out the stunning botanical gardens in Meise, which is just three kilometres from the famous Atomium monument. One great place for kids is De Averegten Provincial Domain, a wooded area southeast of Antwerp, with farm animals, floral gardens, a playground and some fun nature education activities. The Atomium Monument in Brussels attracts tourists from the world over Food There's more to enjoy in Flemish cuisine than waffles and Belgian chocolate! Enjoy fries with delicious fresh mussels, or alongside a hearty Flemish beef stew (beef cooked in beer). One of our favourite Flemish dishes has to be Stoemp. This dish can be found all over the country, but particularly in Brussels, and contains pureed potatoes, mashed vegetables, bacon and sausages. Delicious! Another food you'll find in Flanders is endives. These tangy vegetables are a staple in any Flemish diet, and we love them wrapped in ham, covered in a creamy cheese sauce and baked in the oven. Getting there and around You can explore Europe so easily with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, which takes you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes. Explore Europe's hidden cultures today! Book your journey

Secret Barcelona

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Here's our secret guide to Barcelona Barcelona is a city rich with history, culture and great tapas, but there's also another side to this brilliant city that you shouldn't miss. To get you inspired for your trip to the home of Catalan, we've put together a guide to the secret spots in Barcelona, from small museums and charming parks, to underrated restaurants and bars the locals love. Secluded spots Parc del Centre del Poblenou For a break from the bustling streets of Barcelona, enjoy an afternoon spent in the Parc del Centre del Poblenou, a lovely oasis in the centre of the once industrial Poblenou district. Designed by the French architect, Jean Nouvel, this park opened in 2008, and is the perfect green space during the spring and summer months. The entrance of the park is surrounded by bright green trees and bushes, as well as fuchsia-coloured flowers, which climb across the archway. Inside, there are even more beautiful flowers, herbs and shrubberies, as well as huts for children to play in, which are situated around the main meeting point, Plaça de la Sardana. Wander into this beautiful park in Poblenou Plaça del Pi If you want to escape the busy streets of Las Ramblas, and the occasional tourist trap, a great alternative is the markets of Plaça del Pi, which is located just around the corner. Popular with artists and bohemians, the area is dotted with stalls selling everything from handcrafted woodwork, to paintings and artistic prints. There's also outside seating for when you fancy a coffee, and stands that sell homemade honey, jams and Spanish cheeses. On top of the great shops, the area is very picturesque and situated opposite the stunning Santa María del Pi church, which has a large rose-shaped stained glass window at the front. Peruse the market stalls of Plaça del Pi Clandestine culture Iluminarte Galeria If you're a fan of art, and wish to discover more about the local artists, check out the Iluminarte Galeria in the Poble Sec area of the city. Managed by three friends, this stylish red brick gallery includes exhibits of both established and unknown artists from Barcelona and Europe. Unusually, the gallery also specialises in decorative lamps, which they create themselves onsite using old film negatives. They sell the decorated lamps, known as lumendos, in the gallery, so be sure to stop by the shop to buy a holiday souvenir. Palau de la Musica Known as the home of Catalan music, and headquarters to the Orfeó Català (Barcelona's choral society) this incredible building is a must-see for culture vultures wanting to explore something other than the work of Gaudí. Designed and built by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the building is an exquisite example of Catalan architecture. The palace includes intricately decorated columns and stone carvings, but the main feature is the main concert hall's stained-glass skylight roof. Painted to resemble the burning sun, this unusual but beautiful piece of art is at its best at midday, when streams of light shine through. The main concert hall of Palau de la Musica Sala Montjüic Open Air Cinema For a fun and unusual experience, head to the top of the Montjüic hill where between June and August, an outdoor cinema screens a range of great films, from classics to modern hits. For the best experience, bring along some deck chairs and your very own tapas picnic, and relax under the stars. Secret eats La Llavor dels Orígens If you want to sample some true Catalan cuisine, then an evening spent in La Llavor dels Orígens is a must. Just a one-minute walk from the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mer, this charming restaurant is one of two in the area, and offers up understated great-tasting food with an eco-friendly twist. The menu changes between seasons, but you can rely on there always being true Catalan classics, such as pan con tomate and crema Catalana, which is served with a shot of sweet Spanish liqueur. Dig into a crema catalana La Plata For a great glass of wine and plates of mouth-watering tapas, make your way to La Plata, a charming 65-year-old bar that's located amidst the winding streets of Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. Small in size, decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles and dotted with barrels of quality wine, it's the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by as you dig in to bowls of olives, anchovies on toast, deep-fried fish, and fresh tomatoes with sliced onions. Find hidden gems in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter Els Tres Porquets Located in the Poblenou district, and perfect for after a visit to Parc del Centre, this blink-and-you'll-miss-it restaurant is a must for foodies. Sat on upright barrels-come-tables, you'll get to dine on plates of ham, manchego cheese and truffles to start, as well as a range of delicious mains too, from tuna covered in a honey, soy and ginger sauce, to steamed mussels. Arguably, one of the best dishes is revuelto de setas, an incredible type of scrambled eggs that includes Galicians potatoes, goose eggs and morels. A hidden stay The Hotel Miramar Barcelona For a stay well away from the usual hustle and bustle of tourist life, enjoy a holiday at the Hotel Miramar Barcelona. With luxury suites, an azure pool, great bars and a restaurant, and even a spa and gym, it's a hotel with everything you'll ever need. If you have any time spare, between exploring the city and eating delicious tapas, be sure to relax with a drink on your private terrace, or enjoy a stroll through the hotel's garden, where in amongst the orange trees, you'll feel a world away from the city below. Getting there and around If this post has got you feeling inspired to take a walk off the beaten track during your trip to Barcelona, make sure you make the initial journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It only takes 35-minutes to cross the Channel with us, so you'll soon be relaxing with a glass of sangria in hand. Book your journey

