Great City Beaches and More
Don’t think it has to be a toss-up between the city and the beach. With a bit of cunning you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Delve into your beach bag, and pull out the latest John Grisham who-dunnit. Flick the lid on the sun-cream bottle and smooth on some Factor 30. Now settle back for some serious R&R…thing is, though, you don’t need to be by the coast. You could, in fact, be in the middle of Paris. Every year a bona fide beach pops up along the banks of the Seine. It’s all part of the ‘Paris Plage’ programme, which sees a staggering 2,000 tonnes of golden granules shipped in each summer. You can literally be locking eyes with the Mona Lisa in the morning and sifting sand between your fingers by the afternoon.
But metropolitan beaches aren’t just the preserve of the Parisians. Berlin, Amsterdam and Brussels are just some of the on-trend urbanites bringing the seaside inland. Of course, you can take the easy route and plump for a city that already comes with a side-order of shore – places like Nice, Palma and the Venice Lido. Plan things carefully upfront and hey presto, you’ve solved the age-old dilemma between a beach holiday and a city break.
Beaches aside, Paris has got some great unsung attractions…
If you have worked your way through the usual hot spots, then check out the Museum of Magic and Curiosity in the Marais district. It exhibits everything from Victoriana trick mirrors to boxes used for sawing women in half.
Dem Bones Dem Bones
Head underground to the Paris catacombs and you’ll find dry-stone walls made out of millions of skulls and bones. In World War II, the French Resistance set up camp here.
Mind the Gap
Art-lovers flock to the unassuming Place des Abbesses to see one of Paris’ few original Art Nouveau Metro stations, complete with wrought-iron arches and amber lights.
For a budget base with a contemporary feel, stay at the Hotel de Nemours, or go for the chic Hotel Eiffel Seine, which belies its 3-star tag. For a real dose of luxury, check in to the chateau-esque 4-star Brighton Hotel.
Paris, Rome and New York are the biggies, but check out as lesser-known gems like Salzburg and Krakow. Properties range from cheap and cheerful 1 Star bases right the way through to luxurious 5 star hotels. And don’t forget your beach gear!
Adriano Comegna writes for First Choice holidays, a leading UK travel operator specialising in last minute holidays