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Sights in Valletta, Malta

Valletta is the capital of Malta and is a city with a rich cultural and military history. It is very religious with several churches and a basilica.

  • Barrakka Ta’ Fuq (Upper Barrakka Gardens)—a lookout point with a troupe of cats, greenery, and views of Grand Harbour and the Three Cities across the water; Castile Square
  • John’s Co-Cathedral—an impressive church designed by the architect Gerolamo Cassar between 1573 and 1578 with an interior renovated in the 17th century in a Maltese Baroque style with a painting of John the Baptist by Caravaggio, a long low nave with walls and pillars encrusted with rich ornamentation, marble floors, and a vault with paintings by Mattia Preti that depict events from the life of St. John the Baptist; Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Grand Master’s Palace—the former residence of the Grand Masters of the Knights of St. John and until 2015 the seat of Malta’s parliament is now home to a collection of over 5,000 suits of 16th to 18th century armor and weaponry including crossbows, muskets, swords, and pistols and the State Apartments with five rooms usually opened to the public; Pjazza San Gorg
  • National Museum of Archaeology—a museum housed within the Auberge de Provence that features exhibits that include artifacts such as stone tools dating back to 5200 BC, Phoenician amulets, and a temple model from Ta’Hagrat as well as model prehistoric figurines that were found within the area, pottery from the Bronze Age, animal figurines, and jewelry; Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Fort St. Elmo and National War Museum—this fort named after the patron saint of mariners was built in 1552 in only four months to guard the harbors on either side of the Sceberras Peninsula and was restored and reopened in 2015 with the addition of the National War Museum which covers Malta’s wartime history from 1565’s Great Siege when Turkish forces attacked the country to World War II with audiovisual displays and artifacts such as a biplane and the George Cross awarded to the country in 1942
  • City Gate—this city gate designed by Renzo Piano resembles the dimensions of the original 1633 entrance to the city giving visitors the feeling of crossing a real bridge with a frame designed to look like knights’ sabers
  • Parliament Building—this building completed by Renzo Piano in 2014 includes two massive stone volumes that are supported by stilts and photovoltaic panels on the roof which generate much of the energy required to ventilate the building and inside is the northern block which contains the parliament chamber and the southern block containing the offices of the members of parliament
  • Lascaris War Rooms—a mechanically ventilated underground tunnel complex that lies 40 meters below the Upper Barrakka Gardens that housed Great Britain’s secret command in Malta during WWII and remained in use until 1977 with a restoration completed in 2009 with the rooms laid out in their original configuration staffed by wax figures; Lascaris Ditch
  • Church of St. Paul’s Shipwreck—a church honoring St. Paul who was shipwrecked in Malta in 60 AD and brought Christianity to the country with a 19th century façade and a 16th century interior with treasures such as a gilded statue of St. Paul carved in Rome in the 1650s, a golden reliquary containing bones from his wrist, and part of the column on which he was killed in Rome; Triq San Pawl
  • Carmelite Basilica—a basilica originally built in 1570 and expanded in the mid-19th century that was rebuilt between 1958-1981 after being damaged in World War II with a 42-meter-high dome and an interior with an early 17th century painting of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and red marble columns; Triq I-Arcisqof
  • Valletta Contemporary—a modern art gallery with a rotating roster of exhibitions and installations from local and international artists; 15-17 Triq il-Levant
  • MUZA—the current incarnation of Malta’s Museum of Fine Arts located in the Auberge d’Italie, a 16th-century building that was once home to Italian members of the Knights of St. John, with historic maps and paintings; Auberge d’Italie
  • Casa Rocca Piccola—a 16th century palazzo that is the family home of the 9th Marquis de Piro who currently lives there and allows visitors to see parts of his luxurious home and the family’s WWII air-raid shelters; 74 Triq ir-Repubblika
  • Malta Postal Museum—a small museum with a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the postal system of the Knights of St. John; 135 Triq-I-Arcisqof
  • Malta Contemporary Art—a space dedicated to photography, painting, mixed media, and other art exhibitions; Triq Felix
  • James’ Cavalier—a 16th century fortification transformed into an arts center with galleries, theater, and a cinema; Castille Place
  • Sacra Infermeria—located in the former 16th century hospital run by the Order of St. John, this museum has an exhibition about medieval medicine; Triq-it-Tramuntana
  • Prospettiva—an installation designed by a Maltese architect to celebrate Valletta’s distinction as the 2018 European City of Culture that merges the city’s five gates into a two-dimensional structure disassembled into planes; Glormu Cassar Avenue
  • Siege Bell Memorial—a memorial erected in 1992 that commemorates those who lost their lives during the war convoys between 1940 and 1943; St. Christopher Bastion
  • Toy Museum—a doll-sized museum with a large private collection of model toys such as tin cars from 1950s Japan, tin toys from 1912 Germany, Matchbox cars, farmyard animals, train sets, and dolls; 222 Triq-ir-Repubblika
  • Triton Fountain—a grand fountain sculpted by Maltese sculptor Vincent Apap in 1959 restored and reopened early in 2018
  • National Library—a library with a classical façade erected by the Knights of St. John with book-lined shelves and occasional temporary exhibitions
  • Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial—a monument to the 2,298 members of the Commonwealth Air Force who died in World War II with no known graves
  • War Memorial—a monument to the 600 Maltese and almost one million British servicemen who died in World War I
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Sights in Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius is the capital city of Lithuania and has endured a turbulent history of occupation and violence and has many memorials to victims of the atrocities that occurred within the city and country.

