The Tower of London may be best known as the place where people were tortured to death, but this period in its history is just a small part of what it has to offer to the curious visitor. Here, one can learn about the history of a royal palace, military building and sovereign stronghold. Courtesy of the Royal Beasts exhibition, one can learn about the untamed and incredible animals who have lived in the Tower over the years. You can also take a look at the precious Crown Jewels, sign up to a ‘Beefeater’ tour and hear their gruesome tales, see for yourself where famous people have been beheaded, and hear the legend of the Tower’s ravens, to name just a few of the many activities visitors can partake in.
The EDF Energy London Eye currently provides the best panoramic views of London City. However, now you can marvel at aerial footage of London shot in 3D, making the admission fee better value for money than ever before. You can also view the globally famous London New Year’s Eve fireworks display. There are more 4D sensory effects here than anywhere else in the British Isles, so the visitor can actually experience the event, as well as seeing and hearing it. This truly is a magical way to experience London like you’ve never felt before.
The 5 star Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris is the ultimate in Parisian chic. If you like to be treated like royalty, look no further than this luxurious hotel, which is home to a Dior Institute spa. To add to its prestige, it is also located on the suitably upmarket Avenue Montaigne, which is only 5 minutes on foot from Avenue Champs Elysées. Here, fine dining is of paramount importance, with a cocktail bar and a choice of 5 restaurants which serve American, French and Japanese dishes, as well as seasonal specialities. The sumptuous rooms come complete with marble bathrooms, plasma televisions, a comprehensive mini bar and a variety of pillows to choose from.
The Hotel Keppler is an elegant 4 star hotel which can be found only 400 metres away from the grandeur of the Champs Elysées and 450 metres from the George V Metro Station. Hence, one has the choice of a room from which they can admire the magnificent Eiffel Tower, or look out on the attractive gardens which are part of the grounds of this Haussmannian building, dating from the 1800s. A range of conveniences are available here, such as a gym with sauna, 24-hour reception, airport shuttle service, tour desk, ticket service and iPod docking station. Afternoon tea is also available during the day.
The 3 star Le Fabe Hotel is ideally situated in the vibrant Montparnasse neighbourhood, just 280 metres away from the Pernety Metro Station. 1.6 miles from the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre and just under a mile from the Bourdelle Museum. Its bedrooms ensure a quiet night’s sleep, as they are soundproofed, and an enjoyable stay as they are equipped with beautiful paintings, flat screen televisions, mini bar, coffee maker, radio, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Beside the very attractive Pariser Platz square is the structure which has become a symbol of Berlin – the Brandenburg Gate. It took 3 years to build and was finally revealed in 1791. Originally it was amongst numerous gates enclosing what was, back then, a small city. Many landmark buildings still stand today on Pariser Platz – for example the Academy of the Arts, the Hotel Adlon, and the American and UK embassies. Head south of the square to pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial.
When Berlin took over the status of capital city from Bonn in the early 90s, the Reichstag building, dating from the late 19th century, was completely renovated and updated. A glass dome was constructed, offering a 360° panorama of Berlin. After its refurbishment, a number of notable buildings sprung up around the Reichstag, like the Federal Chancellery and new Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof). The Victory Column, dating from the late 19th century, previously stood facing the Reichstag for 67 years. It now stands at Grosser Stern – in the late 1930s the Nazis moved it here as they felt it was a more prestigious location.
New York has the distinction of being the city with more pieces of art than anywhere else. On the face of it, this may seem to be a great thing; but how do you locate it all and decide what you want to see most from the plethora of offerings? This is where ArtMuse comes in. Natasha Schlesinger, who established the company and is also a working tour guide, will do all the hard work for you. ArtMuse offers a range of tours focussing on one out of over 25 galleries, exhibitions and museums. She offers a synopsis of the exhibits, gives the basic information about collections and links artworks together so you can see the themes and patterns or the story they are telling. This is a far more interactive approach than merely looking at a lot of painting that one does not know the history of, and hence is a lot more enjoyable. ArtMuse also arranges tours for children so they can have fun too, rather than the conventionally stuffy environment of your average gallery or museum where it is hands off everything.
The most famous pictures of New York, such as its skyline, Statue of Liberty etc., are known to everyone – either from a postcard sent back by a friend, or a photograph taken by someone who has already been there. The perpetual noise of the city that never sleeps is also familiar thanks to the many films that have been shot on its streets. However, what of the unique tastes and culinary aromas of the five boroughs? When it comes to New York food, to know it is to have tasted it yourself. Enthusiastic Gourmet tours, led by Susan Rosenbaum, show lovers of food around the eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and stalls in vibrant areas such as Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Specialties like pickles, cheeses, bagels, antipasto and dumplings are just some of what’s on offer – a sense of adventure and a good appetite are essentials.