Mons City Guide

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Get inspired to explore Europe's 2015 joint Capital of Culture This year Belgium's gem and a place of wonder, the city of Mons, was given joint European City of Culture status with Pilsen, making it one of the most exciting cities to visit in 2015. To help you make the most of your visit to this fascinating Belgian city, we've put together a full city guide, from where to eat to what to explore. History and culture Beaux-Arts Mons Once known as the city's Museum of Fine Arts, the Beaux-Arts Mons (or BAM) was refurbished in 2007 by Parisian architect, Christian Menu. The gallery now includes an impressive 80-seat auditorium, a charming garden, and three levels of display space. Exhibitions past and present include the works of old and new artists, such as Van Gogh's paintings, letters and drawings from his time in Borinage, and pieces by Andy Warhol and Serge Vandercam. Neolithic Flint Mines of Spiennes A part of Mons' municipality, the small village of Spiennes is home to a great piece of Belgian history. The Mons Neolithic Flint Mines are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that cover more than 100-hectares of land, and are the earliest and largest concentration of mines in Europe. As flint was once used as one of the main components in human history's first weaponry, these mines reveal a lot about our past and development. Mons Belfry A key icon of the city, Mons Belfry stands at 87-metres tall, and can be seen from most points in Mons. Originally erected in the 17th century, after the collapse of the original tower, this baroque style belfry, built from bray sandstone, is now a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site. Set to reopen in 2015, visitors can look forward to learning more about the city's history and culture at the onsite exhibitions. And, via a swift escalator journey, or a walk up 365 steps, you'll also get to enjoy panoramic views of the city below. Mons' belfry tower La Maison Van Gogh Located in the village of Cuesmes, close to Mons, is the house that Vincent Van Gogh lived in between August 1879 and October 1880, at the beginning of his career. Inside the house, you can watch short films on his life, admire reproductions of his work, and even be witness to an original copy of one of his sketches, The Diggers. Bought by the city of Mons in 1979, this picture hangs proudly within Van Gogh's old home, so be sure to stop by for a glimpse of art history. Fun things to do Go swimming After a morning spent exploring the city's fascinating culture and history, a great way to have fun with your family is by visiting the Piscine de Mons du Grand Large. There are outdoor pools for when the sun is out, and indoor pools that include a paddling area for your little ones. For those of you looking for some excitement, enjoy a ride on the River Wild, which rushes you along with its speeding rapids. If relaxation is more your thing, enjoy some time in the centre's Finnish Sauna, which reaches high temperatures with low humidity, or retreat to the Hammam, where you can soothe any tight muscles in the 45°c heat and 100% humidity. To hydrate and cool down, make your way to the sun loungers in the Relaxation Room, where you can sit back and rest with a drink. Visit Le Pass If you and your kids love science, a visit to Mons' Le Pass will provide you with a day of endless fun. Le Pass is a museum that's bursting with interactive exhibitions, which get your kids involved with all sorts of science and technology. From learning all about 3D printing and laboratories, to working with robots and DNA, your kids will get to be involved with some of the world's most mind-blowing science. On top of the learning experiences, your family can also make the most of the outdoor playground, or while away the afternoon climbing and swinging in the indoor Acro'Bât! adventure zone. Get to grips with science in Le Pass Where to eat L'Art des Mets For somewhere modern, but with a cosy atmosphere, enjoy an evening meal or relaxed lunch at L'Art des Mets. Choose from a luxury range of starters, which range from freshly caught oysters served with sea urchins, to candied bacon with caviar. For mains, we recommend trying the guinea fowl and blue lobster that's served with ginger and lemongrass, followed by the chestnut mousse for dessert. La Cinquiéme Saison For a modern take on traditional Belgian cuisine, La Cinquième Saison is a great place to enjoy a romantic dinner for two. Start with fried scallops with shavings of truffle, and finish with buttered vegetables and quality cuts of meat that have been cooked to perfection. On top of the charming interiors, you can dine outside too, which makes for a pleasant way to end your day. Twenty Buns For a family friendly venue, that allows dogs too, head over to Twenty Buns for an American-themed evening out. Juicy burgers sandwiched between golden sesame buns, are served with a range of mouth-watering extras, including crispy bacon and fried eggs, as well as seasoned hand cut chips. Le Paysan In the mood for something quick, easy and perfect for a family lunch? Take yourself and your kids along to Le Paysan, a wonderful little café that serves up crêpes and sandwiches. Enjoy your lunchtime treat with a pint of your favourite Belgian beer, or a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Mons Town Hall Places to stay Budget If you're looking to save when it comes to accommodation, a great place to book a room is Les Auberges de Jeunesse de Mons, a wonderful youth hostel that's perfect for families and groups. For around €18, you can have a bed or your own private room, making it a fantastic place for those of you wanting to see more of Mons and spend less. Mid-range For somewhere that suits your needs and doesn't break the bank, book a room in Infotel, a mid-range hotel that's close to Le Pass and the city's railway station. On top of comfortable, spacious rooms, you can also look forward to a delicious, European buffet breakfast of pastries, yoghurts and cereals, which is perfect for those of you travelling as a family. Luxury For a luxurious experience in the city of Mons, book a stay in Dream, a 4-star hotel that's located inside a renovated 19th century Neo-Gothic style building, which was once a chapel. After a busy day exploring the city, enjoy a relaxing stay in the chic and modern rooms that have been styled to complement the archaic architecture. Enjoy a light snack or meal in the onsite restaurant, or unwind in the evening with a glass of wine or two in the hotel's bar. Getting there and around The journey across the Channel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle takes just 35-minutes, and with Belgium being only a short distance from the Calais terminus, the drive there is generally quick and easy. So, you'll be exploring the streets of Mons in no time at all. Book your journey

Best Sunset Watching Spots

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Hit the road today, to explore the skies of Europe's best sunset spots. With city skylines, colossal mountains and sun kissed beaches, Europe has some of the best spots for sunset watching in the world. Whether you enjoy capturing the warm colours of the fading sun on your camera, or simply love to sit and watch the sun set with friends and family, Europe is the best place for it. To get you inspired for your next journey across the Channel, we've put together a list of some of the best sunset spots, from Paris to Matterhorn. France Paris Paris is home to many great sights and views, from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacré-Cœur, but one of the greatest is watching the sunset over the city's skyline. The perfect viewing spot for watching the orange glow envelop the city, is from the 360° windows of Tour Montparnasse's panoramic floor. Whilst gazing at the illuminated skyline, stop for a bite to eat in the 360 Café, the highest panoramic bar in Europe and a place that offers delicious salads, croque-monsieurs and mouth-watering desserts. The sun fading over Paris Île de Ré For postcard-perfect sunset views, head to Plage de la Conche, a charming beach located on the Île de Ré, an island just off the west coast of France. Situated close to St. Clement des Baleines, the beach has a long stretch of glistening, white sand, met with crystal clear water that gently laps the shore. As the evening begins and the sun starts setting, make your way over to the soft sand and relax with a picnic or bottle of wine, and watch as the warm glow ripples across the water. Lac d'Annecy Located in the Haute-Savoie region of France is Lac d'Annecy, or Lake Annecy, the third largest lake in France. A sheet of deep turquoise blue surrounded by green, forested mountains and snow-dusted hills, it makes for the perfect holiday destination, regardless of the time of year. Once the evening begins to settle in, be sure to grab a spot on the lake's shores, and watch as the sun catches on the lake, and disappears behind the mountains. Capture the sun set over Lac D'Annecy Italy Cortina D'Ampezzo Cortina D'Ampezzo is a skiing resort and town in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, and is located deep within the Dolomites. As the sun sets over the small town, the red and yellow light illuminates the jagged rock formations of the Dolomitic Alps, and a pink glow saturates the blue sky. For the perfect view of the sun setting, head out early in the day for a hike across the nearby valleys, pitch up at the perfect point for you, and relax in the cool evening air. Florence Located in the city of Florence, is the Ponte Santa Trinita, a Renaissance bridge that covers the River Arno, and is the oldest elliptic arch bridge in the world. From the bridge, you can take in beautiful views of the city, admiring the architecture that lines the Arno. As the afternoon fades away, and the evening sets in, stand and watch from the bridge, as the sun moves from one point of the sky, to the top of the river and beyond. The yellow and white light reflecting on to the flowing Arno makes the perfect photo, so be sure to have your camera at the ready. Watch the sun set over Florence The Netherlands Amsterdam A city known for its breathtaking architecture and enchanting culture, Amsterdam is also home to one of the best sunset watching spots in Europe, the city's canals. With 165 canals covering over 100-kilometres, they are the best way to explore the city's sights, and as the evening settles in, the best place to watch the sun set. There are plenty of cruise companies to choose from, so all you have to do is pick a late sailing, and enjoy the orange, pink and yellow colours that engulf the dusk sky. The sun setting over Amsterdam's canals Kinderdijk Kinderdijk is a small village close to the city of Rotterdam, and is most famous for the charming 19 windmills that make up Kinderdijk's UNSECO World Heritage Site. The windmills are divided into different areas, and were once used for completing different roles in water drainage. If you're feeling inspired, you can even wander inside the Nederwaard Museum and Blokweer Museum, which both provide a great insight into the mills' history. To make the most of your visit, aim for a slightly windy day, and hike to a point where you can see most of the windmills. Once the evening begins to draw in, just sit back, relax, and watch as the orange and red light disappears behind the windmills. Switzerland Matterhorn Located in the Alps, along the border between Switzerland and Italy, the Matterhorn is one of the most iconic mountains in Europe. Shaped like a pyramid, and reaching a height of 14,692 feet, the Matterhorn is an enchanting mountain, and as such, has become a great place for watching the sun set. There are many 'photo points' dotted around the surrounding area, so there are plenty of places to set up your camera, or a deck chair, so that you can watch the sun's beams hit the jagged points of the mountain. One of the best points to witness this moment of natural beauty is on a small bench at Höhbalmen, a place that faces the north side of the Matterhorn. At 2,665 metres, it's a bit of hike, but you'll soon see it's definitely worth the effort, when the fading sunlight brightens the mountain's sharp peak. Matterhorn's silhouette during sunset Mount Pilatus Overlooking the city of Lucerne, Mount Pilatus is a beautiful mountain made up of several summits that each make for perfect viewing points. If you don't fancy hiking to the top of each of the mountain's peaks, then try one of the three aerial options, which allow you to enjoy bird's eye views of Lucerne and the mountainous landscape, without the need for hiking boots. Take a ride on the Aerial Panorama Gondola, and journey over the vast forest and jagged cliffs, all the way up to the Fräkmüntegg summit. For the perfect sunset spot, ride the gondola for around 20-minutes before the sun sets, and witness the entire mountain light up with the sun's departing warm glow. An evening view of Mount Pilatus Getting there and around Are you feeling inspired to travel around Europe to enjoy the beautiful sunset spots across the continent? If so, book your journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It only takes 35-minutes to cross the Channel, which means you'll be on your way in no time at all. Book your journey