  • Arkikatedra Bazilika—Vilnius’s main cathedral that has been a national icon for centuries and inside is the 17th century Chapel of St. Kazimieras; this cathedral was originally a temple to a pagan god before becoming a church in the 13th century when Lithuania converted from paganism to Christianity (the last European country to convert); Katedros 1
  • Ausros Vartai (Gates of Dawn)—the only remaining gate of Vilnius’s nine 16th century gates which has to the right of the gate a door leading to the Chapel of Our Lady of Vilnius, a room that has its walls covered with metal and silver hearts and an icon of the Virgin Mary known for its healing powers; Ausros Vartu 12
  • Vilnil Museum of Illusions—a fun museum that explores how different illusions work through interactive displays; Vokieciu g.6
  • Apastalu Petro ir Povilo Baznycia (Sts. Peter and Paul’s Church)—a Baroque style church with extensive white décor inside the church including sculptures and intricate stucco carvings; Antakalnio g. 1
  • Paneriai—a forested historic site that serves as a memorial to the many Lithuanian citizens who were killed in the Holocaust; Agrastu 17
  • Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania—a museum that provides an overview of the monetary development of Lithuania such as the transition to a central bank; Totoriu g. 2/8
  • Anne’s Church—a Gothic church known for its impressive façade; Maironio g. 8
  • John’s Church—a beautiful church located on the campus of Vilnius’s university that was reconstructed in 1749 with a high altar and elaborate blue organ and is known for its adjoining bell tower which can be accessed via a modern glass lift elevator; Sv. Jono g. 12
  • Church of St. Theresa—an early Baroque-style church with ornate carvings and frescoes inside; Aushros Vartu g. 12
  • KGB Museum (Genocido Auku Muziejus)—a museum dedicated to the Russian KGB and its prisoners who had to survive unbearable conditions; Auku g. 2a
  • Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania—a fortified palace that has been remodeled, expanded, destroyed, and rebuilt over the years and is now shown in its restored version of a Baroque palace built for the grand dukes in the 17th century with a central courtyard and ceremonial halls; Katedros aikste 4
  • Antakalnis Cemetery—one of Eastern Europe’s most beautiful graveyards with the burial sites of those killed by Soviet special forces on January 13, 1991, and a memorial that honors Napoleonic soldiers who perished from starvation and injuries in Vilnius while retreating from the Russian army; off Kariu kapu gatve
  • Vilnius University—founded in 1579 during the Counter-Reformation, this university was run by Jesuits for 200 years before being closed by Russians in 1832 and not reopening until 1919, it has 23,000 students and is home to Lithuania’s oldest library with 5 million books including one of two original editions of The Catechism by Martynas Mazvydas (the first book published in Lithuanian); Universiteto gatve 3
  • Mindaugas—a landmark statue that depicts the early unifier of the Lithuanian tribes in the mid-13th century and Lithuania’s first king; Arsenalo gatve 1
  • Gediminas Castle and Museum—the last of a series of settlements and fortified buildings that have occupied the site since Neolithic times and is a brick structure built by Grand Duke Vytautas in the early 15th century with great views of Vilnius and an exhibition that traces the history of the castle over the years with some scale models; Gediminas Hill, Arsenalo gatve 5
  • Tolerance Centre—one of the three main branches of the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum that has served as a refuge, concert hall, and theatre over the years that displays Lithuanian Jewish art, cultural, and historic collections with a small permanent exhibit on the Jewish avant-garde movement in Vilnius; Naugarduko gatve 10/2
  • Presidential Palace—a classical edifice that is home to the president and chancellery with a ceremonial changing of the guard every day at 6 pm and the flag-hoisting ceremony on Sundays at noon, tours must be booked in advance; S. Daukanto gatve 3
  • Michael the Archangel Church—an early 17th century church built by the Sapiega family with a Gothic nave, colored marble high altar, and alabaster statuary that is a unique example of late-Renaissance architecture with an exhibition inside with religious art, liturgical vessels, rare manuscripts, and reliquaries from Vilnius Cathedral; Sv Mykolo gatve 9
  • Bernardine Church and Monastery—one of Vilnius’s most impressive churches which was extended and improved in the 17th and 19th centuries and converted to a warehouse by the Soviets before being regained by the Bernardine community once Lithuania gained its independence and is now back to its original state with trails to explore the complex; Maironio gatve 10
  • Museum of Applied Art—housed in the Old Arsenal which was built in the 16th century and restored in the 1980s, this museum features temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection of 15th to 19th century Lithuanian sacred art; Arsenalo gatve 3a
  • National Museum of Lithuania—this museum displays artifacts that show how Lithuanians lived from Neolithic times to the 202th century with special collections devoted to the country’s folk traditions such as numismatics with some of the very first Lithuanian coins and burial goods; Arsenalo gatve 1
  • TV Tower—a 326-meter high TV tower with a tall needle that is symbolic of Lithuania’s resilience and strength as 12 pro-independence protesters were killed by the Soviet army here on January 13, 1991, with memorials to the victims near the tower and a revolving restaurant and observation deck at 165 meters high; Sausio 13-osios gatve 10
  • Theatre, Music, and Cinema Museum—a museum with three centuries worth of musical instruments such as the pusline (a primitive Baltic string instrument made from animal bladders) and kankle (plucked fretted-string instruments) as well as memorabilia from Lithuanian and Soviet films and an extensive collection that documents the national theater; Vilniaus gatve 41
  • House of Signatories—the 18th century home where Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence was signed on February 16, 1918, and now has an exhibition of materials related to the National Movement and the signatories; Pilies gatve 26
  • Holocaust Museum—a museum that depicts the destruction of Lithuania’s Jewish community, the Litvaks, through photos, documentation, and firsthand accounts; Pamenkalnio gatve 12
  • Amber Museum-Gallery—a small museum that is dedicated to Baltic gold and what can be created from it with trinkets and jewelry upstairs and in the basement pieces of many-hued amber, kilns, and other archaeological finds; Sv. Mykolo gatve 8
  • Kazys Varnelis Museum—a museum that features the personal collection of Kazys Varnelis, an artist who became famous for his optical and 3D paintings, with the collection including paintings, furniture, sculptures, maps, and books; Didzioji gatve 26
  • Bernadinu sodas—gardens located between Gediminas Hill and the Bernardine Church with riverbanks, paths, trees, and flowerbeds; Maironio gatve
  • Contemporary Art Centre—the largest center for contemporary art in the Baltic region with 2400 square meters of photography, video, installations, exhibits, and events such as lectures, live music, and film screenings; Vokieciu gatve 2
  • Vilnius Picture Gallery—built in the 17th century with additions in the 19th century, this former palace features a permanent collection of Lithuanian art from the 16th to the 19th centuries as well as temporary exhibitions that showcase Lithuanian movements, artists, and mediums; Didzioji gatve 4
  • Energy and Technology Museum—Vilnius’s first power station that operated between 1903-2003, is now home to exhibitions on energy, technology, and their historical development with original machinery for power generation preserved; Rinktines gatve 2
  • Memorial Complex—located on the grounds of the Tuskulenai Manor is this memorial to the victims of violence during the 20th century in Lithuania; Zirmunu gatve 1F
  • Radvilos Palace—a 17th century palazzo that is home to the foreign fine-arts section of the Lithuanian Art Museum; Vilnaius gatve 24
  • Europa Tower—the highest skyscraper in the Baltic region; Konstitucijos Prospektas 7

 

Shopping in Riga, Latvia

Riga has some unique shops, galleries, and shopping centers with a variety of stores that will appeal to any shopper. Here is just a sampling of the shops in Riga:

