Daily Escape

The Galeries Lafayette

Photo by Reuters

The Galeries Lafayette

Paris, France

Jet set to Paris where the shopkeepers have a knack for conjuring magic with stunning window displays any time of the year. But during the Christmas season, boutiques and department stores alike kick the drama and festive glam up a notch. At upscale Galeries Lafayette, in the city’s Opera District, the windows facing the street show fairytale scenes. Inside, at the store's center, beneath its famous glass dome, an animated, 60-foot-high tree hangs from the ceiling, decorated with 1.9 miles of glittering lights.


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French Riviera
French Riviera

French Riviera

Welcome to the French Riviera aka Côte d'Azur! The southeast coast of Provence, France, is sprinkled with some of the world’s most popular beaches and destinations, including Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez. Many celebrities, such as Elton John and Brigitte Bardot, have homes in the region. 960 1280

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Hotel Negresco

Hotel Negresco

The Hotel Negresco is where self-made millionaires and wannabes rub shoulders as this 1906 landmark. The luxury hotel is named after Henri Negresco, who had the palatial hotel constructed in 1912. Built to attract wealthy vacationers, the Hotel Negresco has 119 guest rooms and 22 suites. 960 1280

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Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

In the spring, Cannes becomes the backdrop for the annual Cannes Film Festival. Celebs donned in the best attire walk the red carpet surrounded by adoring fans and a crowd of paparazzi. 960 1280

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Monte Carlo Beach

Monte Carlo Beach

Monte Carlo Beach -- the most fashionable of all the French Riviera’s beaches -- was once frequented by Princess Grace. The sand was imported to the beach which conveniently runs along the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel. The best time to visit the coastal beach is between July and August. 960 1280

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St. Tropez

St. Tropez

St. Tropez has been called the playground to jetsetters, fashion models, and millionaires. It’s also known as the place were French actress Brigitte Bardot was discovered. In addition to the town’s acclaim for its clothing-optional beaches, it also hosts an annual regatta at the end of September that draws numerous superyachts aka luxury yachts. 960 1280

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Museum of Oceanology

Museum of Oceanology

Perched on a cliff on the coast of Monaco, the Oceanology Museum main draw is the famous aquarium with tanks containing every imaginable species of fish, crab and eel. The main floor displays skeletons and taxidermy of enormous sea creatures; as well as, submarines and diving gear from the Middle Ages. Other top attractions in the Riviera include Place du Casino in Monte Carlo, Jardin Exotique de Monaco and Colline de Chateau in Nice. 960 1280

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Nice Carnival

Nice Carnival

If you didn’t know already, the Nice Carnival attracts over a million visitors every year. The first celebration on record dates back to 1294, which probably makes it the original carnival celebration. The Carnival spans a 2-week period with the final day on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). 960 1280

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Chapelle de la Miséricorde

Chapelle de la Miséricorde

Visit Nice’s Chapelle de la Miséricorde to marvel in the chapel’s beautiful architecture, which includes crystal chandeliers and a magnificent altarpiece by Renaissance painter Ludivico Brea. 960 1280

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Nice

Nice

The 2nd largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille, Nice is also the 2nd-most visited place in France after Paris, receiving 4 million tourists every year. The city has a university, several business districts, museums, a national theater, an opera house with a regional library and several concert halls and casinos. Between May and October is the best time to experience the warm Mediterranean climate of this coastal city. 960 1280

  

Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat

Grand Hotel du Cap-Ferrat

The Grand Hotel, built in 1908, competes with the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc as the Riviera’s most opulent. Set in a well-manicured garden, it was once a winter haven for royalty. This posh place to stay has a private beach club with a heated seawater pool and a Michelin-starred restaurant that uses fresh ingredients from the local markets. 960 1280

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Lemon Festival

Lemon Festival

Experience the annual Lemon Festival in Menton. The festival lasts a few days and consists of different bands passing through the city streets on foot or on truck trailers. The Casino Gardens, in the center of the town, are decorated in the theme of the festival, using lemons or citrus fruit to cover the exhibits and huge temporary statues. Past festival themes include Viva Espana, Disney, Neverland and India. 960 1280

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Cannes

Cannes

Cannes is one of the most popular and glamorous resort destinations in Europe. This French coastal city caters to the upscale travelers. Although it’s known as a haven for sun worshippers, the city takes center stage for the annual film festival. Most beaches along La Croisette are owned by hotels and or restaurants. Tourists can rent a sailboat at the port or at some of the beachfront hotels. 960 1280

  

