Top 5 Reasons to Visit Paris During the Fall

David SchwingerParis, the city of love (and lights), is very much loved as it is one of the most visited cities in the world. But, most people are lured by Paris’ appeal in the spring. And there’s no wonder why – with the tuileries in full bloom and romance in the new spring air along the Seine, Paris in the spring is nothing less than magical (they even wrote a song about it). But, Paris in the fall isn’t so bad either… Here are 5 reasons why you should think about visiting this beautiful city in its “off-season”:

First, because Paris is so popular in the spring, airfare tickets and even high-speed train tickets in Europe heading to Paris are much less expensive. You’ll also find that it will be easier to book a hotel at a more reasonable price – this way you can spend more money on the delicious French cuisine, rather than travel costs.

Second, Paris’ art scene is at its peak in the fall. Paris, known amongst artists as the “city of museums,” holds dozens of new exhibits, theatre productions, and art installations. There is even a International Contemporary Art Fair that takes place as soon as summer melts. Fall is your chance to grab a weekly pass to big museums like the Louvre and the Musee D’Orsay, along with smaller ones, like the Musee Rodin.

Next, wine culture is to die for in the fall. And France is known for being home to some of the highest-quality, best-tasting wine in entire world. So get your taste buds ready and take a train ride to Burgundy or the Loire Valley for an afternoon filled with beautiful vineyards and the all the wonders of wine.David Schwinger

Fourth, since there will be significantly less crowds during the fall season in Paris, you will be able to enjoy more freedom viewing some of Paris’ most recognized sites. This may not mean that there will be no line outside of the Notre Dame, but your chances of getting in more quickly to see its vast details and feel its rich history will undoubtedly increase. You can also view other landmarks like Sacre Coeur, the Eiffel Tower (of course), and you may even get a chance to see the Mona Lisa without having to stand twenty feet away.

Last, Paris is different in every season, and there’s an aura of Paris in the fall that cannot be felt in the spring – so why not experience it for yourself? So book your flights and pack your bags because after all is said and done, Paris is always a good idea.

5 Travel Tips From Italians

David Schwinger veniceItaly is one of the most traveled-to destinations in the world, with around 46 million visitors each year from all across the globe. From Rome’s Trevi Fountain to Venice’s Grand Canal, there’s no denying it – Italy is magical.

But one of the most vital elements in travel is interacting with a country’s inhabitants, and who better to do that with than Italians? Italians are friendly, energetic, and know Italian history like the back of their hands. And, according to an article published by the Huffington Post, “There are a few things Italians want Americans to know before you arrive in their country,” (Condie, 11 Travel Tips Italians Want You to Know). Here’s a quick recap on what they said:

First, know that dinner is between 7:30 and 9:00 p.m. Most Americans tend to eat dinner earlier than Europeans, especially if they are jet-lagged. But Italians treat their cuisine and dining experience with high priority – meaning, meals (especially dinner) should not be rushed, but appreciated. So don’t go out to eat before 7:30, because most restaurants won’t open until then anyway, unless you’re in an extremely touristy area.

Next, learn some Italian. This is not to say you need to be fluent, but before you go to a foreign country you should brush up on some common words and phrases in the native language. Italians will appreciate it if you go out of your way to speak their language, rather than assuming everyone speaks English. Plus, Italian is a beautiful, romantic language, it doesn’t hurt to become familiar with it.

David Schwinger map of Italy

Third, afternoon closings. According to the Huffington Post, “Many shops will close down for the afternoon from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., especially outside the city center. Italians go home to enjoy lunch as a family and relax. Try it, ” (Condie, 11 Travel Tips Italians Want You to Know).

Fourth, many Italians noted that you should know when certain things are appropriate to wear. Fashion is a huge part of Italian culture, and you won’t find any local Italian women wearing daisy dukes and spaghetti straps walking around the streets. At the beach it’s one thing to show some skin, but otherwise covering-up would be a wise decision, or you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

Lastly, leave enough time to wander around the streets alone. Stop rushing, you will not see it all on your first, second, third, and maybe not even twentieth trip to Italy – there’s too much beauty to see and experience. You should leave the crowds and tourist attractions, stop and listen to a local street musician, take in Italy for all of its authenticity and just slow down, there’s so many things that you can discover when you’ve taken a different path.

Once you’ve seen Italy for the first time, it will be a travel destination you’ll go throughout your life, but you should always make a conscious effort to be aware of certain cultural practices each time you’re there. Wherever you travel, being respectful in another country is extremely important. For more travel tips from Italians, check out the Huffington Post’s article here.