Choosing the Perfect Holiday Apartments in Paris

It’s probably no surprise to anyone that a vacation to France has made it onto more than one dreamer’s bucket list. From the Eiffel Tower to its world-famous museums, there is more than enough to see and do in Paris alone to keep a visitor entertained for weeks on end. Luckily, at the end of the day, weary travelers have almost limitless options when it comes to choosing where they lay their heads each night. Quaint B&B’s, and charming hotels dot the city’s landscape, and for those wishing to immerse themselves into the culture more deeply, holiday apartments provide all of the creature comforts of home for an extended stay.

Many times it is simply more economical for adventurers to seek out longer-term rentals. Particularly in situations where a trip might be combined with work, or perhaps Paris has been chosen as a jumping off point, or home base for a more extensive trip through Europe. Private apartment rentals are an attractive option in this regard as they offer a more customizable environment, more room, and more freedom to come and go as you please. Not having to worry about the hassles of re-booking expensive hotel rooms, making scheduled meal times, or needing to tip someone every time you reach for a towel leaves you with more time to relax and enjoy your stay on your own terms.

Here is a quick look at some of the options available to travelers visiting the City of Love. Each place offers a different type of hospitality to help you plan your trip just the way you like.

Hotels

When it comes to booking a stay in one of the many stylish, and luxurious hotels of Paris, there are almost as many options to choose from as there are sights to see. You will find small, privately owned motels that provide you with Old World charm, and the unique fingerprint of the proprietor, to large scale and popularly known hospitality chains that cater to travellers every whim. Some of the most extravagant establishments offer Five Star dining and deluxe accommodations designed to please and impress more discerning vacationers. You may need to do a bit of investigating to find the right fit for your personal dream vacation, but your choices are limitless.

B&B’s

The B&B is one the more romantic options for honeymooners, lovers and anyone wanting to add something special to an important anniversary. Travelers looking for a bit more pampering from their vacation will love the “welcome home” atmosphere that most B&B owners offer. The bed and breakfast experience also offers a more personal touch with the local French culture. Home cooked meals are provided, where guests discuss their itineraries and get real insider information from their hosts about where to find the best wine bar or restaurant. The hosts may even let you in on local secret gems, and which tourist traps to avoid. This option is great for anyone looking for a touch of personality on his or her European adventure.

Holdiay Rentals

If you are spending more than a few days then it makes sense to book a holiday rental in Paris. It actually works out to be more economical to rent an apartment, and you will get the experience of living in Paris as opposed to being somewhere purely for tourists. Apartment style living is great for travelers who are looking for a bit more personal freedom than the average tourist.

Apartments vary in size and cost and are plentiful. Most provide traveling tenants the unique opportunity to come and go as they please, just as they would in their own home. Owners usually furnish their rentals with modern amenities like internet and cable tv, and all furnishings are provided. Apartments also let visitors prepare food they buy from local markets in a private kitchen.

Regardless of how you imagine your romantic vacation in Paris, a perfect getaway is waiting to be discovered that will push your experience beyond our expectations.

4 great cycling destinations in France

With biking trails that snake through picturesque coastal communities and vast green spaces, France is one of the best destinations for cyclists who want to explore country landscapes and historic metropolises on their bike. There is a whole host of hidden treasures to explore in France by bike, including twisting trails off the beaten track that make France a pleasure to explore.

1. Marseille

While the north of France can experience temperamental weather, especially during the fall and winter months, the south of the country is a different story. With coastal towns and picture-postcard fishing villages, the French Riveria is the ultimate destination for bikers who prefer to cycle in warm weather. Book a trip to Marseille, a port city which has been a major trading post since 600 BC. Famous for its cobbled streets and bustling markets, the modern metropolis combines a city break with a beach vacation, with many trails to explore.

2. Avignon

Avignon’s beautiful architecture is encapsulated by its steepled churches and stone bridges that overlook the Rhone River. The city was once the seat of Catholic popes in the 12th century and continues to lure history buffs and bikers who want breathtaking vistas. Here, you can explore medieval stone monuments, royal palaces and market squares on your bike and choose from a plethora of accommodation, including boutique hotels and welcoming guest houses. The surrounding region is also famous for its wine and you can book a winery tour when you get there.

