Tragedy, Lust, Murder and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

June 17, 2010 on 1:55 pm | In France Travel, Paris Travel,, things travelers need to know, travel books | 1 Comment

This week we received a piece of promotional email from Anna Eriksson who has written a guidebook for the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Illustrated with superb photography by Mason Bendewald, the guide includes practical information and intriguing stories about 31 of the most famous people interred in the world’s most interesting cemetery, including: Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Collette, Heloise and Abelard, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Proust, Isadora Duncan, Sarah Bernhardt and Maria Callas – to name of a few.

When we updated and expanded our Paris Guide this spring, we added a new section on Pere Lachaise and think that you might find Anna Eriksson’s guide to be of interest if you will be traveling to Paris. An iPod audio edition of the guide is also available. See this website for details on the book, the author and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

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TinTin Museum Opens In Belgium

May 27, 2009 on 7:18 pm | In Belgium travel, Europe travel,, things travelers need to know, travel books, vacation travel | Comments Off

We have added a new attraction to our best places to visit in Belgium. It is the Musee Herge, which honors the work of the creator of the famous TinTin adventures. The new museum is open to the public starting June 2, 2009 and is in beautiful building located in the “university town” of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, about thirty-kilometers southeast of Brussels. See our guide to the Best Places to Visit in Belgium for more details including a map showing the location of the new museum.

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Observation, Louis Pasteur and Travel

May 14, 2009 on 9:21 am | In personal travel, things travelers need to know, travel, travel books | Comments Off

Recently, we saw a quote attributed to Louis Pasteur, the noted French scientist.  In addition to inventing pasteurization, he is reputed to have said “In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.”  As curious as this may seem, it reinforced for us the role our website ThereArePlaces plays for you.

All of us are busy (it seems as if we get busier every year) and often dislike having to spend time in advance to prepare for a vacation.  After all, a vacation is a period when you do not have to work and can relax and enjoy life without the complications of your everyday job.  On the other hand, since we have so little vacation time, Pasteur’s quote seems to make sense related to travel – Only by preparing can you know what to see, why it’s important and what attractions might be less interesting to you.

Traveling can be done in one of two ways.  First, you could just make a decision to visit a country for the first time.  You could, then pack your bags, arrive at your destination’s  airport and?  Hmmmm.  Or, you could prepare for your travel by thinking about Pasteur’s quote and prepare your mind.  The best way to prepare for what you will see during your travels is to do the homework before you go, by looking up the critical details at a website like ThereArePlaces, or buying a travel guide at your local bookstore.

Most people who buy travel guides, delay reading them until on the plane and most fall asleep before they get through more than a few pages (of course, maybe the “sleep-time” is worth the purchase price). Some try to read these giant tomes the night before they visit the attraction, but after a day’s  touring and a big night out, few of us have the stamina to read an action packed travel guide.

As an alternative, we suggest you take a quick trip to ThereArePlaces before you go and then buy a guide if you really want to know more information than we present on a location.

Well, that’s one of the main reasons we created ThereArePlaces.  We give you a concise review of the best places to visit in the countries, regions and cities that we cover.  We provided additional detail when it is called for, a limited detail when it is not.  We provide photos of leading attractions to let you “prepare your mind” and optimize your “observation” time.  Finally, we provide detailed maps to help you find how to string attractions together into beads on a vacation-chain.  Try us.  We think you will like our approach.

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Normandy Invasion Battlefield Guide

February 16, 2009 on 12:01 pm | In Europe travel, France, France Travel, Normandy, World War II travel, travel books, travel news | 2 Comments

Recenly we received an email from Major Tonie Holt complimenting our site and noting that  due to our  interest in Normandy, France and the World War II Invasion Beaches, we might might benefit from reading his works on the topic.  Well, we ordered a copy of Major and Mrs. Holt’s Normandy Landing Beaches (2006, 5th edition. rerpinted by LEO COOPER, a division of Pen & Sword Books Ltd). 

The book is a soft cover and ships with a companion folding map (Major and Mrs. Holt’s Battle Map of the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches) that is highly detailed and an excellent reference to the area’s extensive invasion and battlefield sites.

Major and Mrs. Holt have clearly spent a great deal of time investigating the Normandy Invasion and touring this complex area.  Their book is not a description of the strategy behind each and every battle, although the book does provide an excellent historical background to the invasion.  Instead, the work is a detailed, comprehensive guide to the battlefields, monuments, markers, cemetaries, and just about any notable person, unit, action or object that was part of the the Normady Invasion.

Although we had toured Normandy previously, we found new places to visit and a renewed interest in touring the area again as a result of reading this guide.  The Holt’s book is a masterful, though sometimes dry, accounting of what there is to see, where the sites are located, how to get there and why you might be interested in visiting a particular destination.  The book is lavisly illustrated with photographs and detailed maps showing the locations of battles, the units involved and additional information that will help you understand the complexity and boldness of the Allied Invasion.

If you plan on touring the Normandy Beaches, you should consider reading this book to plan your trip.  Be sure to take it with you when you travel, as it will be your most useful field resource.  In addition, you will find the included map to be of great value in understanding the Normandy Invasion.  It shows the locations of battlefields, the position of the forces at the end of June 6, where they had planned to be at the end of the first day of the invasion, the memorials, monuments, bunkers/blockhouses, cemeteries and more, all overlaid on a detailed road map of the area.

At first, you might find the book a bit slow, but as you continue to read, you will come to appreciate the detail and the mix of contributions from soldiers who were on the ground at these epic battlefields.  We plan on carrying our Holt’s Guide to Normandy on our next trip to the area.

The current edition of the book can be ordered from its distributor in the UK, although the shipping expense can be significant, depending on your location.  However, you can request a signed copy for free and you will receive your choice of  a free, second battlefield map from the Holt’s collection of Battlefield Maps.

The Holt’s book on the Normandy Invasion (as well as other battlefield studies) is available from Amazon, although the edition they are currently advertising does not appear to be the most current.   Note, Amazon also indicates that there will be a new Holt’s Pocket Battlefield Guide to Normandy published later this year and you might choose to wait for that if you prefer to tote smaller books.  Click on  Maj and Mrs. Holt’s /Normandy   to  order from Amazon or to see other reviewers’ thoughts on this book.


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