New guidebooks help travellers
plan dream vacations
MAY/JUNE 2010 ;e Costco Connection 37 By Stephanie E. Ponder AS SUMMER TRAVEL plans inch ever closer, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to see and do when your reach your destination. For travellers looking for guid- ance, Lonely Planet ( www.lonelyplanet.com) introduces its new Discover series. These guidebooks focus on highlights and must-see attractions and experiences, making them ideal for one- or two-week trips. “We saw a need to create this series because many travellers are interested in pre- selected top recommendations so that they can make the most of their time in the desti- nation,” says Heather Dickson, assistant regional publisher at Lonely Planet. “We’ve done the first step in planning for the reader, clearly presenting the key travel options and making it easy to take a one- or two-week trip to overseas destinations, like Europe or Asia.” The guides are all full colour and include itineraries organized around themes and the length of the trip. Dickson adds that the books also include expert recommendations for major points of interest. The following descriptions of top 10 expe- riences, written by Lonely Planet staff and ordinary travellers, are from Discover France. 1. The Seine, Paris Going on a cruise at night along the Seine and seeing all the sights lit up, the cou- ples strolling along the river bank. It was so romantic, even if we are a couple of old folks. Irene Poulton, traveller, Australia 2. Monet’s Garden, Giverny Everyone knows Monet’s water lilies. And there is something magical about standing on a bridge inside a painting that you know so well. But, for me, the most interesting part was Monet’s house: On the brightly painted walls hung not Impressionist masterpieces but Japanese woodcuts, making me suddenly curious about the artist’s life. Suzannah Shwer, Lonely Planet staff 3. Chartres blue Chartres Cathedral raises your eyes to the heavens and defies belief that man can make such a masterpiece. I spent a whole day here, taking the excellent guided tour, then exploring on my own. The stained glass grabs the headlines, but the ornate carvings on the outside reward a detailed examination. If this was in nearby Paris, no ther church would get a look in. Tom Hall, Lonely Planet staff 4. Carnac megaliths Cycling past Carnac’s fields full of thou- sands of otherworldly megaliths is an other- worldly reminder of Brittany’s ancient human inhabitation. You can even stop for crêpes in a traditional long Breton house right in the middle of a 70-strong cromlech (circle of menhirs). Catherine Le Nevez, Lonely Planet author, France 5. Croix Rousse, Lyon I cannot think of a finer spot to be Sunday morning than sitting on a pavement terrace in Croix Rousse, sipping white Côtes du Rhône and watching a man with briny hands and blue plastic apron shuck oysters before my very eyes. Quelle joie! Nicola Williams, Lonely Planet author, France 6. Adrenaline kick, Chamonix Sure, 007 did it, but so can you: The Vallée Blanche is a once in a lifetime experience. You won’t regret the €70-odd it costs to do it because every minute of the five hours it takes to go down will pump more adrenaline in your body than anything else you’ve ever done. Emilie Filou, Lonely Planet author, UK 7. Carcassonne’s La Cité at dusk I spent the day wandering around Carcassonne’s La Cité, walking across the medieval drawbridge and admiring the pen- nant-capped towers. I was impressed, but it wasn’t until later that the awe-inspiring beauty of the citadel took hold. Bathed in pink light, it appeared like a magic castle in a fairy tale. James McMurray, traveller, South Africa 8. Provençal living The landscape reminds one of Tuscany: bright warming sunshine, lush green hills, and streams and springs. Small villages cling to the hillsides. The area is dominated by Mont Ventoux—everywhere you go it lingers on the horizon. And did I mention the wine? Andrew Briffett, traveller, UK 9. Wine tasting Winding through country lanes, golden fields stretching as far as the eye could see, we drove … searching for a family-run vineyard for a spot of wine tasting. There, a jovial man told stories about his vineyard as he served us his favourite vintages. We picnicked in a flower-filled clearing nearby. Caroline Thresher, traveller, UK 10. Shopping at the market For me, a visit to France is all about the markets—sometimes it’s an ancient covered market, sometimes it’s an alfresco affair in the town square. I love eyeing the pristinely stacked vegetables, pondering the mounds of perfectly ripened cheese and chatting with the fruit sellers while I assemble my picnic. Caroline Sieg, Lonely Planet author, London C The River Seine and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame beckon travellers to Paris. The Costco Connection Several Discover titles, including France, Italy, Ireland and Great Britain, are available in most Costco warehouses.
REPRODUCED WI TH PERMISSION FROM DISCOVER FRANCE © 2010 LONELY PLANET. WWW.LONELYPLANET. COM