Haute Couture: The Time for Fine French Wine, High Tea Has Never Been Better

NORWALK, Conn., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire/ — As European vacations surge in popularity — and affordability — the time for fine French wine and high tea in the U.K. has never been better.

Drink in the tastes and lifestyles of these great destinations while exploring the rich tapestry of Europe, steeped in exciting history and brimming with modern discoveries.

Catch colorful cultures dancing across the stage. Picture Paris in the Spring or London in the Summer. Also on the playbill, soak in the great sights of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, each with their own unique blend of cultural treasures.

“European vacations are very popular this time of year, and travelers can experience a rich variety of history while discovering the emerging contemporary cultures throughout France and the United Kingdom,” said Julia Ryan, vice president of Travelers Advantage and Travelersadvantage.com. “The Louvre and Buckingham Palace are always popular destinations in Paris and London, but there’s also many alluring new attractions — special Da Vinci Code tours in France and a newly opened Churchill museum in England.”

Paris

Attractions … This French capital is a perennial favorite, thanks to a wealth of culture, delectable dining and that perpetual joie de vivre (joy for living, zest)! New attractions in 2005 include: special Da Vinci Code tours; the Paris Jazz Festival in June and July and the encore of the Paris Plage, an artificial beach along the Seine. From this French gem, it’s easy to take a train up to Brussels or Amsterdam to experience two other completely different European cities.

Savoir Faire (Culture) … For centuries, the French have prided themselves in the sophistication of their cultures, the beauty of their spoken language and their diverse accomplishments in literature, the arts and sciences. These sophisticated attitudes remain strong, but an emerging focus on homes, new appliances and cars are also part of the new cultural tapestry. The French enjoy a wide variety of professional sports — soccer and bicycle racing rules, but not far behind are horse and car racing. As always, the French love eating, drinking and socializing at sidewalk cafes, as well as movies and music concerts. French cuisine is always haute, and plays a very important role in life — a traditional French day includes a light breakfast, large lunch and somewhat lighter dinner.

Recent culinary trends, however, indicate that fast foods are growing in popularity, as is the convenience of frozen and packaged foods. The French are also notoriously devoted to holidays and vacations. Workers get five weeks of paid vacation a year, and travel abroad has been increasingly popular. August is the most popular month for vacation.

United Kingdom

London’s lure never fails, and 2005 should be a banner year for the Big Ben city. In February, the Churchill Museum opened, the first museum in the world dedicated to the life and accomplishments of this legendary leader. Located in the Cabinet War Rooms, the permanent exhibit focuses on Winston Churchill’s life from childhood to statesman. The museum opening coincides with the 40th anniversary of Churchill’s death and the 60th anniversary of the World War II victory.

Cardiff, Wales … It’s Europe’s youngest capital and has developed somewhat of a “hip” reputation. Historic attractions such as Cardiff Castle, the National Museum and Gallery and the fascinating Museum of Welsh Life all serve to make Cardiff a delectable blend of old and new.

Edinburgh & Glasgow, Scotland … Both eloquently present the Scottish side of Britain. A new “Edinburgh Pass” gives visitors complimentary access to attractions, public transportation, and a variety of discounts in shops and restaurants. Prices range from $50 to $77 for one-, two-,or three-day passes. Glasgow visitors should check out the Restaurant Arisaig, which recently opened its third location in George Square, and serves up contemporary Scottish cuisine.

Ireland … Easily reached on any European vacation, Ireland offers numerous sights and sounds. Get a big city fix in Belfast before heading to the countryside for a rural Northern Ireland retreat. Enjoy Dublin’s diversions, including summer-long outdoor cultural festivals called “Diversions 2005.” Then head to Cork, which has been designated the “Cultural Capital of Europe” for 2005.

Of course, there are many more European city options with equally enticing lifestyles to explore — it’s quite convenient to add visits to Italy, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Austria, the Mediterranean and more for a perfect ending to your cultural journey.

About Travelers Advantage

Members of Travelers Advantage (http://www.travelersadvantage.com/ or 1- 877-841-1335) can save money on air travel, cruises, car rentals and accommodations, as well as earn five percent cash back on eligible travel booked with preferred providers through the service. Membership in Travelers Advantage can be enjoyed during the first two months for only $1. The trial membership can be canceled at any time during the two-month trial period by calling toll free and owing nothing further. Unless the member calls to cancel during the trial, the membership will be extended automatically for an entire year at the $99.99 annual fee and automatically renewed annually upon expiration at the then-current annual fee, billed to a credit card account, without the member having to do anything further. Additionally, members may call toll free to cancel at any time and receive a pro-rata refund of their then current membership fee.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Julia Ryan http://www.profnet.com/ud_public.jsp?userid=351270

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