Château de la Napoule

Château de la Napoule

Château de la Napoule has the reputation for being the Riviera’s most eccentric and most fascinating château. The castle was constructed in the 14th century for the Countess of Villeneuve. In 1918, Henry Clews Jr. and his wife, Marie Clews, restored and moved into the castle. The American sculptor created a menagerie of scorpions, pelicans, gnomes, monkeys and other odd sculptures around the castle. 960 1280

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Plage de Tahiti

Plage de Tahiti

Visit Plage de Tahiti, St. Tropez’s sizzlin’ sandy beach. This is France’s most well-known beach because it’s frequented by topless or nude sunbathers. Ever since the days of actress Brigitte Bardot, this beach has been a movie star favorite, and it’s been known to be a cruisy spot for singles. 960 1280

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InterContinental Carlton Cannes

InterContinental Carlton Cannes

Not surprising, the InterContinental Carlton, a 1911 hotel that survived World War II attack, is packed during the Cannes Film Festival. The hotel has 343 rooms, including 39 renovated suites, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, 10 meeting rooms and a private beach. With breathtaking views over the Bay of Cannes and its location near city’s shopping district, this is the place to be in Cannes. 960 1280

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Montel Carlo Casino
Monte Carlo Casino

Monte Carlo Casino

Go big or go home! Visit the Monte Carlo Casino, a gambling and entertainment complex that includes a casino, the Grand Theatre de Monte Carlo and the office of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. European and English roulette, Poker Texas Hold ‘Em Ultimate, craps, blackjack and slot machines are just few ways you win big -- if you’re lucky. 960 1280

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French Riviera Tour

French Riviera Tour

Take a guided tour of the glamorous French Riviera and Monte Carlo, one of 4 traditional quarters in Monaco. Monte Carlo is also the ward where the Monte Carlo Casino is located. In addition to the casino, visitors should see and experience must-see sights including Le Metropole Shopping Center, Larvotto Beach, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Oceanographic Museum and the Exotic Garden of Monaco. 960 1280

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Prince's Palace of Monaco

Prince's Palace of Monaco

Rub elbows with a prince or just visit the home of Prince Albert II, the son and successor to Prince Rainier. Built in 1191 as a fortress, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco is a popular tourist attraction. The state rooms are open to the public during the summer. We recommended listening to the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra perform an open-air concert in the palace’s courtyard. 960 1280

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Nice, France

Nice, France

Fly into the Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport before heading to Monaco. Go shopping, sample the local cuisine, go sightseeing and make sure you visit Castle Hill, Musee National Marc Chagall, Old Town, Cours Saleya Market and Parc du Chateau. Wrap up your day by watching the sunset while strolling along the Promenade des Anglais, a famous street along Nice’s Mediterranean waterfront. 960 1280

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Fairmont Monte Carlo

Fairmont Monte Carlo

One of the largest resorts in Europe, the Fairmont Monte Carlo has more than 600 guest rooms, residences and suites, 2 restaurants, a bar, shopping center, in-house casino, award-winning Willow Stream Spa and a rooftop pool for you to enjoy views of the French Riviera. 960 1280

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Monte Carlo Harbor

Monte Carlo Harbor

The Monte Carlo Harbor has some of the most luxurious scenery that Monaco has to offer. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll among the impressive yachts and beautiful buildings. The harbor is thriving, with cruise ships, fishing crews and dozens of restaurants and bars in case you need to make a pit stop along the way. We recommend spending $2-ride on the Bateau Bus (water taxi) to really take in all the sights while you relax. 960 1280

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Le Louis XV

Le Louis XV

The cuisine at Le Louis XV restaurant is inspired by the French Riviera and Italian Riviera. A meal here isn’t for travelers on a budget. For lunch, 2 dishes, cheese, dessert, coffee and wines selected by the restaurant’s sommeliers will easily rack up a $190 check at the end of your meal. A jacket is required and tie recommended. 960 1280

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Restaurant Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo

Restaurant Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo

Located at Hotel Metropole, Restaurant Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo is a dining experience not to be missed. Sample the French cuisine with a fresh Mediterraneantwist. This restaurant is one of 2 restaurants owned by world-renowned French chef Joel Robuchon. For travelers who enjoy Japanese cuisine, try Yoshi, Chef Robuchon’s other restaurant also located in Monte Carlo, and expect to pay $250 per person. 960 1280

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Casino Café de Paris

Casino Café de Paris

Increase your chances of winning big! Visit the Casino Café de Paris on Place du Casino, where a jackpot is paid out every 7 minutes! This casino has 1,200 slot machines -- the largest array of slot machines on the Riviera -- including video poker, roller machines, roller videos and wide-area progressives like the Star Wars Jackpot, which includes bets placed at the Sun Casino, Casino Café de Paris and Bay Casino. The pot starts at 500,000 euros (or more than $662,000). 960 1280