  • Central Market—a market hall with zeppelin hangars from World War I that has vendors selling produce, fruits, and vegetables; Negu iela 7
  • Art Nouveau Riga—an art nouveau souvenir and gift shop located in the midst of the art nouveau district; Strelnieku iela 9
  • Galerija Centrs—a modern shopping complex with stylish shops and restaurants; Audeju iela 16
  • Stockmann—a large department store spread out over four floors with men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and shoes as well as tableware, textiles, toys, appliances, cosmetics, a florist, grocery store, and deli; 13 Janvara Str. 8
  • Alfa Centrs—a Norwegian owned shopping mall that is the largest shopping center in Latvia with an H&M, a supermarket, and an Apple Store; Brivibas 372
  • Basteja Pasaza—a collection of European boutiques with high-quality and high-end clothing, shoes, and accessories stores; Valnu iela 12
  • Jana Rozes Gramatnica—named after and established by a famous Latvian publisher in the early 20th century who died in Siberia in 1942 and had his company nationalized until 1988 and in 1992 denationalized, this bookstore has Latvian books and books in English, German, French, Russian, Russian, and other languages; K. Barona 5
  • Ekovirtuve—an organic food store with locally produced food such as preservative-free organic produce and meats and a restaurant that serves organic, vegan, and vegetarian dishes; Rupniecibas iela 11
  • Proud 2B—a globally recognized brand with modern, comfortable, affordable, and basic clothing by designers; Dzirnavu iela 84
  • Apavi 40+–a women’s and men’s plus-size footwear store with shoes produced in Latvia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, the UK, and Finland; Kr. Valdemara street 38
  • Baltu Rotas (Baltic Jewelry)—owned by famed Latvian jewelers Inita and Vitauts Straupe, this gallery reproduces classic Baltic and Scandinavian designs as well as designs original pieces; Grecinieku iela 11-2
  • Bergs Bazaar—a shopping district with eclectic boutiques, furniture stores, an upscale hotel, an angling shop, and restaurants; Marijas iela 13/4
  • Globuss—a bookstore with English books, dictionaries, grammar texts, and English language literature; Dzirnavu iela 67
  • Domina—a shopping center with 110,000 square meters of clothing, footwear, and lifestyle apparel as well as a supermarket; Ieriku 3
  • Mols—an American-style mall with European chain stores and a food court; Krasta 46
  • Blow—a designer clothing store with names such as Alexander McQueen and Dolce and Gabbana at affordable prices; Barona iela 16
  • Medus Istaba—a small family-run business that sells honey, wax, and bee-related products; Peterbaznicas Str. 17
  • Hobbywool—a knitwear shop with knitted scarves, mittens, and garments; Maza Pils iela 6
  • Kalnciema Quarter Farmers Market—a farmer’s market with a variety of food stalls and craft vendors; Kalnciema iela 35
  • Robert’s Books—a secondhand English bookstore and café that hosts concerts, talks, and readings; Dzirnavu iela 51
  • Spice—a large mall with European brands such as H&M, Debenhams, and Zara, small stores, restaurants, and cafes; Lielirbes iela 29
  • Miesai—an independent design company from the Baltic region with simple everyday designs; Gertrudes iela 121
  • Glass Point—a glass art studio and shop that sells locally made artwork and designs; Pernavas Street 33
  • ETMO—a contemporary Latvian design shop with products for the home, clothing, and accessories; 4 Torna Street
  • RIIJA—a Latvian design boutique with a variety of products by Latvian designers such as bed linens, towels, clothing, furniture, tableware, and lighting fixtures; Terbatas iela 6/8
  • Manilla—a paper, stationery, and gift shop with home accessories, greeting cards, calligraphy items, toys, art supplies, and stationery; Terbatas iela 55
  • Chocolate No. 1—a chocolate café with chocolate products, hot chocolate, muffins, coffee, and a chocolatery; Blaumana iela 38/40
  • Cetras Zoles—a stylish discount clothing and shoe store; Terbatas iela 13
  • Dzenis Amber—an amber jeweler; Ratslaukums 7
  • Doma Antikvariats—an antique shop specializing in high-end antiques such as paintings, furniture, jewelry, icons, silver, porcelain, and antique medals; Smilsu iela 8
  • Love Riga—a Latvian souvenir shop with trinkets and other mementos; Audeju iela 5
  • Origo—a shopping center with name brands such as Nike and New Balance, clothing stores, bookstores, cafes, and restaurants; Stacijas laukums 2
  • EGLE Crafts Market—a crafts market with souvenirs, amber products, wooden goods, jewelry, wool, and leather goods; Kalku iela 1a
  • Page—a book store with a curated selection of books, magazines, writing tools, prints, and paper products; Miera iela 4
  • MusMaja (Our Home)—a souvenir shop with printed postcards and gift items; Kaleju Street 7
  • Boutique Maripol—a fur store with fur jackets, vests, and hats; Stabu iela 20

 

Sights in Riga, Latvia

Riga is an historic city with a sad history of occupation by Sweden, the Soviet Union, and Nazi forces during World War II but has many parks, memorials, monuments, and museums worth checking out to see how the city’s past has shaped its present appearance.

  • Riga Motormuseum—a recently renovated museum with the largest and most diverse vintage motor vehicle collection in the Baltic region with over 100 automobiles and motorcycles as well as interactive exhibits, virtual reality simulations, a children’s play area, a museum café, and a gift shop; Sergeja Eizenshteina Iela 8
  • Vermanes Garden—a scenic garden with colorful flowers that have different colors and textures; Terbatas Iela 2D
  • Mezaparks—a spacious large park with a zoo, restaurants, forested areas, bike paths, and a lake; Mezaparks
  • Zanis Lipke Memorial—a museum dedicated to Zanis Lipke, a Latvian who with his family helped save the lives of 50 Jewish individuals during the Holocaust and smuggled them to safety via an underground railway; Mazais Balasta Dambis 8
  • Latvian National Museum of Art—the largest depository of professional art in Latvia with five floors of works by Latvian artists and beautiful architectural design inside and outside; 1 Janis Rozentals Square
  • Nativity of Christ Cathedral—a beautiful cathedral with a golden dome and many treasures inside such as gold cupolas and Russian Orthodox iconography; Brivibas bulvaris 23
  • Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum—an outdoor museum that shows how Latvians in the countryside lived; Brivibas gatve 440
  • Musee Art Nouveau—an apartment with ten rooms furnished in the Art Nouveau style with descriptions written in several languages; Alberta iela 12
  • Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum—a museum that highlights the story of the Holocaust in Latvia and has a house that was in a Jewish ghetto; Maskavas iela 14a
  • Riga Cathedral—originally built in 1270 as a bishop’s cathedral, this cathedral features a large organ built around 1884 that has 6,768 pipes, one of the largest in the world; Herdera laukums 6
  • National Library of Latvia—a repository of national and world literature with the majority of the 4 million items in the collection consisting of Latvian and foreign publications about Latvia and Latvians; 3 Mukusalas Street
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia—an educational institution established in 1993 to display artifacts, documents, and educational exhibits about the 51 years that Latvia was occupied by the USSR and Nazi Germany; Raina bulvaris 7
  • Pareizticico katedrale—a restored Russian Orthodox church with glistening gold domes and an interior with icons and ornate décor
  • Art Museum Riga Bourse—an art museum with a small permanent collection consisting of an Oriental section, Ancient Egyptian exhibition, and other treasures from around the world as well as temporary exhibitions; Dome Square 6
  • Freedom Monument—a statue completed in 1935 to commemorate Latvian independence that depicts the image of Liberty holding three stars in her hands to symbolize unity; 1 Brivivas iela
  • Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation—a museum that takes visitors through 1000 years of Riga’s history with a variety of artifacts some prehistoric; Palasta iela 4
  • Riga Zoo—a small zoo with a polar bear, tropical house, giraffe house, a reptile room, and insect room; Meza prospekts 1
  • Latvian War Museum—a large museum with each floor focusing on a different war or theme with temporary exhibitions as well; Smilshu iela 20
  • Cat House—a popular attraction that depicts the story of a Latvian homeowner who was denied membership in the Great Guild and then built two cat sculptures on his roof with their backsides facing the Guild and their tails straight up in the air; Meistaru iela 19
  • Railway History Museum—a museum that illustrates the history of train operating systems, telephones, telegraphs, and the work at a railway line and models such as a German steam engine, snow plows, and a prison coach; 2/4 Uzvaras Boulevard
  • Swedish Gate—the only surviving city gate of Riga which was built into the city wall in 1698 during Swedish rule; Torna iela 11
  • World of Hat Museum—the only museum dedicated to hats in the world containing exhibits from around the world including hats, bonnets, and headbands; Vilandes iela 7
  • Jewish Museum—a museum dedicated to the history of Latvia’s Jewish community from the first Jews in Latvia in the 16th century to the events of the Holocaust; Skolas iela 6
  • Rumbula Forest Memorial—this forest was the site where thousands of Jews were forced to march to and were then shot and dumped in mass graves and is now a memorial with a large menorah surrounded by rough stones; Maskavas iela
  • ZINOO Riga—a children’s museum with over 100 interactive science exhibits and games; Dzirnavu iela 67
  • Modes Muzejs—a fashion museum with interactive hands-on exhibits for children and adults that displays clothing styles throughout the years; Grecinieku iela 24
  • Sun Museum—the only European museum dedicated to the sun which explores how different cultures depict the sun; Valnu iela 30
  • Botanisches Garten des Universitaets—a beautiful botanic garden with tropical houses, greenhouses, trees, and flowers; Kandavas iela 2
  • Great Choral Synagogue Memorial—a moving memorial that shows the ruins of a synagogue burned to the ground with hundreds of Jewish worshippers inside during the Holocaust; Gogola iela 25
  • Melngalvju Nams—the Gothic Blackheads House built in 1344 as a hotel for wayfaring merchants who wore black hats that was leveled by the Soviets in 1948 and renovated and reopened in 2000 for Riga’s 800th anniversary with a Dutch Renaissance façade; Ratslaukums 7
  • Okupacijas Muzejs—the Latvian Occupation museum which depicts the devastation of Latvia by Nazi and Soviet forces during World War II and the Latvian struggle for independence in September 1991 with a monument to the Latvian sharpshooters who protected Lenin during the 1917 revolution outside; Strelnieku laukums 1