Secret Paris

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The secretive side to Europe's romantic city So you've been to the Louvre, walked around the Arc de Triomphe, and you've looked out over the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, but there's so much more to see in the world's most romantic city. We've overturned every paving slab and crept around hidden street corners to bring you a selection of Paris' best unknown gems, but don't tell anyone! Little-known day spots Parc de Bagatelle When you're exploring one of France's most unique cities, a trip around the usual tourist traps can mean missing out on the most interesting parts of a city. Paris is known for its beauty and many tourists head to the famous parks surrounding Champs-Elysée avenue. For a quieter spot, head to Parc de Bagatelle of the Château de Bagatelle in western Paris. This beautiful, quiet garden was created in the 18th century, and is home to a Chinese-style pagoda, as well as stunning rose gardens, which play host each year to an international competition. Parc de Belleville Another stunning green space, which provides great views over Paris is Parc de Belleville. If you're tired of the Eiffel Tower, this is a superb alternative that will give you panoramic views over the city, and it even has its own wooden children's park. Home to waterfalls, streams, and 140 wine-producing grape vines, take a picnic to the top of Belleville hill and watch as the city breathes below. Another interesting way to see the city is by taking a boat tour along the River Seine, an option that is surprisingly overlooked by many tourists. Views over the city at Parc de Belleville Marché Monge Paris has dozens of markets, both open air and covered, but one of the most delightful is Marché Monge. This food market is set in the quiet surroundings of Place Monge, which can be found just south of the River Seine in the city centre. You can spend an afternoon pleasantly browsing the high quality goods that are on sale, and we love the fact that you're able to buy produce directly from the source. Chat with the fishmonger and ask about sustainable fishing, or discuss local farming whilst buying fresh fruit and veg. Take some extra cash to this market though, as prices reflect the quality of goods on offer. Underground culture La Pagode Cinema If you're looking for something to do in the evenings, why not spend some time checking out Paris' movie theatres? La Pagode Cinema is celebrated amongst those who know its existence, as it's one of the most beautiful places to see a film in Paris. Located at 57 Rue de Babylone, in the southwest of Paris, La Pagode gets its name from its authentic pagoda, which is made from parts imported from Japan, and has been showing films on and off since the 1930s. There are also some exquisite gardens at the site, which are perfect to relax in whilst waiting for a film. Musée Carnavalet Tucked away in Paris' historic Le Marais district, Musée Carnavaletshowcases the history of Paris, housed within two beautiful mansion buildings. Formerly a famous Renaissance hotel, the setting of the museum has its own gardens, and houses a range of collections such as items from the Middle Ages, French furniture, art, and archaeology. The museum is known, but many overlook it in favour of the famous Louvre, and Le Marais is a fantastic district for museum addicts, as it's home to many different galleries and museums. Musee Carnavalet Bab-Ilo Paris has an ever-changing music scene, and one great way to get a glimpse of local culture is to head to a live music venue. We love the Bab-Ilo, a famous jazz club with the Parisian locale. You'll find it in the Montmartre neighbourhood, and whilst this area is packed with busy bars and clubs, Bab-Ilo is tucked away inside an old pub, which serves as a cosy setting within which local jazz musicians perform, as well as Brazilian and Caribbean bands during most nights of the week. Paris' Montmartre neighbourhood is well-trodden, but there are still secrets to uncover Secret eats Chez Ramona Within Paris' charming Belleville district, you'll find Chez Ramona. Serving up Spanish food, this restaurant is popular with locals who want to spend a long evening dining on classic Spanish dishes, whilst enjoying a lot of sangria! It's a little hidden away, and to get to the restaurant space you'll have to venture through the downstairs bakery, before climbing the narrow stairs which take you to the dining room. The décor is fun and typically Spanish, and the prices are very reasonable. Sip sangria and feast on paella at Chez Ramona L'Ebouillanté If you're after some more traditional French cuisine, head to L'Ebouillanté, in a low-key square just beyond the St-Gervais-St-Protais Church. It's technically a café, dishing up pastries, cakes and light meals, and in the evening you can dine on crêpes filled with meat and vegetables, whilst sipping on well-made cocktails. There's an art studio upstairs, so much of the clientele here reflects the bohemian vibes that L'Ebouillanté has managed to uphold in all its years in business. Hidden hotels Hotel Daniel This small, lavishly decorated hotel is perfect if you're looking for a luxury stay in Paris. Located between the Champs-Elysées avenue and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, this hotel is a beautiful home away from home, decorated with comfortable furniture, tasteful artwork and flowers throughout. The hotel restaurant serves up consistently good food, from breakfast through to brunch and teatime, and you have the luxury of having breakfast at any time of day. During the evening, relax in the tasteful bar and enjoy a glass of champagne, or one of the select cocktails on offer. Hidden Hotel This hotel is situated down a peaceful street, near to the Arc de Triomphe. Despite the location, you don't feel as though you're in one of the busiest parts of Paris, as the noises of the nearby hustle and bustle are muted by the surrounding buildings, and the Hidden Hotel'swooden entrance feels like a secret door to another world. Inside you're greeted by an eco-friendly escape. The original building was renovated and replaced with all-natural fittings and materials, and the décor is chic and modern, and incredibly comfortable. Be aware though, that this part of town is very touristy, although the location is convenient if you want to see the main sights. Getting there and around Europe is just a 35 minute journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so it's never been easier to take a city break! Book your journey