3. Chamonix

Nestled in the snow-topped mountains, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, or Chamonix for short, is a popular ski resort which attracts tourists from around the world. As well as the cable cars and mountain views, Chamonix is a biker’s paradise, with trails and routes that intersect the center of the resort. Ride past historic buildings and awe-inspiring architecture; just don’t forget to bring your camera with you! Here, the roads aren’t too busy, allowing you to whizz around the resort by bike and check out the cultural landmarks and other attractions wth ease. The resort is close to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain peak in Europe outside of the Caucasus region.

4. Fontenay-le-Comte

Close to France’s west coast, and a stone’s throw from the tranquil Vendée River, Fontenay-le-Comte is a small commune in the Vendée department that is the perfect place to explore by bike. Cycle past iconic structures like Notre-Dame church, Saint-Jean church, and Quatre Tias’ fountain and explore beautiful local landmarks like Billaud house and Rivalland tower. Once you’ve worked up an appetite from all that cycling, make sure you sample local cuisine in one of the commune’s many cozy restaurants, which serve authentic flavors and mouth-watering ingredients. Looking to book the ultimate cycling vacation in Fontenay-le-Comte? Check out cycling holidays from France-Voyage, the travel site that provides you with a wealth of information when planning your trip. You can check out rentals, hotels, campsites and more, providing you with all the information you need before you embark on your trip.

Our family cycling guide for the Loire Valley

Cycle enthusiasts, families and those just keen to get away from it all will thoroughly enjoy a peaceful bike ride through the beautiful surroundings of the French countryside. Cycle alongside the River Loire through the valley and take in the breath-taking scenery filled with endless vineyards, historic towns, villages, and châteaux. There are plenty of fantastic cycling routes to pick from each offering their own unique and picturesque first-hand experience of France.

Our family cycling guide for the Loire Valley

Some of the more popular routes along the Loire Valley have been enjoyed for many years now by those of all ages looking to take a gentle ride through the idyllic countryside. There are many routes of different lengths that offer so much to see and so many places to stop off and visit along the way. A shorter route means you can take it easy and better enjoy the surroundings one sunny afternoon, whilst those looking to get plenty of exercise will benefit more from the longer 45km cycle routes available. There is the Loire bike route as well as the impressive trans-regional bike route, the Loire à vélo, that crosses through a number of areas.

There is plenty of accommodation throughout the valley so if you do decide to take a break and you need a well-earned rest and to get your head down for the evening before you head back out again then you won’t be short of options. To ensure you know exactly where you’re headed it would be a good idea to pick up a guide and familiarise yourself with the various hostels, B&B’s and tables d’hôtes, which are B&B that includes an evening meal. Of course if you’d like more of a rural experience you can also pick from the many campsites along the way such as the Parc de Fierbois and pitch up your tent.

Loire Valley is an essential wine region and the area which stretches from the Auvergne hills all the way to the coastal area near Nantes is filled with must-see vineyards especially for wine lovers and fanatics. Cycling through wine country and visiting each of the regions is a great way for those looking to learn more about wine making and wine tasting. Sampling the diverse range of flavours under the beaming sun surrounded by the beautiful landscapes is an experience like none other. You can even improve your French wine knowledge with BelleFrance’s Loire Valley wine map, and other useful wine-based guides, that will help see you along the path through the valley.

Cycling Loire Valley

Whatever trip you decide to take it’s sure to be filled with unforgettable scenic views and many incredible locations to soak up. The freedom of a cycling holiday allows you, your partner and your family to explore the French countryside. You can have a picnic river side then cycle to a local wine museum or charming château. The best part is that if you plan your route beforehand you can ensure that every moment of your trip gets the very best out of your cycling experience.

7 Absurdly Expensive Places You Need to Visit

7 Absurdly Expensive Places You Need to Visit

Most of us infected with the travel bug aren’t what most people would call well-off. We invest an inordinate percentage of income in items with little monetary return, like plane tickets, hotel rooms, and fancy cameras, and as a result, we usually choose places to visit that aren’t particularly hard on the wallet, like South America or Southeast Asia.