Shopping in Rome

Rome is not one of the most affordable cities to shop in but could be fun just to browse at designer ateliers and fashion houses and see if anything strikes your fancy. Here is just a sampling of the many stores you can check out during your trip to Rome:

  • A. Testoni—named after the brand’s founder and original designer, this shoe store sells his artistic and comfortable footwear for men and women as well as color-coordinated messenger bags; Via del Babuino 152
  • Ai Monasteri—a shop selling traditional items made by Italian friars and monks including liqueurs, herbal decoctions, toiletries, colognes for children, and jams; Corso del Rinascimento 72a
  • Al Sogno—a high-quality toy store with an emphasis on artistic and multisensory toys such as puppets, dolls, masks, stuffed animals, and illustrated books; Piazza Navona 53
  • Almost Corner Bookshop—a tiny bookshop with a great selection of books from best sellers to translated Italian classics; Via del Moro 45
  • Anglo-American Book Co.—an inviting English-language bookstore with over 45,000 books that has a varied selection including textbooks, fiction, and nonfiction; Via della Vite 102
  • Anteprima—a clothing store with African and Roma inspired clothing such as day and evening dresses and separates; Via delle Quattro Fontane 38-40
  • Antica Caciara Trasteverina—a deli with ham, salami, Sicilian anchovies, burrata cheese, and local wines; Via San Francesco a Ripa 140 a/b
  • Antica Erboristeria Romana—the oldest apothecary in Rome dating back to 1752 with teas and herbal infusions as well as essential oils, bud derivatives, and powdered extracts; Via Torre Argentina 15
  • Arsenale—run by designer Patrizia Pieroni, this high-end clothing store sells stylish overcoats, bustiers, and flowy dresses; Via del Pellegrino 172
  • Art Prive—a small jewelry shop run by designer Tiziana Salzano makes chunky multistrand torsade necklaces; Via Leonina 8
  • Bartolucci—a toy store with handmade items made from pine by a family that has been designing its products for over 60 years which include items such as cuckoo clocks, bookends, bedside lamps, wall hangings, and a child-size wooden vintage car; Via del Pastini 98
  • Berte—one of the oldest toy stores in Rome that carries a large selection of dolls, stuffed animals, Legos, and other collectibles; Piazza Navona 108
  • Borsalino Boutique—a haberdasher with distinguished fedoras that have been worn by movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper; Piazza del Popolo 20
  • Braccialini—this family-run handbag shop sells uniquely shaped bags such as little gold taxis, Santa Fe stagecoaches, appliqued leather beach bags, and themed creature bags; Via Mario De’Fiori 73
  • Brighenti—a sumptuous Italian clothing store with a marble floor and huge crystal chandelier suspended overhead and items such as silk nightgowns, pajamas, and vintage-inspired swimsuits; Via Frattina 7/8
  • Brioni—founded in 1945, this internationally renowned menswear designer is known for its custom-made suits worn by clients such as Clark Gable and Barack Obama; Via del Babuino 38/40
  • Buccone—a wine shop located in the former coach house of a Marquis that has 10 layers of shelves packed with wines and rare vintage wines as well as sweets, biscuits, and packaged candy; Via di Ripetta 19/20
  • Bulgari—a world-renowned jeweler that designs jewelry that is colorful, playful, and well-crafted; Via dei Condotti 10
  • Cartoleria Pantheon Dal 1910—a stationery shop with fine handmade paper, stock paper, artisanal sheets of handcrafted Amalfi paper, and hand-bound leather journals; Via della Rotonda 15
  • Castelli Profumerie—an Italian perfume shop with labels such as Acqua di Parma, Bois 1920, Bond No.9, and Comme de Garcons and a knowledgeable staff who really knows the store’s products; Via Frattina 18 and 54
  • Castroni—an international food shop with delicacies from around the world such as Twinings teas and exotic Spanish spices as well as a large variety of coffees, teas, and candies; Via Cola di Rienzo 196
  • Ceramiche Musa—a ceramic accent and tile store with tiles made in Vietri, a region known for its high-quality clays and traditional ceramics; Via di Campo Marzio 39
  • Cesari—a bridal clothing and home store with fabrics such as velvets, silks, cottons, damasks, and taffeta and a personalized line of bedspreads, tablecloths, lingerie, and embroidered linens; Via del Babuino 193
  • Coin—a department store with upscale designs including accessories, handbags, cosmetics, and clothes for men, women, and children as well as cookware items; Via Cola di Rienzo 173
  • Davide Cenci—a major Italian fashion designer known for impeccably tailored and custom-designed clothing that sells men’s and women’s clothing for a variety of occasions with items such as sailing sportswear and trench coats; Via Campo Marzio 1-7
  • Delfina Delettrez—a Roman designer who creates edgy accessories that are inspired by the human body that blend skulls, wild animals, and botanical elements in her jewelry; Via del Governo Vecchio 67
  • Eddy Monetti—an upscale men’s store that sells jackets, sweaters, slacks, and ties made of wool, cotton, and cashmere; Via Borgognona 36
  • Elena Miro—a high-end women’s plus clothing store that sells sophisticated clothing for women sizes 12 and up; Via Frattina 11-12
  • Enoteca Al Parlamento Achilli—located close to Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament building, this wine shop, restaurant, and food shop is popular with journalists and political figures; Via dei Prefetti 15
  • Ermenegildo Zegna—an internationally recognized men’s clothing designer of well-made suits; Via dei Condotti 58
  • Ex Libris—one of the oldest rare bookstores in Rome that is known for its selection of scholarly and collectible books from the 16th to 21st centuries including editions on art and architecture, music and theater, literature and humanities, maps, and prints; Via dell’Umilta 77/a
  • Fendi—an Italian fashion powerhouse since 1925 now owned by the Louis Vuitton group and once run by Karl Lagerfeld that is known for its collections mixing textures and fabrics; Largo Carlo Goldoni 419-421
  • Fratelli Rossetti—a shoe store known for its classically styled men’s and women’s leather shoes, loafers, and pumps; Via Borgognona 5/a
  • Frette—a bedding store that has been a major supplier of linens and towels for homes and hotels since 1860; Piazza di Spagna 11
  • Furla—a high-quality handbag store known for its affordable prices; Piazza di Spagna 22
  • Galassia—a women’s designer clothing store with stylish clothing by designers such as Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Issey Miyake, and Yamamoto; Via Frattina 20
  • Galleria Alberto Sordi—a beautiful covered shopping arcade opened in 1922 with sophisticated shops and cafes; Via del Corso 79
  • Giorgio Armani—a world renowned designer known for his silhouettes and deeply cut dresses and stylish menswear; Via dei Condotti 77-79
  • Gucci—one of the most glamorous labels in the world known for its classic styles and trendy clothing regularly worn by celebrities; Via dei Condotti 8
  • Hydra 2—a popular store for Italian teens and college students known for its statement pieces; Via Urbana 139
  • Ibiz-Artigianato In Cuoio—a father-daughter team that creates stylish leather handbags, belts, and sandals; Via dei Chiavari 39
  • Il Forum Termini—a shopping center located inside Rome’s largest train station, Stazione Termini, that has over 100 shops including Benetton, Nike, Mango, L’Occitane, Sephora, and bookstores with decent selections of English language classics and best sellers; Stazione Termini
  • Il Papiro—a paper shop that sells writing materials and hand-decorated papers made using a 17th century marbleized technique; Via del Pantheon 50