Copenhagen City Guide

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Uncover the city's rich history Denmark's capital has a history stretching as far back as the 11th century, and over time it has grown to become a modern cosmopolitan city, but still retains a certain historic charm. Its history is celebrated through fabulous structures such as Rosenborg Castle- a beautiful Dutch Renaissance building that stands proudly within the country's oldest royal garden. The castle is 400 years old and when visiting you'll be able to see some of the possessions from some of the kings who lived here throughout history, as well as the Danish Crown Jewels. The beautiful Rosenborg Castle Christiansborg Palace can be found smack in the middle of Copenhagen, and is home to the Danish parliament (The Folketing), the Prime Minister's Office and the Supreme Court. On a sunny day, it's particularly lovely to walk around the palace gardens, and to see the Riding Complex, where royal horses are trained. For an extensive lesson in Denmark's history, head to the National Museum. This beautiful building houses a fantastic timeline taking you through Danish history, and boasts items from the Stone Age, as well as Viking weaponry and a 3,500-year-old Sun Chariot. It's a great place for kids, as there are regular children's activities held in the main foyer and an excellent Children's Museum. Enjoy Modern Art Copenhagen's art scene is thriving, with a great selection of small galleries dotted across the city, we suggest poking your head into these as you pass by, to see local works of contemporary art. The ARKEN Museum of Modern Artin south Copenhagen has one of the best collections of modern art in Denmark. The ARKEN Museum of Modern Art On top of its changing exhibitions, the museum's collection boasts works from Damien Hurst, Clare Woods and Ai Weiwei, as well as international, Danish and Nordic artists. The museum building itself was created to portray a stranded ship, and was designed by architect Søren Robert Lund. The home of Denmark's National Gallery The National Gallery of Denmark is a truly great place to admire art from all over the world. Well-curated collections of European, Danish, Nordic and International Art are strengthened by interactive screens, which tell you about specific works of art and their history. The National Gallery of Denmark You'll find works of art from many of the prominent masters here, with works from over 700 years of art history. If you're a fan of art, it's worth setting aside the best part of a day to explore all the museum has to offer. There's a café for hungry stomachs, and the museum offers a great selection of activities and workshops for children. Explore Danish Architecture Sitting alongside the river, the Danish Architecture Centre is a great place to grab a bite to eat whilst enjoying views over the harbour and the city, explore the impressive gift shop, which has the most in-depth collection of architecture books in Copenhagen and also sells some beautiful items of Danish design. If you visit during the summer, you can take one of the architecture tours of the city. Walk into the wild If your schedule isn't too packed with all of the cultural delights Copenhagen has to offer, it's got plenty of other fantastic things to see and do. The city's zoo is a great place to take kids, and the whole family will enjoy the educational displays, exotic animals, and the importance it puts on nature conservation. Also worth visiting is the aquarium, Den Blå Planet. The largest aquarium in northern Europe, The Blue Planet is housed in a beautiful building, the shape of which resembles a whirlpool. Inside you'll find an array of oceanic creatures from sea otters, to hammerhead sharks and even piranhas! Be sure to check out the programme for the day of your visit, to ensure you don't miss any displays. A city with a difference A particularly interesting building is Copenhagen's Round Tower (Rundetårn). It stands as Europe's oldest astronomy tower and observatory, and gives visitors a really interesting look into its history, as well as boasting its own gallery space. To reach the top, you'll have to walk up the spiral ramp, a cobbled pathway with beautiful whitewashed walls, to reach the exhibition space and then the observatory at the top. The walkway up to The Round Tower It's a wonderful structure standing at 42 meters tall, and you get some great panoramic views of the city from the top. Another beautiful part of the city are the Botanical Gardens, in the city center. They've got a beautiful selection of old greenhouses and over 13,000 species of plants. Where to eat If there's one thing Copenhagen has become famous for, it's the great selection of restaurants the city has to offer. You don't have to break the bank to eat well here, although there are many high-end restaurants if you want to splash out. Existing as part of the larger Cofoco chain, Höst is a perfect example of the city providing high-quality, reasonably priced food in a stylish and comfortable setting. The service here is impeccable - you'll be talked through every detail of the tasting menu and suggested wine to match. If you're willing to spend more, Copenhagen is home to restaurant Noma. Four-time-winner of the World's 50 Best Restaurants award, it serves up contemporary interpretations of Nordic cuisine. Where to stay Accommodation in Copenhagen used to be an expensive affair, but as the city's popularity has increased, there's been a boom in affordable hotels, and like most things in the city, the standard of quality is high. One great mid-range hotel is the Hotel Kong Arthur. Set back from the main street, you feel a sense of royalty when approaching the building and the décor is unique and stylish. There's an in-house spa, and the facilities are free if you book through the hotel's website. Another reasonably-priced hotel is Hotel Østerport. It's a close distance to the Central Station and many main tourist sites, like Tivoli Gardens, and you'll get a fresh breakfast buffet and free Wi-Fi thrown in, too. Getting there and around Europe is just a 35 minute journey with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so it's never been easier to take a city break! Book your journey