However, what most budget travelers fail to recognize is that while we applaud ourselves for our financially savvy traveling strategy, we are actually missing out on some of the most outstanding world travel opportunities — just for the sake of our bank accounts. To prove my point, here are seven of the highest-priced travel destinations on Earth and why you absolutely cannot miss them due to their expense.

First, Some Big-Ticket Travel Tips

Budget travelers aren’t accustomed to spending thousands of dollars on one-way plane tickets and hundreds of dollars on hostel beds, so many have never learned some important lessons about saving money on expensive travel, like these:

Season. Obviously, the tourist high season will be most expensive, but off-seasons are also pricey. The best deals occur during shoulder periods, usually in early spring and fall.

Credit cards. Rewards cards can save you more than airfare; with the right combination of cards, you can go places for virtually no expense whatsoever.

Friends. More bodies mean more opportunities to split the check, so the more people you travel with, the cheaper your trip will be.

Discounts. Many of the most expensive places contain must-see attractions with costly tickets, and you can save by purchasing group fares at hotels or tourism offices.

The truth is that travel anywhere can be expensive, but with the right strategies, it doesn’t have to cost as much as we usually spend. Thus, without further ado, here are the places it pays to visit — even if you pay quite a bit to get there.

1. Norway
For 10 years, Norway has held the top spot among expensive travel destinations. For many travelers, this might come as a shock: The Scandinavian country seems to offer few world-famous landmarks or natural wonders to attract tourists. The truth is Norway is a well-kept secret, containing some of the most gorgeous sights in the world.

2. Switzerland
Alternatively, as one of the richest countries in the world, Switzerland is barely surprising as an expensive destination, with the average hotel room costing roughly $224 per night. Worse still, the cities and countryside rarely offer discounts, as Switzerland is just as popular in snowy winter as in balmy summer. Still, the Alpine skiing alone should be enough to bring you to the Swiss.

3. United Kingdom
The Pound and the Dollar have always struggled for supremacy, but for the past decade or so, it has steadily become outrageously expensive for Americans to tour the United Kingdom. Still, few Americans can resist the pull of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which serve as mother countries to many in our melting pot. Filled to bursting with historical sites, including several hundred in London alone, the U.K. is worthy of a long stay — if you can afford it.

4. Italy
It is the extraordinary combination of stunning natural scenery, beautiful climate, delicious cuisine, and historical significance that makes Italy a must for tourists. Fortunately, many of the larger cities aren’t especially hard on traveling wallets, but the drive to see the wealth of Italy’s geography — especially wine country to the north — that can increase costs to nearly $4,000 per week.

Italy

5. Australia
A Western destination near the Far East, an exotic island whose inhabitants speak English, Australia is full of intriguing contradictions. However, in just five years, the land down under has jumped from 38th to seventh in the list of most expensive countries, making it difficult not only for travelers to reach — considering its position at the edge of the world — but also for travelers to afford.

6. France
The top destination for light and love — not to mention outstanding cuisine — France builds its budget around its average annual $87.4 million in international tourism. In cities and the countryside, France’s reputation tends toward luxury and sophistication, which doesn’t come cheap. Still, there is no sight more welcome to tourists than the iconic Eiffel Tower, a common symbol of world travel.

7. Israel
A desirable destination for millennia, Israel continues to attract religious pilgrims, adventure seekers, and world travelers. The average visitor to the Holy Land spends nearly $2,000 for the privilege of staying and seeing age-old cultural sites. Yet, most travelers cannot resist the allure of a land that has been so contentious for so long.

Pack your bags to… Paris

The City of Light is one of the world’s most romantic travel destinations and has it all. Yearning for some seriously beautiful cityscapes and iconic monuments? Consider it done. Hungry for one of the globe’s most famous cuisines? It’s literally on a plate. Eager for a dose of super high culture? It’s all yours for the taking. Yet in all that, are you tired of the old Parisian travel clichés, and keen to discover a different side to the Paris everyone else knows and loves? Well, you’ve come to the right place. So you’ve taken your pick of the abundance of Paris holiday apartments. As one of the world’s most visited locations, there’s no shortage of holiday rentals here, so finding a base in one of the city’s glorious and varied arrondissements won’t prove problematic. All you have to do is focus on the city break to trump all city breaks. Allow us to offer up a few suggestions.

