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Paris Through Literary Eyes

May 26th, 2013

Looking for a new way to explore one of Europe’s most beloved cities? Why not discover the City of Lights by retracing the steps of literary greats who called Paris home? Paris’s literary history is so rich it rivals the city’s creamiest brie. But of course, you don’t have to sacrifice that, either. Here’s a list of must-see sights in this glorious city, as well as some options for literary exploration.

If you have an in-flight movie option on your way across the pond, you might consider watching Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris. Loaded with references to America’s “Lost Generation” of expatriate writers and artists of the 1920s, it will whet your palate for the sights to come. F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and his most admired friend, Ernest Hemingway, are all alluded to in the film, along with Pablo Picasso, T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Henri Matisse, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, and more. Of course, you can also dive deeper into French culture by exploring some of France’s own literary greats, such as HonorE de Balzac, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas.

Literary Homes, Haunts, and Resting Spots

If you are interested in making the pilgrimage to some of these Paris homes, try a walking tour, or stop in for a visit at one of these museums.

Authors’ Former Homes

- F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald:

· 14 rue de Tilsitt, 8th arrondisement, right bank, near the Arc de Triomphe

· 58 rue Vaurigard, 6th arrondisement, on the corner of the Luxembourg gardens

- Edith Wharton:

· 58 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondisement, across the street from Hotel Matignon

(Prime Minister’s residence)

- Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus:

· near Luxembourg Gardens’ western side

· Gertrude Stein and life partner Alice B. Toklas’s salon, frequented by artists and writers alike

Cemetaries

- Pere Lachaise Cemetary:

· take an atmospheric walk and pay homage to Proust, Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Apollinaire, Moliere, and more

· location: 16 rue du Repos, 75020 Paris

· hours: 8:30am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 5pm daily

- Montparnasse Cemetary:

· pay tribute to Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvior, Jean-Paul Sartre, Charles Baudelaire, Marguerite Duras, Guy de Maupassant, and more in one of Paris’s favorite literary neighborhoods

· location: 3 Boulevard Edgar Quinet, 75014 Paris

- PanthEon:

· worth a visit for the architecture alone, you can also stop by the tombs of Voltaire, Rousseau, Emile Zola, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and more

· location: Place du PanthEon, 75005 Paris

· website: http://www.pantheonParis.com/

Museums

- Maison de Victor Hugo

· address: 6, place des Vosges Hôtel de Rohan-GuEmEnEe, 75004 Paris

· website: www.musee-hugo.Paris.fr

· tel: 01 42 72 10 16

· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm

- Maison de Balzac: the home of HonorE de Balzac

· address: 47, rue Raynouard, 75016 Paris

· website: http://www.Paris.fr/pratique/musees-expos/maison-de-balzac/p6837 (in French)

· tel: +33 1 55 74 41 80

· hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm

- Chateau de Monte Cristo: writer Alexandre Dumas’ country home outside the city

· address: Château de Monte-Cristo, 78560 le Port-Marly

· website: http://www.chateau-monte-cristo.com/en/index.html

· tel: +33 1 39 16 49 49

· hours: April 1st – November 1st: Tues – Fri 10am – 12:30pm, 2pm – 6pm; Sat/public holidays: 10am – 6pm; November 2nd – March 31st: Sundays only, 2pm – 5pm

- MusEe Carnavalet: covers the history of Paris, with great exhibits on Voltaire and Rousseau

· address: 23, rue de SEvingE, 75003 Paris

· website: http://www.carnavalet.Paris.fr/en/homepage

· tel: +33 01 44 59 58 58

· hours: 10am – 6pm Tuesday through Sunday

The Quintessential “Writer in Paris” Experience: CafE Life

If you are interested in viewing the world through these writers’ eyes, debating grand ideas with your own companions, or just nibbling on a croissant and sipping a cafE au lait, you might try one of the following places:

- The Polidor (Cremerie-Restaurant Polidor)

· go for: the history, tried and true Parisian food

· location: 41 rue Monsieur Le Prince, 75006 Paris, open 12 – 2:30pm, 7pm – 12:30am daily except Sundays

· famous guests: Paul Valery, Jack Kerouac, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Victor Hugo

· website: http://www.polidor.com/index.html

- Maxim’s

· go for: an expensive meal and Art Deco furnishings

· location: 3, rue Royale, 75008 Paris

· famous guests: Marcel Proust, Brigitte Bardot, Jean Cocteau

· website: http://www.maxims-de-Paris.com/p2us.htm

· tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 27 94

- CafE Les Deux Magots

· go for: the literary history and a cafE au lait

· location: 6 Place Saint-Germain des PrEs, 75006 Paris

· famous guests: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvior, Albert Camus, StEphane MallarmE, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud

· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 25

· website: http://www.lesdeuxmagots.fr/en/ambiances.php#/ambiances.php

- CafE de Flore

· go for: Art Deco interior, the history, and some delicious hot chocolate

· location: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

· famous guests: Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and many more

· tel: +33 1 45 48 55 26

· website: http://www.cafedeflore.fr/accueil/

Tours

With so much vibrant history in this city, one great way to explore is to take a tour led by an experienced guide who can weave the threads of history together. Try Paris Walks’ Hemingway’s Paris tour (12 Euro/person) or for a slightly broader sweep, Localer’s Paris Literature tour (39 Euro/person), which includes a visit to Sylvia Beach’s famous English language bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.

http://www.Paris-walks.com/summer-walks.html

http://www.localers.com/day-tours/Paris-literature-tour

And Don’t Miss….