Europe's World Heritage Sites

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From Germany to Italy, here's our European list In 1945, UNESCO established World Heritage in order to preserve and protect some of the world's most outstanding sites. Europe has many UNESCO approved World Heritage sites, which capture the fascinating culture and history of the continent. To get you inspired for your next trip across the Channel, we've put together a list of some of Europe's most beautiful and enchanting World Heritage sites, from stunning parks to historical monuments. Germany Cologne Cathedral The Cologne Cathedral is the largest gothic church in Northern Europe, and the focal point of one of Germany's largest cities, Cologne. The construction of this church began in 1248, was halted in 1473, and then resumed in the 19th century, eventually completing in 1880. Today, the cathedral is the country's most visited landmark, with over 20,000 people exploring the church every day. With its two towering spires and gothic design, it's a truly magnificent architectural wonder. Inside, you can admire the sky-high ceilings, and stained glass windows; one of which was created by artist Gerhard Richter, and looks as if it's been made of multi-coloured confetti. Not only that, but the church is also home to plenty of treasures and iconic sculptures, including the Shrine of the Three Kings, a stone carving of St. Christopher, and the oldest large crucifix, the Crucifix of Bishop Gero. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe This landscape park is located at the foot of the Habichtswald mountain range, and covers 590 acres with vast beauty and unique features. Construction of the park began in 1696, and took 150 years to complete, making it a true labour of love. The park is known for its amazing sculptures and water features, with one of its most famous being the Hercules monument, where a bronze sculpture of this Greek legend stands proudly at the top of the hill. The building on top of which Hercules stands is known as the Octagon, and running water cascades down the steps from the top, creating a stunning view. France Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave is home to some of the earliest known and best-preserved cave paintings in the world, dating back around 32,000 years to the Aurignacian period. Discovered in 1994, on a limestone cliff above the old riverbed of the Ardéche River, it contains paintings of around 13 species of animals, as well as baby hand prints, which are said to be of the latter Gravettian period. Intricate portraits of horses, bears and panthers cover the walls of this enchanting place of history. As a way of preserving the cave, and protecting it from damage, it is sadly no longer available for tours. But, an exact replica of the cave, which will include prints of all the paintings, will be open to the public in April 2015. Take yourself back in time with prehistoric cave art Théâtre Antique d'Orange One of the best preserved ancient Roman Theatres in Europe, the Théâtre Antique d'Orange is an amazing example of 1st century AD architecture that's definitely worth exploring during a trip to the South of France. As well as the theatre, you can also explore the Triumphal Arch and the remains of the onsite temple, which was excavated in the 1920s. After exploring each of the buildings, make your way to the Orange Museum, where collections of ancient art, sculptures, mosaics and pottery are on display. Or pay a visit to the theatre during the summer, where the famous opera festival, Chorégies d'Orange, is held. Visit the theatre during the summer for entertaining operatic performances Spain The works of Antoni Gaudí Wherever you turn in Barcelona, you're likely to come across an example of Gaudí's work, from the Casa Milà to the beautiful Park Güell, where picturesque views of the city below can be enjoyed. Although Park Güell, Palau Güell and Casa Milà have been on the UNESCO World Heritage sites' list for some time, one of the recent additions from the 2005 list extension is Casa Batlló. Located in the centre of the city, this enchanting Modernista piece of architecture has an exterior of skeletal joints and the roof of a reptile, as well as an interior of curves and colourful tiles. During your visit to Barcelona, be sure to enjoy a tour of this mesmerising building, as well as the other inspiring works of Gaudí that are dotted across the city. Italy Historic Centre of Siena Situated amongst the rolling hills of Tuscany's countryside, the beautiful historic centre of Siena is so breathtaking that it has been given UNESCO World Heritage status. The medieval and gothic architecture of the city's centre, Piazza del Campo, has been so well-preserved that you'll be forgiven for thinking that time stopped many moons ago. For truly spectacular views, climb to the top of Torre del Mangia, the city's 345-foot tall bell tower that was built between 1338 and 1348. Once you reach the tower's peak, you'll be able to admire the captivating views of the bustling city below. Wander around the historic centre of Siena The Trulli of Alberobello Nestled in the small town of Alberobello, in the region of Puglia, you'll find the small Tulli dwellings that line the winding roads. These unusual but charming structures are examples of successful prehistoric building techniques, which are still used in this region today. The exterior of the Tulli include a conical roof, limestone slabs and whitewashed walls, and the interior of each structure features one room, which usually has a fireplace and room for furniture. These unusual buildings are still used today, and some are even decorated with modern décor. The Netherlands The Mill Network of Kinderdijk For a taste of Dutch culture and its past, enjoy a day out at the Mill Network in the village of Kinderdijk. Built in the Middle Ages, the 19 windmills were constructed to drain the Alblasserwaard polder, which is connected to the Lek and Noord Rivers. And, despite being built so long ago, the windmills still work today as successful hydraulic structures. Learn more about mills in the village of Kinderdijk During your visit, you'll be able explore the mills for yourself, and even learn about their history in greater depth at the museum. There's also the chance to take part in a windmill workshop, where you'll get to learn how the mills are built and maintained, and even how to become a miller. Getting there and around If you're inspired to tour Europe's World Heritage sites, make sure you set off on holiday with our list in hand. With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, the journey across the Channel only takes 35-minutes, so you'll soon be discovering a whole continent of iconic sites for yourself. Book your journey

Famous Artists' Houses

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A place to contemplate and create The dwellings of an artist can have a great impact on their work, as they often need a space where they can relax, in an environment that inspires them to create new ideas and works of art. We've taken a look at some famous artists from throughout history, and the buildings that they chose to call their home. La Californie and Château de Vauvenargues - Pablo Picasso Famed Spanish painter Pablo Picasso had a long and successful career as an artist, and he continues to be one of the most influential and well-known artists of the 20th century. His style altered greatly throughout his career and he is regarded as one of the main pioneers of the Cubist movement. His changing styles of painting were influenced by many factors including personal relationships with other artists, as well as where he chose to live. Having been exiled from his native country of Spain in 1939, Picasso spent the majority of his remaining years in France, having first visited Paris in 1900. Between the years of 1955 and 1961, Picasso lived in La Californie, a villa in Cannes, with his last wife Jaqueline Roque. Later, seeking a quieter and more secluded life, Picasso was shown the Château de Vauvenargues, in the south of France, and immediately fell in love. He began renovating the Château, and eventually moved his entire collection of artworks there from his house in Cannes. Visible from the surrounding hills, today the Château is privately owned by the Picasso family, but it is possible to visit La Californie, which is now a museum and gallery open to the public. Picasso's works of art have gone to inspire countless of creative types Giverny - Claude Monet Claude Monet's house and gardens in Giverny are a beautiful place to visit, whether you're an art enthusiast or not. He lived here for an incredible 43 years of his life, and throughout this time, Monet adjusted the house to his own tastes, creating the stunning gardens that inspired his most famous series of paintings, Water Lilies. Originally, the house was quite small with a barn next door, but Monet extended the building to create a much larger space for him to work and live in. He used the barn alongside the house as his first studio, and used the light, airy space to store his canvases. Monet adored colours, and he filled the gardens with an array of wonderful flowers, as well as creating the ponds and a bridge area that can be seen in several of his paintings. Throughout the years, Monet and his family lived in this beautiful home, and you can take guided tours throughout the property, where you'll see the many colourful rooms which Monet decorated himself. Monet's famous house is decorated in pink and green, which was chosen by the artist Clos Lucé - Leonardo da Vinci A small château in the French city of Amboise, Clos Lucé, or Château du Clos Lucé, was the home of Leonardo da Vinci from 1516 until his unfortunate death in 1519. The artist was invited to the nearby Château d'Amboise by King Francis I, who offered Clos Lucé to him as a place to live and work. Today the site exists as a museum dedicated to the artist, and visitors are able to walk through various rooms of the building, including the reception room and kitchen. The inside is decorated in a Renaissance style, which has been maintained to keep it in as similar fashion as possible to how it would have looked at the time of Da Vinci's death. Even though he lived here during the last few years of his life, Leonardo da Vinci continued to be a prolific creator right up until his death. The beautiful Clos Lucé As you walk through the house, you can see some of the artist's workplaces, and one room that's particularly fascinating is the Model Room. As well as a famous painter, Leonardo da Vinci was also a respected inventor. The Model Room displays a selection of replicas of his creations, from flying machines to tanks, and they are accompanied by detailed illustrations by the artist. Rue Campagne Première - Yves Klein Born of two artists, one a figurative painter and one an abstract painter, Yves Klein was creative from a young age. He lived a short but successful life, and today he is seen as a prominent figure in European post-war art. Most people know him from his monochromatic paintings, particularly his blue period, from which he went on to develop his own rich, highly pigmented blue colour, which became known as International Klein Blue. During his lifetime, he hopped between France and the rest of Europe to chase creative projects, but eventually around 1958, he found himself back in Paris, and whilst here he lived and worked at Rue Campagne Première. His apartment is located in the Montparnasse neighbourhood, which is famous for attracting many creative figures such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, and Andre Breton, to name just a few. The street view of Rue Campagne Première, where Yves Klein lived During this time in Paris, Yves Klein explored his 'living brushes' technique, which involved using nude models, and his signature IKB hue, to create figurative prints. Outside the building, you'll find a plaque which commemorates the artist, and it is actually possible to rent an apartment within the building, if you're keen. Getting there and around Travelling around by car is a great way to explore Europe's creative hidden treasures, and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle takes you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes. 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Driving France's Coast