Things to do

What could be more French that hurtling through the country’s capital in an old Citroen 2CV? Unless you’re eating a portion of escargot while you’re at it, not much. Check out the kitsch and genius 4rous Sous 1parapluie who provide chauffeured tours of Paris’s must-see areas while you sit back and take it all in.

Visit Montmartre. This heartbreakingly quaint area of Paris made famous by Amelie isn’t just beautiful; it’s bustling with life, steeped in the cabaret-artisan history made famous by the likes of Toulouse Lautrec. And amongst its eateries, cafes and gift shops, there’s a tiny little vineyard where visitors can book a short tour and taste some of its produce.

Eat dinner on the Seine. Book in on a much-recommended riverboat tour one evening and enjoy a three-course meal while absorbing the city’s sites from the romance of the water. This must be what it would have felt like to be Edith Piaf!

Best time to go

Paris is incredible all year round, but it’s no accident that its synonymy with springtime has endured. As the city bursts into new floral life, the swell of its romantic atmosphere couldn’t get any more acute. But while some argue that the summer months is the best time to visit Paris, taking a trip during winter time also has its magical merits: it isn’t called the City of Light for nothing.

Top 3 Hipster districts to visit

Canal St Martin: This is where the young and in the know hang out these days, catching up with friends and enjoying a beer or two in the dwindling sunlight. Check out its focal point, Point Ephémere, for gigs, exhibitions and the kind of underground Parisian culture nobody else has ever managed to find.

Le Marais: Not strictly orthodox hipster, but cool as alley cats nonetheless. Browse the area’s vintage scene, its boutiques and galleries, and sate your inner culture vulture’s thirst with a glass of something delicious outside one of its many brasseries.

Menilmontant: The 20th arrondissement’s buzzing alternative artists scene is as vibrant today as it was in its famous 1930s heyday. If you like café culture and artist spotting, this is your place.

Insider locations to dine and hangout

We’ve all gotta eat, and who doesn’t want a refreshing biere at the end of a long day taking in the best Paris has to offer? Take a look at some of our favourites.

Eat
Chez Janou
2 Rue Roger Verlomme
75003
+33 1 42 72 28 41
This utterly authentic restaurant in The Marais region boasts Frencher than French cuisine and will have you feeling like a native boho in no time.

Auteuil Brasserie
78 Rue d’Auteuil
75016
+33 1 40 71 11 90
Munch down on some of Paris’s finest Italian food at this restaurant that was until recently an abandoned railway station.

Le Petit Vendome
8 Rue des Capucines
75002
+33 1 42 61 05 88
Ideal (and very popular) for a light lunch, grab a delicious filled baguette and go. Just be prepared to join a long queue!

Bars
Batofar
13 Quai Francois Mauriac
75013
+33 1 53 60 17 00
It’s worth going the distance to reach this boat conversion into a bar and club for a great night out.

Le Sans Souci
65 Rue Jean-Baptiste Pigalle
75009
+33 1 48 74 37 28
This popular bar in the Pigalle area attracts throngs of locals in pursuit of refreshment; a great way to experience the real crust of Paris nightlife.

Experimental Cocktail Club
37 Rue Saint-Sauveur
75002
+33 1 45 08 88 09
If cocktails are your poison, you’ll love this trendy bar where mixologists whip a storm of unusual and delicious drinks.

Four reasons to visit France

France is one of the world’s most popular destinations and there are many reasons why travellers choose to holiday in the country. One of the best adverts for France is that 80% of the French people who leave home for their holidays actually choose to holiday elsewhere in the nation, rather than going to another country. You can’t get a better advert for a country than the bulk of its population not wanting to holiday anywhere else!

So why does France attract so many visitors? Here are just a few good reasons.

Land of history and heritage

France is packed with amazing cathedrals and chateaux, as well as beautiful sites such as Mont St Michel. Where France can let the visitor down, though, is the way in which sites of special historical interest are sometimes presented. Some of the guided tours around magnificent buildings such as the Palais de Versailles can be dull, so make sure to read some Trip Advisor reviews before booking a particular tour. You may have more fun just paying for the entry and going round by yourself.