While you visit the City of Lights, take advantage of these great deals and must-sees.

City Sightseeing Paris / Les Car Rouges

Paris’ Flea Market - The Insider’s Tour

Seine River Sightseeing Cruise

Hotels:

We would like to recommend a couple of nice and affordable hotels to stay in while you’re visiting Paris:

Mercure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel

Comfort Hotel Bobigny Paris Est

Pavillon Villiers

Pavillon Italie

Angie Picardo is a writer at NerdWallet, a financial literacy site where you can find advice on marriage finances.

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Memorial Day

May 22nd, 2013

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Our nation’s soldiers are celebrated heroes, with stories that reach the hearts and minds of the young and old.

Whether you’re a veteran yourself who fought alongside those lost, or a student learning about these wars and battles from the pages of a textbook, memorials help provide additional insight into our country’s history.

With Memorial Day around the corner, we give you three memorials worth visiting to reflect and remember.

1. Korean War Veterans Memorial

Upon arriving, soldiers dressed in stainless steel greet you, set in stances that suggest they’re on their way to something important. Moving through the bushes, they stand alongside walls sandblasted with commemorative images and a shallow Remembrance Pool for reflection.

Constructed in Washington, D.C., and dedicated in 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial honors all those who served in the Korean War. This battle between North and South Korea took place from June 1950 to July 1953.

2. U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

Bronze soldiers gather to raise a flagpole in this memorial monument honoring all United States Marine Corps personnel who have lost their lives in duty since 1775.

The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial has sat on a pedestal outside the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, since its 1954 dedication. The pedestal base is engraved with the following phrase: “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

3. Gettysburg National Military Park

The Battle of Gettysburg was a significant turning point in the Civil War, as it was the first major defeat suffered by the Confederacy. The battle is remembered at Gettysburg National Military Park, where visitors can tour the battlefield (now speckled with monuments and cannons) and visit the spot where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.

Composed of 5,989 acres of land, the park also provides ample opportunities to hike, bike, horseback ride and more. Visit the official website of the Gettysburg National Military Park for more things to see and do on your trip to the battlefield.

Historic Travel Quick Tip

As you visit these memorials, try to take away one fun fact about the event, person or people the memorial represents—expand your knowledge of our nation’s history!

Share your historic travel experiences in the comments below.

Book a historic trip for you and your family using Last Minute Travel, and enjoy our low prices!

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Hawaii: A Tropical Land Where Deals Abound

May 19th, 2013

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

If you’ve ever wanted to visit America’s own island paradise, it might be more feasible than you initially thought. Though we often associate “luxury”, “vacation”, and “getaway” with Hawaii, the “off-season”, which paradoxically boasts Hawaii’s best weather of the year, has many good deals on flights, hotels, and more. Here’s a basic guide to kick-start your vacation planning.

When to Go

Although weather-wise, you can go anytime of year, what time you decide to visit Hawaii will depend on your budget and what you want to experience while there. Generally, the weather is cooler from December to March, and warmer and drier from April to November, which is technically Hawaii’s summer season. To get the best deals on just about everything, visit during the off-season periods between April and June, or September and November. There will be better weather and fewer crowds, anyway, and you’ll pay much more if you are traveling during the peak seasons of December to March or July to August.

Where to Go and What to See: A Basic Guide to the Islands

Made up of over one hundred small islands, there are six main ones to consider when planning your trip.

Oahu: “The Gathering Place”

Hawaii’s third largest island and its governmental and commercial center, Oahu boasts sites such as the famous Waikiki, Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu, the historic Pearl Harbor, and Iolani Palace, the home of Hawaii’s last two monarchs. The majority of Hawaii’s population resides on Oahu, making it one of the more populous and developed islands (public transportation is widely available). Its North shore is a surf mecca, where high season is from November to February. It is easily accessible via Honolulu’s airport.