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Discover the charms of the French coast France is an ideal place for a road trip; it's brimming with history and culture, and you're greeted with beautiful scenery at every turn. Nowhere is this truer than along the French coast. Sandy beaches, rocky bays, old fishing boats and weathered buildings are just some of the beautiful sights that you'll find on your next road trip around France's coast. Le Touquet and the North Coast France's northern coast boasts similar stretches of sheer, white cliffs, as its English counterpart, but with the addition of some impressive beaches. The white cliffs of upper-Normandy make for a very scenic drive, but before exploring this stretch of the coast, we recommend heading to Le Touquet. Just one hour's drive from Calais, Le Touquet is famous for its vast sand dunes and fantastic beaches, as well as a whole host of sporting activities to enjoy. Play the family at a game of golf or tennis, or if you're after something a little more fast-paced, why not try out land sailing, or take a romantic horse ride down the beach? Le Touquet has plenty of history too, with a beautiful lighthouse offering views over the Opal Coast, and a particularly interesting town hall. Ploumanac'h and Trégastel As you continue to explore France's northern coast, you'll come across France's tallest cliffs at Etretat, and once you've gone beyond the mouth of the River Seine, you'll come to Ploumanac'h. Part of the famous pink granite coast (Côte de Granit Rose) in France's Côtes-d'Armor departement, this alluring landscape attracts holidaymakers who come to admire the rare rock formations, pleasant beaches and surrounding wildlife. With a history steeped in religion, Ploumanac'h has a medieval chapel and an ancient shrine. It's a sleepy part of Brittany, as many people pass through on day trips, but spending an evening here can be incredibly relaxing. Nearby is Trégastel, which boasts one of the most scenic beaches in the area, the Quay St Ann. This seaside village boasts a beautiful church and an 18th century tidal mill, and one way to see more of the coastline is to take a boat tour to see the nearby islands. It's great for kids, and there's a fantastic aquarium and water park nearby. The beautiful pink shores of Trégastel Roscoff A small fishing port with pleasant beaches, Roscoff is a terribly pretty part of Brittany's coast. The white sands of Laber Beach are considered to be the best in the area, so remember to pack the bucket and spade for the kids! Roscoff is known for its 16th and 17th century granite houses that can be seen throughout town, as well as the surrounding farmlands, which produce delicious vegetables such as onions, cauliflowers and artichokes. The Quiberon peninsula If you're looking to explore some of the coast on foot, the Quiberon peninsula has some wonderful coastal walks. Stretching out into the sea for 14 kilometres, the peninsula has beautiful long beaches and rocky coves for you and the family to explore. The winds here make water sports a popular activity with many, and if you drive to the end of the peninsula you'll be greeted by Quiberon, which is home to a busy port and various activities, such as a charming mini golf course. Look out for the small, blue and white fishing cottages that line the coast, and discover the fascinating history of Port Maria, which was once France's main sardine fishing port. Want to discover more of Brittany? We've got a more detailed driving guidefor you to check out. The west side of the Quiberon peninsula is known as 'the wild coast' La Rochelle and the Atlantic Coast La Rochelle is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you're with the family. Its nickname is 'the white city' due to the bright limestone buildings that are ablaze in the summer sun. The beaches around here are great for young children, as the sand is soft and the waters are shallow. As well a beautiful old town centre, the city has a famous old harbour, with two towers at its entrance. The St. Nicholas Tower was the first to be built, and the Chain Tower was built shortly after. These two towers served to protect the entrance to La Rochelle's harbour, and one great way to see them is by taking a stroll along the Esplanade Saint-Jean d'Acre, or by walking to the Quai Duperré, where you get a spectacular view of both towers and the harbour. Kids will love La Rochelle's impressive aquarium, which takes you down into the ocean's depths and on an amazing educational adventure. If you're an animal lover, you'll enjoy the nature reserve to the south of La Rochelle, Réserve Naturelle Marais d'Yves, which is home to stunning wetlands and hundreds of species of birds. The Aquitaine Coast With lush forests and long sandy shores, the Aquitaine coast is a delight to drive down. As you pass beach after beach, you'll eventually come to Dune du Pilat - France's highest sand dune. Just south of the beautiful Arcachon Bay, the 500-metre-wide sand dune stands at 110 metres above sea level, and you get some really magnificent views from the top. Behind the dune sits a vast pine forest, which boasts some great walking routes. Keep driving down the Aquitaine coast and you'll find a continuous row of beaches, some of which are buzzing with surfers, such as those in beautiful Biarritz. With its charming lighthouse, stunning beaches and superb aquarium, Biarritz is a popular destination for many. It's a fantastic place to try out surfing, and it's easy to find a place to rent gear and get lessons. You're spoilt for pleasant places to stay on the Aquitaine coast, but why not take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and go camping? There are lots of campsites to the north of Biarritz, like Le Boudigau, which has great facilities for children. There are also great campsites at the charming town of Hossegor, where you'll find luxury boats moored up in the harbour, and stylish locals sipping cocktails in the sun. Watch the sunset at Hossegor Frontignan The beaches along France's southern coast benefit from the Mediterranean Sea, and they are incredibly popular with visitors during the summer. We love the town of Frontignan, which is surrounded by protected natural sites and hugged by the Gardiole mountain range to the north; the scenery here is stunning. The area here is famous for its Muscat wine, and in July, Frontignan plays host to the Festival of Muscat Wine, a celebration of one of France's oldest wines. Take a vineyard tour, explore the amazing natural lakes and go fishing, or wander around town and enjoy its rich cultural heritage. The French Riviera Perhaps the most popular part of France's coast, especially with the English, is the French Riviera. You'll have heard of Marseille, and you may well pass through this vast city on your drive along the south coast. However, when it comes to exploring the French Riviera, you might want to choose some quieter spots. To the east of Saint-Raphaël, you'll find the Bay of Agay. In the Var département there are many wonderful beaches, such as the famous beaches of Saint-Tropez, but Agay offers up the same turquoise waters, with fewer crowds. Overlooked by the red Esterel Mountains, Agay's long beach is dotted with quaint shops and cafés, and if you want an even quieter beach, look out for the many coves scattered nearby. The beautiful mountain range near the Bay of Agay Villefranche-sur-Mer To the east of Nice, the friendly and compact town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is a great place to visit for families of all ages. This part of the Cote d'Azur can get busy, particularly in summer, but there's so much to see and do. Stroll around the pastel-coloured old town and enjoy a crêpe, or reap the benefits of the busy harbour and feast on some tender local seafood. The bay of Villefranche is perhaps one of France's most beautiful, and it serves as a great hub for day trips to Nice. Visitors come here each year due to the town's authenticity, great food and rich cultural heritage, and you may know it from the Battle of the Flowers festival that occurs here each February. Villefranche is the perfect place to end your French coast road trip, and Italy is under and hour's drive away. Getting there and around With so many fantastic places along France's coast to visit, there's no better way to travel than by car. Calais is just 35 minutes away from Folkestone with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, so you're free to see the coast in as many or as few visits as you like. Book your journey