The great outdoors

There’s a wealth of different landscapes to enjoy in France and, in many of them, you can cycle, bike and hike your way through beautiful territories. A great example would be the wine route in areas such as the Route des Grands Crus in the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy, where the fields are covered in hectares and hectares of vines, dotted with beautiful villages. For the more adventurous, there’s canyoning to be done – whether you choose the Verdon Gorge in the South East, the Chamonix Valley or around Mont-Blanc or the French Riviera. Canyoning is a mix of different sports, including abseiling down waterfalls, caving, climbing and rafting and it is a great way to get an adrenalin rush in beautiful and dramatic scenery.

Sampling the different wines of Burgundy is all part of the fun
[By Philip Larson]

Be a part of something big

You can always tie in your French trip with a big sporting event. Every year, the Tour de France weaves a different route across the length and breadth of France, and it can be great to stay somewhere near the route so you can stand by the roadside and cheer on the cyclists. In the build-up to the leaders and the peloton passing through, there’s also the lively atmosphere of the caravan – a stream of different merchandising vehicles that travel the route ahead of the cyclists. Though the cyclists will pass in a blur of helmets and lycra, it’s a great spectacle.

Next year sees a massive sporting event being hosted in France, when the finals of Euro 2016 take place in June and July. Nine cities, including Marseille, across France will host different matches, with the opening game and the final taking place at the Stade de France in Paris. The French are hosting the event for the third time and international football betting odds at the time of writing have the host country at around 4/1 to win the tournament, behind the 2014 World Cup winners Germany. Even if you don’t get tickets to any of the games, the atmosphere is sure to be lively while Euro 2016 is on in la belle France.

Paris

Notre Dame on the Seine in Paris
[By  dalbera]

Need we say more! Paris is a city that seems to be on most people’s travel bucket lists. The city is one that has always been linked with romance, beauty, art and history, and always will be. Paris is easy to navigate on foot, or using the public transport systems, and the different quarters all have their own appealing features. Few would visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower (even if they don’t go up it), taking a trip along the River Seine and visiting museums such as The Louvre and churches such as Notre-Dame.

Whatever the main reasons for wanting to visit France, few people will be disappointed. As well as all the amazing places to visit and see in France, part of the fun of a French holiday is soaking up the culture – things like the croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast, and the wonderful food you’ll be served in all types of restaurant. Then there are everyday things such as watching (or joining in) a game of boules with the old guys in the village square, settling into the slow pace of life in the countryside where you might have rented a gite, or people-watching on the beaches.
With generally clement summer weather, French holidays have a magical ambience to them. It’s no wonder people return again and again to this beautiful country.

3 Great Cycling Breaks in Europe

There are, perhaps, very few activities that are more adventurous, interesting and wholesome than exploring another country on a bike! Although each country in Europe offers fantastic environments for cycling breaks, there are a few – like these three great destinations – that can be compared to any of the best cycling destinations in the world…

Rome, Italy
With a bike, helmet and a local guide provided to you, discovering the history behind Rome is just a pedal away. If you choose to have a local guide accompany you on the cycle tour, you don’t have to keep guessing the story behind each monument. Moreover, you can discover Rome’s ancient structures; understand that every nook and cranny of Rome is brimming with an unexpected surprise. Explore the various churches and fountains, and cycle through Rome’s ancient secret passageways, and toast yourself to a gelato. When on a cycle tour around Rome, be sure not to miss the Colle Oppio garden, the Venezia Square, the Pantheon, the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Theatre of Marcelllus, and the Piazza Navona.

Andalucía, Spain
Explore the romantic landscape and the enchanting elegance of Andalucía in Spain on a cycle and take home beautiful memories. Start your cycle tour – independent or guided – from the beautiful Seville. Explore its mosque- cathedral of Mezquita, rustic city of Cordoba, dip into the history of the place before heading to Andalucía. You just need to bring your own helmet (even though you can choose to get one from the guide), and a lot of adrenaline to the tour. Take the White Village tour and enjoy cycling on dirt tracks and countryside roads, see the rivers and lakes pass by, and venture into the lush forests before taking a break at the Via Verde. From independent exploration to self-guided tours, leisure cycling tours to family cycling holidays, mountain biking to winter training camps, exploring Andalucía on two wheels is everything a cycle tour enthusiast would ask for.