  • Il Sellaio Serafini Pelletteria—a family business known for its handmade leather bags, shoes, and belts; Via Caio Mario 14
  • Krizia—run by designer Mariuccia Mandelli, this clothing store has been run by many stylists over the years and is now back to its original style of clothing; Piazza di Spagna 87
  • L’ Anatra All’Arancia—a stylish clothing store that sells designer clothing by Marina Spadafora, Antik Batik, See by Chloe, and the store’s owner (Donatella Baroni) as well as perfumes and jewelry; Via Tiburtina 105
  • La Bottega del Cioccolata—a chocolatier that makes chocolate candies and treats; Via Leonina 82
  • La Citta del Sole—a toy store with fair-trade and eco-friendly toys along with classic and vintage toys arranged by age group such as puzzles, gadgets, books, and child-friendly toys; Via della Scrofa 65
  • La Feltrinelli—a major Italian bookstore with three floors of books including some in English, music, postcards, holiday items, and small gifts; Piazza Colonna 31/35
  • La Perla—a lingerie store with beautiful lingerie and underwear that is stylish and romantic; Via Bocce di Leone 28
  • La Rinascente—Italy’s most well-known department store that sells cosmetics, designer sportswear, handbags, and accessories; Galleria Alberto Sordi, Piazza Colonna
  • Laura Biagotti—a prominent Italian designer of cashmere pullovers, cardigans, and dresses as well as men’s and women’s perfumes; Via Mario de’Fiori 26
  • Le Gallinelle—a small boutique that sells classy retro-inspired clothing; Via Panisperna 61
  • Le IV Stagioni—a ceramics store with traditional Italian pottery, glazed pots, vases, and ceramic flower wall ornaments; Via dell’Umilta 30/b
  • Le Tartarughe—designer Susanna Liso’s clothing store that sells haute couture and ready to wear lines that mix fabrics such as raw silks or cashmeres and fine merino wool together; Via Pie di Marmo 17
  • Libreria IBS—a bookstore/café that is known for its discounted secondhand books and also sells a small selection of English paperbacks and DVDs; Via Nazionale 254-255
  • Libreria del Viaggiatore—a small bookstore that sells guidebooks, maps, travel journals, and poetry from around the world in English, French, and Italian; Via del Pellegrino 165
  • MMM-Massimo Maria Melis—a jeweler who is known for incorporating ancient Roman and Etruscan designs into his jewelry and frequently using antique coins in his bracelets and necklaces; Via dell’Orso 57
  • Mado—a top vintage designer of eccentric and unique dresses, gowns, and other clothing pieces; Via del Governo Vecchio 89/a
  • Marisa Padovan—a destination for custom lingerie and bathing suits; Via delle Carrozze 81-82
  • Mikiway—an eclectic clothing, jewelry, and accessories store with designs by up-and-coming Italian fashion designers; Via del Boschetto 40b
  • Mimmo Siviglia—a tailor known for his custom-made dress shirts and attentive customer service; Via Urbana 14a
  • Missoni—a family-run internationally recognized label that has bohemian knit designs with patterns such as zigzags, waves, and stripes, elegant evening attire, and swimsuits; Piazza di Spagna 78
  • Moriondo E Gariglio—a family business recognized for its chocolate delicacies made from family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation; Via Pie di Marmo 21
  • Murano Piu—a shop famous for its handblown Venetian glass pieces including Murano jewelry, tableware, vases, and chandeliers; Corso Rinascimento 53/55
  • Patrizia Pepe—a clothing store that sells trendy fashions such as jeans, jackets with oversize lapels, and high heels; Via Frattina 44
  • Pifebo—a popular vintage clothing store with a great selection of clothing from the 70s, 80s, and 90s; Via dei Serpenti 141
  • Pinco Pallino—a children’s clothing store with nice clothing for boys and girls as well as a cute line for babies and toddlers; Via Vittoria 35
  • Pineider—an exclusive stationery store opened in 1774 that uses fine Florentine leather for its wallets, briefcases, and desk accessories; Via di Fontanella Borghese 22
  • Prada—a clothing, handbags, lingerie, and accessories label renowned for its blend of European luxury with modern finesse; Via dei Condotti 88/90 (men’s) and 92/95 (women’s)
  • Pure Sermoneta—a designer clothing store for children ages newborn to 12 with labels such as Fendi, Diesel, Dior, Juicy Couture, Nolita, and Miss Blumarine; Via Frattina 111
  • Quattrocolo—an historic shop opened in 1938 that showcases micro-mosaic jewelry crafted in the style perfected by artisans at the Vatican mosaic studio as well as 18th and 19th century cameo and engraved stones; Via della Scrofa 48
  • Rachele—a small children’s clothing store run by a Swedish designer who makes only two of each item for toddlers up to age 12; Vicolo del Bollo 6-7
  • Renard—a leather boutique that creates its leather blazers, trench coats, and skirts from leathers tanned with natural extracts; Via dei Due Macelli 53
  • Replay—a casual-chic clothing store for young adults with jeans and T-shirts with American sports teams emblazoned on them; Via della Rotonda 24
  • SBU—a menswear fashion label popular with celebrities and members of the A-list that sells jeans, casual apparel, shoes, and sportswear; Via di San Pantaleo 68-69
  • Saddlers Union—a pricey Italian handbag store known for their leather handbags made on-site supervised by one of the shop’s original artisans; Via Margutta 11
  • Salvatore Ferragamo—a major fashion label internationally recognized for its footwear that also sells handbags, leather goods, men’s and women’s clothing, scarves, and ties; Via dei Condotti 65 (men’s) and 73/74 (women’s)
  • Save the Queen—a beautiful clothing store with exotic and creative clothing for women with frills, cutouts, and textures; Via del Babuino 49
  • Savelle Arte E Tradizione—a family business that sells religious gifts and trinkets and specializes in rosaries, crosses, religious artwork, statues, and papal memorabilia; Via Paolo VI 27
  • Schostal—a clothing store that sells fine-quality shirts, underwear, and handkerchiefs made of wool and cashmere; Via Fontanella Borghese 29
  • Society—the flagship store for Limonta, one of the most famous and historic Italian textile brands that uses rare and desirable fabrics to give their designs a vintage appearance; Piazza di Pasquino 4
  • Spazio IF—run by designers Irene and Carlo Ferrara, this clothing store works with unique designers and artists with an emphasis on Sicilian designs such as hand-cut handbags, swimsuits, designer textiles, jewelry, and sportswear; Via dei Coronari 44a
  • Superga—a shoe store known for its classic sneakers in a variety of colors and a popular model worn by celebrities such as Katie Holmes and Kelly Brook; Via delle Vite 86
  • Taro—a clothing store that sells handmade knitwear made from rare yarns and bold colors such as tunics, sleeveless jackets, shawls, and pants; Via di Ripetta 144
  • Tebro—a classic Roman department store that specializes in household linens and sleepwear; Via dei Prefetti 48
  • Tod’s—a global shoe powerhouse known for its simple and classic designs; Via Fontanella di Borghese 56a-57
  • Trimani Vinai a Roma Dal 1821—a wine and spirits store with one of Rome’s largest selections of Italian wines as well as champagne, spumante, grappa, and liqueurs; Via Goito 20
  • Valentino—an Italian fashion powerhouse known for its shoes, gowns, and accessories; Via dei Condotti 15
  • Versace—the flagship store of the international label with Byzantine-inspired mosaic floors and futuristic interiors as well as its clothing, apparel, jewelry, watches, fragrances, cosmetics, and home furnishings; Piazza di Spagna 12
  • Vestiti Usati Cinzia—a vintage clothing store with fun 60s and 70s apparel, sunglasses, shoes, and accessories; Via del Governo Vecchio 45