Unusual Museums in Europe

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Discover the weird and wonderful museums of Europe Museums are often the best way to explore the city or town you're visiting, where the local culture is often placed on a pedestal for all to admire. In amongst the museums that house galleries of art and historic artefacts, there are also the slightly stranger collections that provide visitors with more unusual insights. From the macabre museum dedicated to hearses, to the one devoted to a wealthy man's pet cat, there's something weird and wonderful for everyone to enjoy. Deutsche Currywurst Museum, Berlin In the city of Berlin, there are currywurst stalls dotted around every corner, so it comes as no surprise that the city is also home to the Deutsche Currywurst Museum. Dedicated to this local delicacy, the museum explores the history of this traditional dish, providing you with a chance to learn how this interesting mix of sausage and spice came together. After learning all about this savoury treat, you can head down to the onsite café, where you can grab your very own currywurst snack. If you, or a member of your group, prefer not to eat meat, there's also a vegetarian option so that you don't miss out on this delicious delicacy. Dig in at Berlin's Currywurst Museum Musée des Vampires et Monstres de L'Imaginaire, Paris If you don't mind a little horror, you'll love a trip the Musée des Vampires et Monstres de L'Imaginaire, or Museum of Vampires and Monsters of the Imagination, a museum in Paris dedicated to the literary tales of vampires, from past and present. As you explore this spooky museum, you'll encounter signed autographs of every actor that's ever played Dracula, as well as a mummified cat from the Père Lachaise Cemetery. You'll need to book an appointment in advance to peruse this peculiar collection, so be sure to get in touch beforehand, to avoid disappointment. Museu de Carrosses Funebres, Barcelona Probably the most macabre museum in Europe, the Museu de Carrosses Funebres, or Museum of Funeral Carriages, is a hauntingly wonderful place that houses beautifully crafted vehicles. Created in 1970, and located close to the Cementerio de Montjuïc (Barcelona's Cemetery), the museum is home to 13 horse-drawn carriages, six accompanying cars and three motor hearses. The vehicles are often stunningly crafted, painted with gold, and adorned with silk tasselled curtains and religious icons. During your time there, you'll get the chance to learn all about the history of the hearse, as well as the relationship between the Spanish people and the dead. Macabre, or beautiful? De Katten Kabinet, Amsterdam If you love cats, then this kooky museum in the city of the Amsterdam is definitely one to add to your list. The museum was originally founded in 1990 by William Meijer, a wealthy Dutchman who wanted a place to preserve the memory of his beloved pet cat, Tom. It now specialises in cat-themed artwork, from delightful paintings and sketches to feline-shaped sculptures and ornaments. And, on top of the art, there are also five cats that reside there, whom you'll more than likely encounter during your tour of the collection; just listen out for the soft hum of purrs. Make friends with the cats at De Katten Kabinet Le Musée des Égouts de Paris, Paris One of the most popular, but whiffiest, museums in France is Le Musée des Égouts de Paris, a museum dedicated to the sewage system that runs under the city of Paris. Located just under the Pont de L'Alma bridge, this museum provides guests with the opportunity to tour the sewer below, walking along raised walkways that are situated directly above the sewage. The exhibitions include information on the design and engineering of the system, and visitors are invited to learn not only how it works, but also all about its history. Just be wary that it smells exactly as you might think it would. Enjoy a slightly whiffy afternoon in Paris' sewage system CORPUS, Oegstgeest If you love science and learning how the human body works, a trip to weird and wonderful CORPUS is a definite must when driving through the Netherlands. The museum is a giant life-like model of the inside of a human body, and visitors are made to feel as if they've been shrunk down and allowed to explore its internal organs and skeletal frame. During your exploration, you'll enter through the giant body's knee, come face to face with its huge kidneys, the heart and teeth, and eventually leave through the brain. Although it's a bit of an unusual venue, it's very educational and plenty of fun for the whole family. Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris Otherwise known as the Museum of Hunting and Nature, this museum belongs to the François Sommer Foundation of Hunting and Nature, and is an important, albeit strange, part of Parisian culture. The traditional and lush décor of this museum has been adorned with stunning paintings and sculptures, but the standout pieces of this collection are the beautifully crafted taxidermy that, ironically, brings life to the rooms. From stuffed foxes curled up on chairs, to proud stags standing in the corner of a room and a ferocious-looking polar bear towering over visitors, there's plenty of 'wildlife' to admire. On top of the stuffed animals, the museum also explores the history of hunting in France, and includes a vast collection of hunting weaponry, and even a handful of rooms filled with stuffed trophies. Getting there and around If these unusual museums have you inspired to make the drive to Europe, make sure you do it with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It takes just 35-minutes to cross the Channel, so you'll soon be making the most the continent's most bizarre museums. Book your journey

Secret Surfing Spots

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Avoid the crowds and catch the best waves Europe's shores are lined with great surfing spots, but particularly in the hotter months, avoiding the crowds can be tricky. Whether you're a seasoned surfer or want to try out the sport for the first time, we've gathered a wide selection of quiet locations for you to hone your skills. Carcans-Plage, Aquitaine, Western France When you think of surfing in France, your mind may wander to Biarritz in the southwest. Whilst the surf here is excellent, the beaches can get pretty busy, which can be intimidating, especially if you're a beginner. Another beach that's great for surfing lies further up the west coast in the form of Carcans-Plage. This sandy haven is a really pleasant alternative to Biarritz's famous Côte des Basques, and if it's a hot day you can walk up the beach for even quieter surfing spots. Beginners will feel at home here as the difficulty level is low, but it still benefits from the same easterly winds as the more crowded beaches further south. Europe is home to some of the world's best surfing spots Playón, Asturias, Northwest Spain Spain's north is famous for the world-renowned surfing beach, Mundaka, which is just north of Bilbao. However, you'll find waves that are perfect for intermediate surfers in Spain's Asturias region if you travel a little further west. Beautiful mountains in the surrounding natural parks overlook the beaches here, and you will often find the sands completely empty. The nearest shops and amenities are at San Juan de la Arena, a sleepy fishing town, and with smooth sands lying beneath the waves, there are no hazards when surfing here. The wide beach means that it's open to the North Atlantic winds coming in from the Bay of Biscay, and this creates good groundswell that's ideal for seasoned surfers. Spain's north coast is a beautiful spot for a sunset surfing session Ouddorp, The Netherlands This spot is great as it's rarely busy, and is just a few hours' drive from Calais. It helps if you go when there's a strong wind, but the waves here are generally very consistent, and the shores are much quieter than some of the busier beaches, like Hart Beach. It's a safe environment for beginner surfers, and lovers of nature will enjoy spotting seals in the water. Another fun spot for surfing in the Netherlands is Hoek van Holland. This beach can get a little busier than Ouddorp, but is safe with good waves which are equally reliable. The Netherlands isn't known as a surf location, but if you're looking for somewhere private and near to Calais, this is a good option. The North Sea offers up its own unique surfing experience Vila Nova de Milfontes, Alentejo, Southwest Portugal In southern Portugal, the Algarve is the place best known for its surfing. Further west, a little up the coast, you'll find the region of Alentejo, which boasts good waves and fewer crowds. In the warmer months, you'll find a few crowds around due to the nearby summer resort, but as a surfing spot it still remains underrated. Sitting at the northern point of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, we recommend catching the waves as they approach the river mouth of the Rio Mira. If you travel around the area, you'll find many small beaches made of both reef and sand, which are worthy surfing spots. The wave quality here is good, and they're best suited to intermediate level surfers. Surfing is a fun activity and can be a great hobby for the kids Dossen, North Brittany, France If you don't want to drive too far inland, the shores of Brittany offer up some great waves, albeit a little cooler than the ones that are offered further south. There are a number of beaches dotted around and you can try surfing on any of these, but by far the best is Dossen. It's well-known for windsurfing in particular, but makes a fantastic surfing spot too, and never gets too crowded. Its location means that it's easily affected by the wind, and the huge white sands are an ideal place to enjoy a family day out. The conditions attract a range of skilled surfers, and it's a very naturally beautiful area to enjoy. Even during busier days, there are life guards around, so you'll know that the family is safe. Northern Brittany's coast is a great place to catch more challenging waves Afife, Praia do Bico, Northwest Portugal Scattered along the northwestern Portuguese coast, you'll find some perfect surfing opportunities. One of the best-known spots around these parts is Peniche, made famous by the World Surf League, and whilst the waves here are worth visiting, a more secluded experience can be enjoyed at Afife. You will get some crowds here on a hot day, but it's far quieter than Peniche and is a little closer to home as it's right in the north of Portugal. The waves here are consistent and you'll get quality surf all year round. There is a variety of different waves, although beginners might struggle with the strong riptides here, so if you're just starting out, it might be a good idea to head to the nearby Vila Praia de Âncora, where you'll find easy low waves and soft sands. The waves at Portugal's Afife are perfect for seasoned surfers Getting there and around Inspired by our secret surfing spots? Grab your board and wetsuit, and jump in the car. With your journey from Folkestone to Calais taking just 35 minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttleyou'll make the beach in time for those perfect barrel waves. Book your journey