Brittany, France
Ask any experienced cycle tourist who has explored Europe about their favorite cycling break destination and more often than not, they will sing the praises of Brittany. Brittany is a place that is perfect for a cycling holiday in France – you will see a nice cozy bar or a restaurant every 10 miles or so. A short cycling tour will help you explore tiny villages, lust green hillsides, and thick forests, cross moorland, marketplaces, coastlines and cliffs. No place in France will offer so much variety than Brittany. The climate of Brittany is perfect for both long and short cycle stints. The food is great, the people are perfect and the place is a cycle tour enthusiast paradise. The un-spoilt villages like Gouarec, rural landscape, pristine waterways, beautiful farms, ancient lanes and rolling landscape – Brittany is perhaps the best place to start your cycle tour.

Chosen by some of the most enthusiastic travelers, these three destinations – Rome, Brittany and Andalucía – have the best of nature, history and adventure packed into one, so hop onto 2 wheels and get yourself over there!

Achieving the Most out of Nice on a Budget

One of the most popular tourist cities to visit in France is definitely the quaint city of Nice. With its amazing Mediterranean climate, beautiful old-fashioned buildings with amazing histories, sunny pebbled beaches and bright blue oceans, there is no question as to why this city is so loved. The problem with exploring France, the most romantic place on earth, is that many people feel that their wallets are not thick enough to experience the best that the land has to offer. This, however, is not the case. If one is able to travel smartly, having a clear understanding of the best places to stay, the cheapest ways to move around and pinpointing the most economical attractions to visit, you will be surprised to discover that you can achieve the full Nice experience, without your wallet having to suffer.

Accommodation

Nice may be known as having world-class hotels, although one tends to lose that cosy, warm feeling of a home when staying in a hotel, besides having to fork over large amounts of money for a bed and bathroom. Thankfully, Nice has a large number of beautiful self-catering or bed and breakfast villas and apartments that are cheaper, and allow you to achieve the true Nice housetrip experience.

Transportation

Although Nice offers some great affordable public transportation, in the form of busses and trains, one of the best ways to view this romantic city is by bicycle. Along with many other progressive cities around the world, Nice has a top-class bike share system which provides an extremely cheap way to discover the city. The first 30 minutes are free, after which each additional hour costs one euro.

Exploring Museums

When it comes to learning about the rife history attached to France, and the lovely city of Nice, the best, and cheapest, places to do so is at the numerous museums spread around the city. These museums are completely free, making them the perfect attractions for a budget holiday. Nice is located in the area where some of the first evidence of human activity in Europe was discovered, and The Archaeological Museum in the Cimiez neighbourhood is the perfect place to discover more. For a more recent history though, the modern art museum MAMAC offers a collection of work from a massive number of artists. The museum’s roof terrace also offers visitors with some spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and buildings below, which are almost as beautiful as the works of art hanging on the walls inside.

Hotel vs holiday apartment in Paris

Paris

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and for good reason – it’s a beautiful city. Seriously, it’s amazing. It is a place you have to see for yourself to understand why it is so popular. With such demand to visit you will notice once you start planning your trip how expensive hotels are compared to other capital cities in Europe. With such high prices and little value for money it is worth considering renting a apartment when staying in Paris.

When it comes to renting a holiday apartment many people may just assume that this type of accommodation is limited to beach resorts, but apartment rental is a common form of holiday accommodation in Europe. Apartment types can range from studio apartments, to homes with multiple bedrooms. You will find that you can get a much bigger place for the same money you would have spent on a hotel room.

One of the biggest benefits of renting an apartment is that you have a kitchen, which will mean you will be able to save money on food costs, especially if you are staying over a longer period of time. And obviously the more in your family/party, the more you will save.

Another benefit of staying in an apartment is the feeling of “living like a local”. Your apartment will most likely be in a residential street so you will not stand out like a tourist. You will be coming and going just like the locals do, going shopping at the local supermarket and getting to know the corner cafe.

Apartments are most suitable for longer stays. If you are just staying for the night then a hotel is probably more convenient. Chances are you wont have time to shop for food, and you wont have to pick up the keys.