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Hawaii Island: “The Big Island”

The youngest and largest of the State’s islands, Hawaii Island contains a huge variety of natural wonders, climactic zones, and environments. It is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the most massive mountain in the world (Mauna Loa), and the world’s tallest sea mountain (Mauna Kea). It also boasts the largest state park out of all the islands. With two airports, the Big Island is accessible via direct flights, especially to Kona, or via Honolulu on Oahu.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Maui: “The Magic Isle”

Some say Maui is the “best island”; it has been rated by such as travel giants like Conde Nast. With a smaller population, Maui has many sophisticated resorts and diversions, as well as some of the best beaches in the world. Golfing and whale watching (from December to May) are especially popular activities. Though many luxury resorts fall on the high end of the price range, there are some hostels available for budget travelers. There are three airports on Maui, with non-stop flights available from major cities in the continental U.S. Once there, you can get around by shuttle, tour bus, taxi, public transportation, or rental car.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Kauai: “The Island of Discovery,” “The Garden Isle”

The fourth largest island, Kauai is the oldest and northernmost of Hawaii’s chain. Some parts of it are only accessible via sea or air and cannot be reached by land. Outdoor activities abound, with lots of opportunities for snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and ziplining. Accommodations range from bed and breakfasts, to budget and luxury hotels. With its own airport, there are some non-stop flights available, but you can also reach Kauai via Honolulu. Think about renting a car if you plan to explore the island via land, as there is less in the way of public transportation here.

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Molokai: “The Friendly Isle”

This is an island where you can get away from the stressful hustle and bustle of life – the least developed of all of Hawaii’s islands, there is no traffic, no lights, and no tall buildings to be found on Molokai. Here, you can live as locals do and discover the Hawaii of the past. As the fifth largest island, it is home to the highest sea cliffs in the world and the longest continuous fringing reef. Most people living on Molokai are of native Hawaiian ancestry, so the island is a place where Hawaiian culture thrives. A higher elevation gives Molokai a cooler climate, so be sure to pack appropriately. Molokai has its own airport, but there is no direct service from the continental U.S., so you’ll want to book a flight through Honolulu or another hub. Once there, a rental car is a must, as there is no public transportation.

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Lanai: “The Pineapple Isle”

Known as the “Pineapple Island” because it was once entirely owned by Dole Foods and home to the largest pineapple plantation in the world, words often used to describe Lanai are “romantic,” “tranquil,” “serene,” and “intimate.” If you are looking for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this might be the island for you. Aside from its exclusive resorts, though, Lanai also has rugged back roads begging to be explored. There are no traffic lights on the island, and only about thirty miles of road are actually paved. It is the smallest of all Hawaii’s inhabited islands. Though there are no direct flights from the continental U.S., you can connect in Honolulu or Maui to local airlines that will bring you to Lanai’s airport. There is also ferry service from Maui available. The weather is drier and slightly cooler than the other islands, and a convenient island shuttle is available to take you to most frequented locations.

Check out sunny hotel deals with up to 40% discount

Travel Tips

Here are some quick tips to help you work out the details of your Hawaii vacation.

Flights

Most affordable flights to Hawaii are non-stop ones. Roundtrip fares from major cities in the continental U.S. usually start around $1000, but package flight-hotel deals are available. There are cheaper fares available during the spring or fall; they become more expensive during holidays and school vacations. If you can, book far in advance on EasyClickTravel, LastMinuteTravel or LMTClub. Also try to book flights mid-week rather than on the weekends for the cheapest fares.

Hotels

If you’re looking to splurge, there are plenty of luxury and mid-range hotels available all over Hawaii. For Honolulu, The Hyatt Regency on Waikiki Beach boasts stunning views, while the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and Spa features excellent amenities and beach access. Those both are tried-and-true options both worth booking.

Food

Hawaii’s cuisine is flavorful and diverse, but dining out can quickly become a big chunk of your budget if you aren’t careful. Avoid dining in major tourist locations, where prices are always higher. Also avoid chain restaurants and instead eat where the locals eat; don’t be afraid to ask around to find the best places! Look for hole-in-the-wall or mom-and-pop restaurants, which often source local produce, are cheaper, and have the most delicious offerings anyway. Take advantage of lunch specials and eat a hearty lunch and a light dinner. If you are staying in a private vacation rental and have the option to cook for yourself, consider purchasing produce at local farmers’ markets, which are generally cheaper than grocery stores. Finally, be sure to carry water and snacks with you when sightseeing.

Angie Picardo is a writer at TravelNerd, a blog dedicated to helping you save money traveling to the destination of your dreams by comparing airport taxi options at over 72 airports.

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Mothers Day 2013

May 13th, 2013

Being a mom is not always an easy job and we don’t say thank you nearly enough! That’s why again this year, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re rewarding all the moms with a much deserved vacation getaway! Take a break and relax with family or just couple of friends in some of the most favored destinations. Choose from a great variety of hotels in either sunny beach destinations like NYC. or Miami, or take a fun city break to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas with your girlfriends!

This year our lady travelers can enjoy a special treat - a $30 coupon! Enter coupon code MOTHER30 at checkout

Take a Break This Mother's Day

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Cinco De Mayo

May 2nd, 2013

Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate the culture, achievements and experiences of people with a Mexican background living in the United States. Take part in one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Miami, Cancun, Orlando, Dallas, and in the USA’s south-western regions. Save big with LastMinuteTravel.com low hotel rates!

This year we’re throwing in a special spicy hot treat - a $20 coupon! Just enter promo code CDM20 at checkout.

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