Heads up–Dublin guide coming out tomorrow!

I apologize for the delay in new posts–I have been diligently writing and researching my guide to Dublin and will have it out for you tomorrow, I promise! Thanks for bearing with me and as always, thank you for supporting and reading my blog!

Sights in Berlin, Germany

Berlin is the capital of Germany and is very industrial in nature but does have some landmarks such as the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and a large complex of museums, galleries, and a performance hall known as Kulturforum. A visit there could yield some surprises and it has a history worth exploring.

  • Aquadom and Sea Life Berlin—a commercial aquarium with indoor tanks that feature native marine life with waterfront urban scenes, starfish petting tanks, overhead tanks, and a submarine room with a glass elevator that takes visitors through a fish tank to the exit; Spandauer Str. 3
  • Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)—a large cathedral originally built in 1905 that is the largest 20th century Protestant church in Germany with a wide stairwell that leads up to the dome, historic photos and models, and sarcophagi of Prussian royals; Am Lustgarten 1
  • Berliner Fernsehtrum (TV Tower)—a 1,207-feet-high tower that is higher than western Berlin’s broadcasting tower and the Eiffel Tower with an observation level where you can see for 25 miles and a rotating restaurant; Panoramastr. 1a
  • Berlinische Galerie—a Berlin-centric museum with modern art, photography, architectural models and plans, and artists’ archives; Alte Jakobstr. 124-128
  • Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)—a top landmark in Berlin that is a gateway to Berlin since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall where the Unification Day and New Year’s Eve parties are held—only one gate remains out of the 14 built between 1788 and 1791 by Carl Langhans and faces an historic square, Pariser Platz that houses bank headquarters, the French embassy, and the federal parliament offices; Pariser Platz
  • Britzer Garten—named after its surrounding neighborhood (Britz), this is a large park where seasonal floral exhibitions are held and home to small brooks, streams, and other waterways; Buckower Damm 146
  • Brunnenplatz—a sprawling castle with turrets and gables inspired by a real castle that is the district courthouse and a local park with mosaics, decorative flower beds, and a central fountain
  • Contemporary Fine Arts—a modern art museum housed in a very modern building that highlights Berlin-based artists and other major artists; Am Kupfergraben 10
  • DDR Museum—a museum that highlights life in socialist East Germany with a recreation of an East German kitchen, a simulated ride in a Trabi (the only car average East Germans were allowed to own), and a walk inside an interrogation cell; Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1
  • Denkmal Fur Die Ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) —a memorial for the Jews killed during the reign of the Nazis during the Holocaust designed by an American architect with more than 2700 concrete slabs and an underground information center about the Holocaust; Cora-Berliner Str. 1
  • Deutsches Historiches Museum (German History Museum)—a combination of a theater that shows German and international films and a museum that provides an overview of German history since the early Middle Ages; Unter den Linden 2
  • Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology)—a museum with several floors of machinery including two airplane rooms, train sheds, and an historical brewery; Trebbiner Str. 9
  • Ehemalige Judische Madchenschule—a brick building that once was a Jewish girls’ school and a military hospital during WWII that is now after some neglect a multiplex with art galleries, restaurants, a bar, and a Jewish deli that serves Jewish delicacies; Auguststr. 11-13
  • Galeria Plan B—an art gallery that showcases unique Eastern European art; Potsdamerstr. 77-87, Building G, 2nd courtyard
  • Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial Site)—memorials as well as a museum and research center on the Berlin Wall along with the Reconciliation Chapel; Bernauer Str. 111
  • Gemaldegalerie (Picture Gallery)—one of Germany’s top art galleries with a large collection of European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries with seven rooms dedicated to paintings by German artists, a special collection showcasing Italian artists, and the world’s second largest Rembrandt collection; Kulturforum, Matthaikirchpl
  • Hamburger Banhof-Museum fur Gegenwart (Museum of Contemporary Art)—a remodeled train station that has post-1960 modern Western art with a permanent collection including installations by German artists Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer as well as paintings by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and others along with the largest and most valuable collection of contemporary art in the world; Invalidenstr 50-51
  • Heilandskirche Sacrow—a lakeside church with a bell tower and colonnade that was closed from 1961 to 1989 by the East German government due to the fact that it was perceived as a possible hiding place for those trying to flee; Fahrstr, Potsdam
  • Kulturforum—a collection of museums, galleries, and the Philharmonic Hall that includes the Gemaldegalerie (Picture Gallery), the Kunstbibliotek (Art Library), the Kupferstichkabinett (Print Cabinet), the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the Philharmonie, the Muskinstrumenten Museum (Musical Instruments Museum), and the Staatsbibliotek (National Library)
  • Mauermuseum—Museum Haus AM Checkpoint Charlie—a museum that depicts the history of the Berlin Wall and those who tried to escape through, under, and over it with human rights exhibits and paintings included as well; Friedrichstr. 43-45
  • Museuminsel (Museum Island)—located on the site of Berlin’s two original settlements, this complex of five state museums is a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Bode-Museum, the Pergamonmuseum, and the Neues Museum (New Museum)
  • Spy Museum—a newer museum opened in September 2015 that has interactive exhibits from Biblical times to the present that provide overviews of military interrogation techniques and the secret services as well as fictional spies; Leipziger Pl. 9

Shopping in Paris

Paris is the fashion capital of the world so there is certainly a wealth of designer clothing stores to explore and spend some money at. Along with familiar names are those who are just starting to make a name for themselves.