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Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort

Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort

Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort provides a smorgasbord of amenities for its guests, including more than 334 rooms (75% with a sea view), Cinq Mondes Spa, restaurants, casinos, shows and legendary Jimmy’z Sporting Monte-Carlo nightclub. There’s really no reason to leave this luxurious resort. 960 1280

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Monte Carlo Harbor
Monte Carlo Harbor

Monte Carlo Harbor

Check out these magnificent yachts docked in Monte Carlo Harbor, the rich-and-famous playground that served as a location for the James Bond movie GoldenEye. Take in the impressive sights of rococo buildings and mountains on the Bateau Bus (water taxi) or hop aboard a yacht cruise. 960 1280

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Oceanographic Museum

Oceanographic Museum

Rising from the cliff-side rocks, the Oceanographic Museum is home to a treasure trove of sea life: seahorses, sharks, cuttlefish, sea cucumbers and more. The building itself is a monumental work of art: It took 11 years to build, using 100,000 tons of stone from southeastern France. The museum marked its 100th anniversary in 2010. 960 1280

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Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Take a tour of the Prince’s Palace. For the past 700 years, these stately grounds have been home to the Grimaldi dynasty -- most notably, the late Prince Rainier III and the glamorous movie star-turned-princess, Grace Kelly. The palace’s state rooms are open to the public during the summer. 960 1280

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Hotel de Paris

Hotel de Paris

Relax in the heart of Monaco at the Hotel de Paris. This luxury resort hotel opened in 1863; today it’s regularly listed on the annual Conde Nast Traveler Gold List. Strike gold with exceptional dining (3 restaurant choices, showcasing Mediterranean gourmet dishes), along with airy, spacious rooms like this. 960 1280

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Opera de Monte Carlo

Opera de Monte Carlo

Take in a performance at the Opera de Monte Carlo. The opera house opened in 1879, commissioned by the Grimaldi family to showcase Monte Carlo as more than a Riviera playground. Today the opera house presents classical musical performances, ballet and philharmonic acts -- all from the small-yet-luxurious comfort of this 524-seat auditorium. 960 1280

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Palace Changing of the Guards

Palace Changing of the Guards

Round the clock, these officers stand guard outside of the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. See the stately Changing of the Guard each day at 11:55 a.m. The guards themselves are composed of an infantry division with 119 officers and sentry. Their motto: “Honor, loyalty, devotion.” 960 1280

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Larvotto Beach

Larvotto Beach

Soak up the sun on Larvotto Beach. Set against a backdrop of luxury apartment buildings, this glamorous beach is home to high-end restaurants showcasing seasonal local seafood (grilled sardines, mussels and more), as well as jet-ski and sea-kayak rentals to cool off in the refreshing Mediterranean waters. 960 1280

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Le Metropole Shopping Center

Le Metropole Shopping Center

You can’t leave Monaco without doing some shopping, so head to the Metropole! This shopping gallery spans 3 floors, with 80 boutiques (and names like Kenzo and Swarovski) that define exclusive. Lest all this proves too pricey for your credit card, there’s always plenty of window-shopping to enjoy, accompanied by glittering period chandeliers. 960 1280

Le Metropole Shopping Center  

Monte Carlo Casino

Monte Carlo Casino

"Bond, James Bond." It's here, at the Monte Carlo Casino, that our favorite British spy uttered those words. Step into this world of cool, decadent entertainment, and try your hand at blackjack, stud poker and Trente et Quarante, a 17th-century gambling card game that hails from France … you might just win. 960 1280

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Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix

Take a supercar test-drive at the Monaco Grand Prix. Held each year on the Circuit de Monaco, the race has attracted a bevy of Hollywood A-listers through the years, including film producer George Lucas and actor Leonardo di Caprio. The first run began in 1929; today the annual race makes up the Triple Crown of the racing world. 960 1280

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Helicopter Tour of Monte Carlo

Helicopter Tour of Monte Carlo

Feel like James Bond and see Monaco by helicopter! Take in incredible aerial views of Monte Carlo’s most jaw-dropping attractions -- the Prince’s Palace, the Monte Carlo Casino and the Monaco Grand Prix racetrack -- along with the sheer beauty of this stretch of French Riviera coastline. 960 1280

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Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection

Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection

A prince needs his cars. See nearly 100 classic cars of all makes and models that make up this high-priced collection. How pricey? When the Prince of Monaco auctioned off 38 cars from his massive collection, the asking price for one of the oldest was about $43,000. See the luxury car collection yourself at the Terraces de Fontvieille, a museum and multipurpose hall. 960 1280

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