When looking for an apartment it is best to go through a website that has pre-screened apartments for you. Sites like Housetrip offer holiday apartments in Paris. And if you don’t know which neighbourhood to stay in (or Arrondissement as they say in Paris), they also have a useful guide of where to stay in Paris. Going through a website agency you can read reviews by other guests of the apartment (by people who have actually stayed there, so no fake reviews) and they will have a clearly written process on how to get to the apartment.

Unlocking the history in Europe

Whether visiting just one European city or region, or taking an extended tour of England, Italy, Germany and France, there is so much history to discover that a single trip will only allow the traveler to scratch the surface. While each country has its own distinct culture and history, each has waged war and been conquered by one another, and/or shared kings and queens, sometimes on more than one occasion. The result is an often bewilderingly complex and colorful history that can be traced back for many thousands of years.

Although it is almost impossible to list everything a visitor to Europe should see and do, here are just a few suggestions to whet the appetite.

England

Most visitors to the UK will arrive in London, which has countless historic sites and museums. There is the Tower of London, which William the Conqueror had built in the 1080s; 11th century Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum… the list is endless.

Outside the capital, one of the country’s most popular and ancient monuments is Stonehenge, which is thought to have been constructed between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. There are dozens more ancient stone circles and monoliths dotted around the country. Dating from more recent times, 1775 to be precise, the world’s first cast iron bridge is located in Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, some 158 miles northwest of London. A World Heritage Site, featuring a number of museums and craft centers, it is widely accepted as being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Italy

Rome has so many museums and ruins it seems there is something to see around every corner. There is the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill, while in the Vatican City there is the 15th century St Peter’s Basilica.

Florence is home to the Uffizi Gallery, with its sculptures and paintings by artists such as Michelangelo, Rubens and Rembrandt. Construction of Florence’s cathedral, The Duomo, started in the 13th century and the cathedral is dominated by a magnificent dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Also not to be missed are the Leonardo da Vinci museum and the Accademia Gallery, which houses Michelangelo’s David.

During the Battle of Cannae Hannibal of Carthage, outnumbered more than two to one, defeated an 80,000-strong Roman army led by Consuls Varro and Paullus II. Fought on August 2, 216BC, it is claimed to be the bloodiest battle in history. The site of the battle is near the town of Barletta, some 250 miles south-east of Rome.

Germany

Germany has been at the center of Europe for many centuries, from its early tribal beginnings, through invasion by the Romans, to the 20th century when it was epicenter of two world wars. After the Second World War the country was divided into East and West by the Iron Curtain, before finally being reunified in October 1990.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, which was constructed between 1788 and 1791, was originally the entrance to King Frederick William II of Prussia’s Palace. It became the symbol of the reunification of both the city and the country following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Short sections of the Wall, which was erected in 1961, have been preserved throughout the city. A 1.3-km length is visible at the open-air East Side Gallery.

Going back much further in time, the Imperial Baths of Trier were constructed in the 4th century AD by the Romans, who fought numerous skirmishes and battles with Germanic tribes between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD. The Baths are the largest outside Rome and significant sections remain standing. Visitors are also able to see and explore the Baths’ underground tunnels.

France

One of the first structures travelers arriving in Paris are likely to spot is the Eiffel Tower. This iconic landmark was opened in 1889 and, along with Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the Arc de Triomphe, is sure to be high on any tourist’s list of essential sights.

Another major attraction in the city is the Louvre Museum, which contains over 35,000 objects in an area that covers over 652,000 square feet. The museum’s exhibits date from modern to prehistoric times, though it is most famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which the artist is thought to have completed while at the court of Francis I.

France has seen numerous battles over the centuries but those fought during the First and Second World Wars are likely to be of most interest to today’s visitors. The First World War saw some particularly bloody encounters and, at the site of the Battle of Belleau Wood, which took place between June 1 and 26, 1918, 2,289 US soldiers are buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. At Bayeux in Normandy, where thousands of Allied troops landed on D-Day, August 29, 1944, the conflict is remembered at the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum. Many other museums and memorials can be found all along this part of the French coast. Bayeux is also where the famous tapestry depicting a much earlier battle; the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, is displayed.

Europe offers something for everyone and each country has its own language, though English is also widely spoken. Whether traveling on a budget or staying in five star hotels, there are comfortable accommodations to be found in almost every town and city. What’s more, by checking out websites such as Flights.com, getting there need not cost a fortune.