  • Acne Studios—famous for their shaping jeans, this Swedish label features asymmetric styles and oversized clothing; 124 Galerie de Valois 1er
  • Alice Cadolle—a lingerie store that has existed since 1889 with fancy bras, corsets, and pajamas; 4 rue Cambon, 1er
  • Avril Gau—a former designer for Chanel now with her own boutique that features stylish shoes and handbags; 17 rue de Quatre Vents, 6e
  • Azzedine Alaia—an expensive designer label with dresses and other fine clothing; 7 rue de Moussy
  • &Other Stories—H&M’s upscale off-label brand that sells stylish and well-made clothes for women as well as shoes, accessories, lingerie, and cosmetics; 277 rue St-Honore, 8e
  • APC—a well-known designer jeans label that also sells cardigans, pea coats, and ankle boots; 38 rue Madame, 6e
  • AB33—a women’s clothing store with luxury designer clothes, silk lingerie, jewelry, and accessories; 33 rue Charlot, 3e
  • Agnes B—a stylish clothing store for men, women, and children that sells leather jackets, black jersey separates, and wide-striped T-shirts for women; two-tone shirts for children; and gray velour and corduroy suits for men; 3 and 6 rue du Jour, 1er
  • Artazart—a famous design book store that carries books on topics such as photography, tattoo art, architecture, and fashion; 83 quai de Valmy
  • Au Printemps—an institution in Paris, this department store actually consists of three major stores—Printemps Maison (home goods on four floors), Printemps Homme (six levels of men’s clothing), and Printemps Mode (couture and teen clothing); 64 bd. Haussmann
  • BHV—a large department store with a large basement hardware store that sells items ranging from doorknobs to cement mixers, fashionable clothing for the family, and a lingerie department on the second floor; 52-64 rue de Rivoli
  • Bonpoint—a legendary children’s clothing store that is known for its price and great quality that has even outfitted young royals; 64 av. Raymond Poincare, 16e
  • Bonton—a children’s clothing, toy, and furniture store; 5 bd. Des Filles du Calvaire, 3e
  • Buly 1803—a new perfume and cosmetics store that opened in 2014 that sells skincare products; 6 rue Bonaparte, 6e
  • Centre Commercial—an ethically and ecologically sourced clothing store with men’s and women’s designer label clothing, shoes, clothing for children, candles, and leather goods; 2 rue de Marseille, 10e
  • COS—short for Collection of Style, this is H&M’s offshoot for sophisticated fashionistas with minimalist design and quality fabrics; 4 rue des Rosiers, 4e
  • Chanel—a legendary fashion house with high-end clothing for fashionistas including tailored suits, soigne dresses, and quilted bags; 51 av. Montaigne, 8e
  • Chloe—the flagship boutique for this designer sells stylish women’s clothing with careful attention for customers; 253 rue St-Honore, 1e
  • Celine—a designer women’s clothing store with sophisticated tailoring in the flowing pants, long jackets, and swing skirts as well as handbags and shoes; 53 av. Montaigne, 83
  • Diptyque—this flagship for the famed brand sells candles, perfume, and body fragrances in a variety of scents such as myrrh, fig tree, and quince; 34 bd. St-Germain, 6e
  • Galerie Vivienne—an arcade (shopping complex) with boutiques, a tea room, and wine shop; 4 rue des Petits-Champs, 2e
  • Jamin Puech—a handbag designer’s store with uniquely embellished and designed handbags and clutches; 43 rue Madame, 6e
  • Le Bon Marche—founded in 1852, this is the most stylish department store in Paris with home goods, makeup, perfume, accessories, fashionable clothing from new and established designers, groceries, and shoes; 24 rue de Sevres, 7e
  • Les Salons du Palais-Royal Serge Lutens—this fragrance boutique sells perfumes created by Shiseido’s creative director that can also be etched and personalized as gifts; Jardins du Palais-Royal, 142 Galerie de Valois, 1er
  • Louis Vuitton—a classic designer of leather goods and modern fashionable clothing; 101 av. Des Champs-Elysees, 8e
  • Merci—a designer label clothing, furniture, antiques, jewelry, and housewares store that was created by the founders of Bonpoint with 5% of the proceeds from sales going to economically disadvantaged children in Madagascar; 111 bd. Beaumarchais, 3e
  • Pain D’Epices—a miniatures store with croissants, wine decanters, musical instruments, DIY dollhouses, teddy bear kits, and classic toys; 29 Passage Jouffroy, 9e
  • Petit Bateau—a timeless French clothing store with signature close-fitting T-shirts, cotton-silk, and cotton-cashmere clothing; 116 av. Des Champs-Elysees, 8e
  • Renaud Pellegrino—an upscale leather handbag, shoes, and luggage store; 149 Rue St-Honore, 1er
  • Sabbia Rosa—a renowned lingerie boutique selling silks and other undergarments; 71-73 rue des Sts. -Peres, 6e
  • Village Joueclub—an expansive toy store part of a French chain that is two stories filled with famous toy brands like Hello Kitty and Barbie as well as traditional European toy brands like Vilac and Moulin Roty; 5 bd. Des Italiens, 2e

Sights in Paris

Ah, Paris, what a truly great city this is! Paris is one of those places that many think about visiting and the great attractions such as the Louvre and Eiffel Tower only add to its appeal. Below is just a sampling of places to check out when you’re there.