Learn French in France

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Learn French in France From bonjour to au revoir, learn French as you travel through France. Begin your journey of learning at one of these top language schools in France. If you've ever wanted to learn a language, then the best way to get to grips with the phrases, intonation and colloquialisms is by immersing yourself in the culture and exploring that country for yourself. To help you get inspired for a journey of learning, we've put together a simple guide to easy French phrases, and where you can find some of the best language schools across the country. From learning the lingo in the midst of bustling Paris, to relaxing on a beach in Biarritz as you jot down notes, France is undoubtedly the very best place to learn French. Learn the basics You don't need to be fluent to get by in France, but knowing a handful of phrases can be really helpful, especially when you're shopping at the local market, or want to ask a question. Hello, goodbye... Yes – Oui No – Non Please - S'il vous plaît Thank you – Merci Hello – Bonjour (formal, can be used morning and afternoon) Hi – Salut (informal) How are you? - Comment ça va? Good evening – Bonsoir Good bye - Au revoir Do you speak English? – Parlez-vous anglais? Shopping and dining Do you have any spare tables? - Avez-vous une table libre? Would you like anything else? - Vous prendrez autre chose? The bill, please - L'addition, s'il vous plaît How much is this? - C'est combien? Could I have a carrier bag, please? - Puis-je avoir un sac, s'il vous plaît? Getting around Where is…? - Où est…? The town centre - Le centre-ville The tourist information office - L'office de tourisme Car - La voiture Excuse me, is there a petrol station near here? - Excusez-moi, y a-t-il une station-service près d'ici? Weather What's the weather like? - Quel temps fait-il? It's sunny - Il y a du soleil It's raining - Il pleut It's snowing - Il neige It's … degrees (Celsius) - Il fait ... degrés Learning French on holiday North Paris Founded in 1988, Accord French Language School is located in the heart of Paris, close to the Louvre. The school offers a variety of course programmes, from intensive lessons to family courses for parents with children aged between 6 and 17. The family courses are tailored to suit children's needs and wants, and even include fun days out to Disneyland Paris and Parc Asterix. One of the best ways to spend time outside of class is by sightseeing; from wandering past the Sacré-Coeur to admiring the Arc de Triomphe and the impressive Eiffel Tower. To see the sights in a good time, rent out a couple of bikes, and pedal your way around this enchanting city. If you want to put the things you've learnt to practise, head over to Rue Montorgueil, one of the city's top market streets that is known locally for being a foodie heaven. As you wander through, you'll come across the divine smell of rotisseries and bakery stalls, as well as vendors selling flowers, strawberries and fresh pastries. Rouen If you wish to learn French in the region of Normandy, then make the trip to the city of Rouen, where you can study at French in Normandy. The school is located on the left bank of the River Seine, opposite Rouen's botanical garden, Jardin des Plantes de Rouen, a beautiful collection of flora that makes for the perfect lunch break destination. The school's courses vary from general language to cultural immersion programmes, where students can learn all about the local culture, cuisine and the region of Normandy. Rouen is a beautiful city, full of enchanting architecture, making it the perfect place to explore after a day of learning French. One of the best sights to spot is the Rouen Cathedral, a captivating place of worship that has an intricate gothic design. From most points in the city you can spot the cathedral's sky-high cast iron spire, which can often be seen piercing the sky's billowing clouds. Inside has a similar grey and gothic feel, and features beautiful carvings of religious icons. If you and the kids are in the mood for a bit of adventure, follow La Route Des Fruit, a well-known orchard trail located in Regional Natural Park, between Notre-Dame-de-Bliquetuit and Duclair. You and your family can carry your very own wooden baskets, and pick handfuls of delicious apples, pears and berries. Get to know Rouen through French South Biarritz Biarritz is a beautiful seaside down that is often popular with surfers, and fans of the southern coast sun. If you want to learn French in this breathtaking location, book some lessons with France Langue – Biarritz BLS, a wonderful French language school that's located not too far from the stunning Plage de la Côte des Basques. From beginners to those of you who have achieved a competent level, the school caters to all stages of learning, and even offers a special teen programme for your kids. On top of classes, the school also has a garden, swimming pool and computer room, so it makes for a great place to relax as a family. After lessons, make sure you make the most of the town in the wonderful sunshine. Known for its exceptional architecture, a tour of the town's best buildings is a must. Wander into the Imperial Church, a Roman-Byzantine and Hispanic-Moorish styled building, which features intricate mosaicked walls. Another great example of architecture is the Orthodox Church, a Byzantine place of worship that was designed by local architect, M. Tisnés, and features icons from St. Petersburg, Russia. For kids, head over to the Sea Museum, an amazing underwater world that has 50 aquariums and over 1,000 species, including sharks. There's also the Planète Musée du Chocolat, a chocolate factory that explores the history and heritage of chocolate making. During your visit, you'll learn how the cocoa bean is used to create chocolate bars, and will even get the chance to sample one or two chocolate drops. Get lost in the beauty of Biarritz Montpellier If you're planning a trip to the bustling city of Montpellier, and wish to learn the language during your travels, a great place to start is Accent Français, a brilliant school located close to the city's main square, Place de la Comédie. There are plenty of course options, where you can choose between staying for a few weeks, learning over a long period of time, or taking advantage of the briefer private classes, between exploring the city's sights. The school even offers cooking lessons for eager chefs, and a cultural programme that immerses you into the French scene. If you're travelling with your kids, take them along to the LSF School, which is just around the corner from Accent Français. At LSF, your kids can take part in the summer school lessons and activities, and make friends during the after-lesson social activities. Outside of class, there's plenty to see and do in this fascinating city, from admiring the architecture to enjoying the amazing French cuisine on offer. If the weather's good, head down to one of the most stunning beaches closest to Montpellier, Espiguette beach in La Grau du Roi, which is just a 40-minute drive from the city centre. Get lost in the beauty of Biarritz Getting there and around Have you always wanted to learn French? If this guide has got you inspired to take on a journey of learning, you're in luck. A trip across the Channel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle takes just 35-minutes, meaning you'll be saying salut, merci and au revoir in no time at all. Bon voyage! Book your journey

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