  • Arc de Triomphe—a 164-foot triumphal arch commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate his military success with great sculptures by Francois Rude including La Marsellaise and a magnificent view from the top; Pl. Charles de Gaulle
  • Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica)—situated above Montmartre, this basilica was commissioned in 1873 and finally completed in 1919 with a great view from the top of the 271-foot dome and inside there is a mosaic situated above the choir entitled Christ in Majesty; Place du Parvis du Sacre Coeur
  • Eiffel Tower—the iconic tower built for the 1889 World Exhibition by Gustave Eiffel that is 1,063-feet tall and a place that is awe-inspiring and romantic for millions of tourists that provides for beautiful views from the top (you can get up there with the elevator); Quai Branly
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton—Paris’s new modern art museum and cultural center designed by Frank Gehry and commissioned by Bernard Arnault (chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton) featuring his private art collection that has pieces by artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Gerhard Richter, Ellsworth Kelly, Taryn Simon, and Sarah Morris; 8 Av. Du Mahatma Gandhi
  • Hotel des Invalides—a Baroque complex that houses the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte under the large golden dome with a portion serving as a veterans’ residence and hospital as well as featuring the army museum with military artifacts from antique armor to weapons; Pl. des Invalides
  • Jardin des Plantes—once known as the King’s Garden, this series of gardens as well as a variety of museums all situated in 19th century buildings; the museums include the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Galerie de Paleontologie, and the Galerie de Mineralogie; also included in this large space are greenhouses with one of the world’s largest collections of tropical and desert plants and the Menagerie, a small zoo
  • Jardin des Tuileries—a landmark French garden that serves as an excellent place to walk and see nearby icons such as the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and the Eiffel Tower as well as the Musee de l’Orangerie which once was the royal greenhouse and now houses the largest display of Monet’s Water Lilies series; children’s entertainment includes a carousel, trampolines, and an amusement park in the summer
  • Les Arts Decoratifs—this museum shares a wing of the Louvre but has a different entrance and admission fee and features three museums showcasing a collection of decorative arts, design and fashion, and graphic arts such as altar pieces from the Middle Ages and furniture from the Italian Renaissance to the present; 107 rue de Rivoli
  • Musee Carnavalet—a museum that traces centuries’ worth of history of Paris with artifacts such as prehistoric canoes and furniture from Marcel Proust’s bedroom; 16 rue des Francs-Bourgeois
  • Musee Cernuschi—originally the home of a wealthy banker from Milan, this museum features France’s second-most important collection of Asian art with bronze pieces, Neolithic pottery, mingqi tomb figures, and terracotta figures from various dynasties; 7 av. Velasquez
  • Musee d’Orsay—this museum opened in 1986 is home to a world-renowned collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings on three floors with works by Monet, Degas, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley; 1 rue de la Legion d’Honneur
  • Musee Guimet—a museum that has the western world’s largest collection of Asian art including a great collection of Khmer sculpture outside Cambodia, statues and masks from Nepal, funeral art from Tibet, jewelry and fabrics from India, and a 20,000+ showcase of Chinese artifacts; 6 pl. d’lena
  • Musee Marmottan Monet—a museum that has the largest Monet collection with more than 100 pieces donated by his son, Michel, and is located within a 19th century mansion that once acted as the hunting lodge of the Duke de Valmy; 2 rue Louis-Boilly
  • Musee Picasso Paris—a very popular museum that has an immense collection of Picasso’s works that covers almost 54,000 square feet in two buildings including paintings, sculptures, drawings, documents, and archival materials; 5 rue de Thorigny
  • Notre-Dame—a Gothic cathedral that serves as a French landmark with a beautiful interior and exterior and also allows visitors to climb up to the towers by 387 stone steps where the bell that Quasimodo rang in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris is located; Pl. du Parvis
  • Palais Galliera, Musee de la Mode—Paris’s museum of fashion situated within a mansion that was the residence of Marie Brignole-Sale, Duchess of Galliera in the 19th century, and recently renovated with temporary exhibits that focus on costumes and clothing design; 10 av. Pierre-1er-de-Serbie
  • Palais-Royal—a romantic Parisian garden that provides for scenic afternoons sitting in the sun, browsing arcades that feature boutiques including a Stella McCartney boutique, and dining at one of the city’s oldest restaurants; Pl. du Palais-Royal
  • Sainte-Chapelle—a Gothic cathedral that was built by Louis IX and has the oldest stained-glass windows in Paris while inside are relics acquired from the emperor of Constantinople including Jesus’s crown of thorns, pieces of the cross, and supposedly drops of Jesus’s blood; 4 bd. Du Palais
  • The Louvre—the world’s most famous art museum and its largest with 675,000 square feet of art from around the globe including I.M Pei’s Pyramide; Egyptian antiquities; Venus de Milo; the Mona Lisa; and a large collection of Islamic artwork in its 30,000 square foot Arts of Islam exhibition space opened in 2012; Palais du Louvre

Shopping in London

I’m guessing that shopping in London must be a pastime in itself with the variety of stores and renowned institutions such as Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. I think the following list should further prove my point that shopping should be on your checklist if you think about visiting London

  • A. Gold—sells traditional and retro food products including gift baskets, picnic hampers, take-out sandwiches, salads, homemade cakes, and daily specials; 42 Brushfield Street
  • Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop—a London landmark that sells retro toys including antique model theaters, puppets, marionettes, teddy bears, tops, jack-in-the-boxes, and other types of toys; 44 The Market Building
  • Berry Brothers and Rudd—a wine emporium that has been family-run since 1698 that stores more than 4,000 vintage bottles and casks of wine as well as a whiskey room; 3 St. James’s Street
  • Books for Cooks—an intriguing store where lunch dishes are served daily from a test kitchen from recipes in the 8,000 cookbooks on the shelves; 4 Blenheim Crescent
  • Columbia Road Flower Market—a popular London flower market that has more than 50 stalls selling flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and trees (it is only open on Sundays); Columbia Road
  • Fenwick—a large department store selling affordable clothing in an upscale neighborhood with accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, and clothes by niche and popular designers and a men’s department in the basement; 163 New Bond Street
  • Fortnum and Mason—an upscale department store selling foods such as teas, preserves, condiments, and wine as well as housewares, men’s and women’s accessories and toiletries, candles, jewelry, and clothing and toys for kids; 181 Piccadilly
  • Foyles—a landmark London bookstore is housed in a 1930s art deco building with more than 200,000 books on its four miles of bookshelves known particularly for textbooks and foreign language titles; 107 Charing Cross Road
  • Hamleys—the oldest toy store in the world that has six floors of the latest toys such as dolls, soft toys, video games, and tech products as well as train sets, drum kits, and magic tricks; 188-196 Regent Street
  • Harrods—a London institution of a department store that has more than 300 departments and 30 eateries set on a 4.5-acre site with foods, perfumes, jewelry, Europe’s biggest shoe department, designer clothing, and designer kids’ clothing; 87-135 Brompton Road
  • Hostem—a men’s and women’s clothing store that sells casual and edgy fashions and shoes; 41-43 Redchurch Street
  • Liberty—a department store established in the 19th century that sells home products, leather bags, beauty products, perfumes, footwear, and high-quality men’s and women’s clothing as well as a florist, hair salon, traditional men’s barber, beauty treatment rooms, and a spa; Regent Street
  • Peckham Rye—a family-run men’s accessories and clothing store; 11 Newburgh Street
  • Persephone Books—a bookstore selling fiction and nonfiction works by female authors as well as reprints of 20th century works from mainly female authors; 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street
  • Peter Jones—a London institution since 1937 that sells bed and bath linens, ceramics, glassware, beauty products, kitchenware, appliances, tech products, a florist, clothing, shoes, and accessories; Sloane Square
  • Selfridges—the second largest store in the UK after Harrods that sells both affordable and expensive designer clothing, jewelry, audio equipment, and has the world’s largest shoe department, a rooftop restaurant, tea, and an art-house movie theater; 400 Oxford Street

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